Debunked election fraud claims made in Michigan by former President Donald Trump’s legal team ended up in a draft executive order directing the military to seize voting machines nationally, the state’s top election official said on Wednesday.
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said that she shared the information with the House select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol.
In a letter to the committee, Benson also raises questions about whether former Trump attorney Sidney Powell accessed a report that was supposed to be under seal. It detailed meritless election fraud claims in Antrim County, Michigan, and Powell included it in a filing to the US Supreme Court as part of the broader effort to overturn Joe Biden’s victory.
“It’s a red flag that [Powell] somehow had access to this report, wrongly, and submitted it as part of a formal filing to the US Supreme Court as part of this very coordinated effort to interfere with and overturn the election results,” Benson told CNN.
An attorney for Powell did not respond to a request for comment.
Benson says that same Antrim County report was cited in the draft executive order, which was never issued by the Trump White House but came to light recently.
Benson said her office is not an investigative body and that the letter was intended to help House investigators “connect the dots” between various efforts by the Trump team to overturn the election, both at the state level and nationally.
She also said the documents shared with the committee Wednesday suggest “a level of coordination” between what Trump’s allies were doing in Michigan and other key swing states.
That includes the effort to put forward fake slates of electors in seven states Trump lost. Benson noted that Trump’s legal team argued after the 2020 election that if any of their lawsuits alleging election fraud had succeeded, they had those “alternative” slates of electors ready to go.
Benson said she also sent information to Attorney General Merrick Garland. CNN reported Tuesday that federal prosecutors are reviewing fake electoral certificates submitted to the National Archives by Trump allies in multiple states, including Michigan.
Benson, who has already met with the committee, said Wednesday her office has maintained an open line of communication with House investigators.
“As more information has surfaced about the attempts to thwart the will of Michigan’s 5.5 million voters, we have been able to connect the dots between activities that occurred here in Michigan and at the national level to overturn what was the most secure election in our state’s history,” Benson wrote in her letter.
She continued, “As the efforts to overturn the election ultimately led to the Jan. 6 attack on the United States Capitol, it is my firm belief that all Americans have a patriotic duty to nation and our democracy to support the Committee in their work.”