Fake Documents Declaring Trump and Pence the 2020 Winners Sent to but Rejected by National Archives: Report

According to Politico, the false certificates of ascertainment were sent from Arizona and Michigan groups but they were instead turned over to the Jan. 6 congressional committee

trump, pence
Donald Trump and Mike Pence. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Forged documents declaring Donald Trump and Mike Pence the real winners of the 2020 elections in Arizona and Michigan were sent to the National Archives, Politico reports.

During the aftermath of Election Day last year as Trump, his team and his supporters pushed a false narrative of widespread voter fraud, the National Archives received fake certificates of ascertainment identifying those state's appointed electors as designated votes for the former president and vice president, according to the Politico article published Monday.

The Arizona document, dated Dec. 7, 2020, lists the names of 11 electors voting for the Republican candidates while the state's actual 11 electors cast their votes on Dec. 14 for now-President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

The National Archives sent the forgery to Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs to alert her to the document and telling her it was being rejected, per Politico.

A spokesperson with the archives replied to PEOPLE's request for comment with a statement.

"The Office of the Federal Register (OFR) is a part of the National Archives and Records Administration and, on behalf of the Archivist of the United States, coordinates certain functions of the Electoral College between the States and Congress. Acting as an intermediary, we review the Certificates of Ascertainment and Vote as soon as we receive them from their respective States and the District of Columbia," the spokesperson said in an email.

"OFR posts the Certificates on our website and makes the Certificates available for public inspection for one year following the election. After that year, the Certificates become part of the National Archives collection," the statement continued. "Under the Privacy Act, OFR does not disclose information about communication with private individuals. As such, we cannot comment on what, if any, communication we've received except for the Certificates that are prepared and sent as part of an official State action."

After learning of the fake papers, Hobbs reportedly sent a letter to a leader of the pro-Trump group Sovereign Citizens of the State of Arizona demanding the organization "immediately cease the unauthorized use of Arizona's State Seal."

"Neither you nor the Organization applied to use the Arizona State Seal, and as such you did not have approval to use it on these documents. By affixing the state seal to documents containing false and misleading information about the results of Arizona's November 3, 2020 General Election, you undermine the confidence in our democratic institutions," Hobbs wrote in the letter, obtained by Politico.

Katie Hobbs
Katie Hobbs. Shutterstock

"Given the gravity of this violation," Hobbs continued, "I am referring this matter to the Arizona Attorney General's Office for further investigation and possible prosecution."

Hobbs and her Michigan counterpart, Secretary Jocelyn Benson, have both sent the forged certificates to the House of Representatives committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol and efforts to overturn the results of the election that the Democrats won.

Officials in Hobbs' and Benson's offices confirmed to Politico that they and members of their staffs met with the Jan. 6 panel in November.

"They mostly discussed election administration in Arizona, the 2020 elections, threats/harassment directed toward the office, and the Cyber Ninja's partisan ballot review," Hobbs' spokesperson C. Murphy Hebert told the outlet.

A spokesperson for Benson said she and others answered the committee's questions about the election and events that preceded Jan. 6.

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