Jan. 6 Committee Digging Into Trump’s Attempt To Pressure Michigan GOPers

President Donald Trump speaks during a briefing in the Oval Office of the White House in on October 10, 2018. (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

The House select committee on investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection has its sights set on ex-President Donald Trump’s desperate gambit to turn the screws on Michigan GOP officials to help him steal the 2020 election.

Committee chair Bennie Thompson’s (D-MS) information request to the National Archives and Records Administration last week seeks “all documents and communications referring or relating to the 2020 election results between White House officials and officials of State Governments” from November 3 through the day of Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20.

Thompson’s letter specifically lists eight state officials, including Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R), then-Speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives Lee Chatfield (R) and Monica Palmer, a GOP member of Michigan’s Wayne County Board of Canvassers who had tried to “rescind” her vote certifying the county’s election results after Trump called her.

Trump had invited Shirkey and Chatfield to meet him at the White House on November 20 as he was scheming to get GOP-controlled legislatures in swing states Biden won to replace the Democrat’s electors with pro-Trump ones instead.

The Michigan GOP leaders didn’t bite, however. In a joint statement released shortly after the meeting, Shirkey and Chatfield said they had “not yet been made aware of any information that would change the outcome of the election in Michigan.”

“And as legislative leaders, we will follow the law and follow the normal process regarding Michigan’s electors, just as we have said throughout this election,” they continued.

That meeting was held the same week Monica Palmer, the third Michigan official included in Thompson’s letter, initially voted against certifying her county’s votes, a majority of which had gone to Biden thanks to Black voters in Detroit, before she and the other GOP canvasser reversed course and voted for certification, ending the 2-2 gridlock that had held up the process.

But that wasn’t the end of it. Palmer and the other canvasser both filed affidavits the next day attempting to “rescind” their initial votes.

Palmer told the Washington Post that Trump had called her out of “concern” for her “safety” after the board certified the votes, and she insisted that the president’s call “was not pressure” even though she filed the affidavit the day after he reached out.

Even though affidavits ultimately went nowhere, Trump and his cronies’ decision to target Wayne County placed the episode within a broader pattern of attempts to scrub Democratic-voting cities — often with substantial Black populations — from swing states’ total vote counts.

The other five state officials listed in Thompson’s information request include Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R), Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R), Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, Georgia elections investigator Frances Watson and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R).

Read Thompson’s letter below:

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

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