MINNEAPOLIS — The attorney representing Wisconsin’s slate of “fake electors” says he will soon demand that they turn over any correspondence they may have had with Sen. Ron Johnson or his staff in light of his public denials about whether he was involved in a scheme to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
The lawyer, Jeff Mandell, revealed to NBC News that he is also trying to look into correspondence between the Republican senator and Wisconsin-based attorney Jim Troupis, who formerly worked on the campaign of then-President Donald Trump. Troupis, who led Trump’s fruitless recount attempts in the state, was not one of the ten witnesses who erroneously declared Trump to be the legitimate winner of Wisconsin; rather, he was an key player in a larger plot to sabotage Joe Biden’s triumph.
Mandell, whose case is currently pending in federal court, said Johnson’s public justifications are changing. Mandell also stated that he wants to ask the judge presiding over the case for any texts or emails sent or received between the defendants and Johnson and his staff.
That there wasn’t anything to see at first piques our interest. Then it said “OK, but I was just involved for a few seconds.” And now, it’s’my involvement was one hour and, by the way, let’s not call this an uprising,'” Mandell remarked, alluding to Johnson’s most recent remarks in response to NBC News’ inquiries. “We want to investigate this definitely. We want to make sure we have the full narrative because we do believe there may be more to the story.
As the Republican enters the last stretch of a fierce campaign to earn his third term in the U.S. Senate against Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, it is the most recent attempt to get Johnson to provide an explanation for his words or actions regarding the events of January 6, 2021. A former Democratic U.S. senator had urged for federal investigators to look into Johnson’s connections to the scheme in addition to the potential for additional civil legal entanglements, and Johnson’s home state newspaper labeled his public remarks as ““don’t add up.” Johnson also faced fire on social media last week after saying that the attack on the US Capitol wasn’t an armed uprising.
On January 6, 2021, Johnson attempted to deliver a slate of fictitious electors to Mike Pence, who was the vice president at the time. The goal was to rig the presidential election outcomes.
The plan behind the false electors plot, according to Casey Lucier, investigative counsel with the Jan. 6 Select Committee, was for the Trump campaign to gather its own, unofficial electors in the swing states that Trump had lost. In an effort to put pressure on Pence to deny certifying Biden’s victory, Trump allies may then present their own elector slates as an alternative to the state-certified Biden electors when Congress convened to declare the election results on January 6.
A Johnson adviser approached a Pence staffer about obtaining “an alternate slate of electors” from Michigan and Wisconsin for the vice president; Pence’s aide declined. This information was released in text conversations by the House committee looking into the Capitol attack in June.
Johnson has since claimed that he was unaware of the bogus elector scam that is currently the subject of a thorough federal investigation. Johnson claimed that Troupis contacted him about passing something on to the vice president but that his involvement was only limited to “a couple messages” linking Troupis with a member of his staff. Johnson did not know the specifics of what Troupis wanted to pass along.
The Wisconsin lawsuit claims that Troupis served as a conduit between the Trump campaign and the fictitious electors and that he informed Trump allies in Wisconsin of the plan behind the operation. The Trump team sent Troupis an has published a Nov. 18, 2020, memo in the New York Times outlining its strategy; this letter is mentioned in the case. According to a source with direct knowledge of the subpoena and reports from AA5, Troupis was one of the lawyers included in federal subpoenas that the FBI sent to some of the false electors in June of this year. Voters were asked to provide correspondence with several Trump attorneys, including Troupis, as part of the subpoena.
When Johnson’s campaign was contacted for comment this week, a spokeswoman stated, “We see no reason to participate in any manner in another smear.”
It was impossible to contact Troupis for comment. Requests for comment made by phone and email to his counsel were not answered.
Likewise, the Trump campaign opted not to respond. The former president has maintained that the election was rigged against him while dismissing many investigations into Jan. 6 and efforts to void the 2020 results as politically motivated “witch hunts.”
called on the Department of Justice to investigate Johnson, citing in part Johnson’s sequencing of events, is Al Franken, a former Democratic senator from Minnesota who was recently in Wisconsin helping Wisconsin Democrats with their get-out-the-vote efforts.
In an interview with NBC News, Franken stated, “He’s altered his tale a few of times on handing along bogus electors to the vice president or trying to.”
One of the most watched races in the country is the one for the Senate in Wisconsin. Johnson appears to be ahead by 6 points (with a /- 4.3% margin of error) according to A new Marquette Law School poll, although Barnes and Johnson were tied statistically in CBS News poll last week.
The electors in Wisconsin were cited as key players in a larger plot to rig the 2020 election, which culminated in a violent riot in the nation’s capital, according to a complaint filed by Mandell’s firm in May. A federal judge’s decision on the complaint will determine whether it stays in federal court or is sent back to circuit court.
Earlier this month, Johnson once more admitted that he had texted Troupis both before and after a member of Pence’s staff had informed the Pence assistant that Wisconsin and Michigan elector slates had been handed to his office. Johnson claimed that the discussions between his office and Troupis and Pence’s staff lasted “approximately an hour” and that at the time the item was delivered, he was unaware of its contents.
“This isn’t even participation. When NBC News questioned Johnson about his texting with Troupis, he replied, “I wrote a couple SMS.
Johnson did, however, claim in June that Troupis had texted him regarding “Wisconsin electors.”