LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Text messages between two Republican Nevada electors detail unfounded allegations of voter fraud, the submission of phony electoral documents, and later, the fallout from the Jan. 6 insurrection.
The Jan. 6 committee released the messages, which were cited as evidence in their more than 800-page final report, among other documents.
“Urgent – Trump-Pence campaign asked me to contact you to coordinate Dec. 14 voting by Nevada electors,” an email subject line sent to Nevada Republican Party national committee member Jim DeGraffenreid read.
The purpose was to force Congress to decide the presidential election, according to people whom the committee interviewed. A legal advisor to the Trump campaign, Kenneth Chesebro, emailed DeGraffenreid about the plan, the committee found.
Despite the state’s real electors submitting the verified documentation for President Joe Biden in an official ceremony overseen by then Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, a Republican, Nevada’s GOP went ahead with attempts to validate their own votes.
The Nevada Republican Party’s six electors, including DeGraffenreid and party chair Michael McDonald, signed paperwork signaling their support for Trump in a symbolic ceremony devoid of any legal merit which was held in Carson City and coincided with the official state-sanctioned tally on Dec. 14, 2020.
As the 8 News Now Investigators reported last year, the certificate received by the National Archives looks much different than the official state-sealed one and reads, “We, the undersigned, being the duly elected and qualified electors for president and vice president of the United States of America from the State of Nevada, do hereby certify six electoral votes for Trump.”
A few hours after the official state process had ended, a video accompanied a tweet from the Nevada GOP, saying, “History made today in Carson City,” as footage showed Republican electors signing papers on a table. The event was live-streamed in a now-deleted video on a YouTube channel called “Right Side Broadcasting Network.”
“Our brave electors standing up for what is right and casting their electoral votes for @realDonaldTrump,” the state party’s Twitter account later tweeted. “We believe in fair elections and will continue the fight against voter fraud in the Silver State!”
In a statement after the event, McDonald said the party’s electors convened in Carson City due to ongoing legal battles seeking to overturn the election results. At that point in mid-December, no legal case remained open in Nevada.
Text messages the committee released are between DeGraffenreid and fellow elector Shawn Meehan, notes indicate. Their text-message chain begins before the Dec. 14 meeting with plans about where the signing would take place.
Meehan writes to DeGraffenreid on Dec. 13, saying a state lawmaker told him the event could not happen inside the Nevada Legislature in Carson City.
“He also said that since we are not the official electors this is a politicized meeting not an official meeting so we cannot use the facility anyway,” the text said. “True or not, makes sense sadly.”
The next week before Congress met to certify the election, Meehan texted DeGraffenreid: “Makes me wonder if a patriot out there aware of the theft might take a Second Amendment approach to solving the problem.”
He added, “To be clear for the NSA technicians reading this text, I do not want, nor am I advocating for violence. I’m simply calling out that there likely are others out there with far less impulse control in light of this tyranny,” documents said.
With no court finding evidence of fraud, DeGraffenreid texted Meehan on Dec. 28.
“The entire situation sucks. We see very clearly what [is] being done, yet at every turn we are blockaded from putting the facts out in public,” he said.
The Nevada GOP repeatedly denied requests from 8 News Now to review the evidence throughout the fall of 2020. At a news conference on Nov. 5, 2020, where surrogates from the Trump campaign announced a federal lawsuit, which was later dropped, speakers told reporters to find the evidence for themselves. That lawsuit was later dismissed voluntarily. During the sole hearing in that case, a lawyer provided no evidence of fraud and did not verbally bring up any evidence to the federal judge.
On Jan. 7, one day after protesters stormed the U.S. Capitol and Congress certified the election for Biden, DeGraffenreid texted: “I don’t think we yet know all of the ramifications for what Trump and a small number of [expletive] supporters of his did to us yesterday.”
The committee questioned both DeGraffenreid and McDonald as part of its investigation. Both men invoked their Fifth Amendment rights repeatedly — McDonald more than 200 times.
Through numerous interviews, the committee reiterated claims that Republican and Trump campaign officers knew the former president’s claims of widespread fraud in the 2020 election were false. No allegation of widespread voter fraud was ever substantiated with then-Attorney General Bill Barr, a Republican, saying the claims were lies.
“Sir, we’ve done dozens of investigations, hundreds of interviews,” Richard Donoghue, the former acting deputy attorney general, told the committee, according to its final report. “The major allegations are not supported by the evidence developed. We’ve looked in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Nevada. We’re doing our job.”
Three days before the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection, Donoghue told the former president, “We checked that out, and there’s nothing to it,” the report said.
Upon receiving the fake electoral votes from the Nevada GOP, the U.S. Senate Parliamentarian noted the document contained “no seal of the state” and “no evidence votes were delivered by the executive of the state for signature by electors,” the report said.
In a statement after the event, McDonald said the party’s electors convened in Carson City due to ongoing legal battles seeking to overturn the election results, however, all legal remedies were lost in court before Dec. 14, 2020.
The Supreme Court of Nevada denied the Trump’s campaign’s request to overturn the state’s election results and proclaim the president the winner on Dec. 8. Biden won Nevada by more than 33,000 votes, a result the court had certified in November.
This summer, FBI agents seized McDonald’s phone, reportedly as part of the investigation into the fake elector scheme.
Nevada’s voting machines do not have a modem and print out a paper record.
Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed special counsel Jack Smith last fall to oversee the department’s investigations into the former president and the lead-up to the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection.
The Nevada GOP, McDonald nor the other fake electors have responded to repeated requests for comment over the past year. DeGraffenreid nor Meehan responded to requests for comment Tuesday.
The Department of Justice has not filed any charges connected to the false electors.