Special counsel Jack Smith and his prosecutors have been looking at the various ways former President Donald Trump tried to overturn his 2020 electoral loss despite some of his top officials advising him against the ideas.
Prosecutors have been interested in a December 18 Oval Office meeting, a sign of the special counsel’s broader effort to home in on the actions of several Trump lawyers and allies during the period from December 14, 2020, to January 6, 2021.
The December 14 date is of particular interest to prosecutors, sources told CNN earlier this month. On that day, slates of alternate Republican electors in seven battleground states signed certificates falsely asserting Trump had won. Also that day, members of the Electoral College met in all 50 states to officially cast their ballots, declaring Joe Biden the winner with 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232.
Investigators have focused on efforts to recruit the illegitimate electors, have them sign certificates falsely asserting Trump had won, and then use them as a pretense to pressure then-Vice President Mike Pence to delay certification of Biden’s Electoral College win on January 6.
At least one witness has told prosecutors that Trump allies asked Pence to question the legitimacy of Biden’s electors in those seven states based on unfounded claims about widespread voter fraud and kick the decision of certification back to the states themselves, one source said.
Trump has been fighting to keep former advisers from testifying about certain conversations, citing executive and attorney-client privileges to keep information confidential or slow down criminal investigators.