Some of the Arizona electors who were pledged to cast electoral votes for Donald Trump if he had carried their state (which he didn’t) were so concerned about the pressure they were getting from the Trump campaign to go along with a plan to cast electoral votes for Trump anyway, they worried that going along with the scheme would have been an act of “treason.”
Personally, I doubt they would have faced treason charges. More likely some form of election fraud, which is nonetheless a felony. But it’s pitiful and despicable that Trump and his enablers were pushing a scheme that required some loyal Trumpians to contemplate committing a crime, and some of them were looking for assurances in advance that they wouldn’t face charges if they went along with the scheme, assurances the schemers were unable to give.
According to the story in Wednesday’s New York Times:
“The scheme was part of a broader bid — one of the longest running and most complicated that Mr. Trump undertook as he sought to cling to power after losing the 2020 presidential election — to falsely manufacture a victory for him by creating fake slates of electors in battleground states who would claim that he had been the true winner.
“Some of the lawyers who undertook the effort doubted its legality, and the emails, which have not been previously reported, were the latest indication that other key players also knew they were on shaky legal ground, and took pains to fabricate a rationale that could justify their actions.
“Kenneth Chesebro, a lawyer working for Mr. Trump’s campaign, wrote in a Dec. 11, 2020, email to other members of the legal team that [two women listed as Trump electors if Trump had carried Arizona] had raised concerns about casting votes as part of an alternate slate of electors because there was no pending legal challenge that could flip the results of Arizona’s election.”
The women, Arizona Republican Party Chairwoman Kelli Ward and Republican state Sen. Kelly Townsend, were “concerned it could appear treasonous for the AZ electors” to go along with the plan to cast electoral votes for Trump since Arizona had been called for Joe Biden and the women had seen no evidence that Trump had actually won.
Chesebro wrote the word “treasonous” in bold in his email.
The Times story noted that “One person working on the plan, the Arizona-based lawyer Jack Wilenchik, conceded in emails that the Electoral College votes the campaign was working to organize ‘aren’t legal under federal law’ and repeatedly referred to them as ‘fake.’”
Townsend ultimately refused to sign the document stating that Trump had won Arizona. Both she and Ward have received subpoenas to be questioned about the scheme. Neither of them spoke to the New York Times for the story from which this post is derived. The Times story can be accessed via this link, although you might need to be a Times subscriber to get to it.