All the ways Michigan made the congressional report on Trump trying to overturn the election

Mich. U.S. attorneys received talking points on Antrim Co. ‘coverup’

By: - October 8, 2021 3:02 pm
President Donald Trump

President Donald Trump signed three presidential memoranda and an executive order Saturday at his private golf club in Bedminster, N.J. He is seen here in an earlier photo. Alex Wong/Getty Images

Updated, 8:41 a.m., 10/15/21

U.S. Senate Democrats dropped a report Thursday on how former President Donald Trump and his allies attempted to overturn the 2020 election, and there’s no shortage of Michigan mentions in the 394-page document.

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee released the lengthy report on Thursday, following many months of investigation into Trump’s repeated efforts to involve the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in his plans to illegally subvert the 2020 election results.

For their report, Democrats examined documents, interviewed key figures and compiled timelines to get a clearer picture of what happened during that time.

President Joe Biden won the election with no evidence of widespread problems or election fraud. He defeated Trump by more than 154,000 votes in Michigan. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has noted the state and local election officials have conducted hundreds of audits since the election and not one has turned up evidence of widespread issues or voter fraud.

Interim Staff Report FINAL


However, Trump and his allies unleashed a slew of court cases, legislative hearings and more after the election to prop up unsubstantiated claims and conspiracy theories in key states like Michigan, Georgia, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Arizona. 

That included the popular right-wing myth that Antrim County was ground zero for state Democrats fixing the vote for Biden in the key state, which has been debunked by fact-checkers.

That conspiracy theory centers on the brief misreporting (and prompt correction) of election results in Antrim County while votes were being tabulated. In certified election results, Trump won 9,748 votes in the northern Michigan county and Biden won 5,960. 

However, the mistake prompted accusations from Trump supporters about the accuracy of the county’s voting machines, along with a lawsuit that was dismissed in May.

Matthew Schneider

In December, U.S. Attorneys Matthew Schneider and Andrew Birge of Michigan were emailed a brief of talking points from Theresa Watson of the Office of Attorney General (OAG) about so-called election fraud in Antrim County and a “forensic report” that alleges widespread election fraud in the county.

The “Antrim County talking points” brief included bullet points like “Secretary Benson lied” and “a cover-up is happening regarding the voting machines in Michigan.”

Schneider, who is now a partner at Honigman, a Detroit-based law firm, did not immediately return a request for comment. Birge did not return a request for comment.

In all, Michigan is mentioned in the report 97 times; only Pennsylvania and Georgia receive more mentions in the documents. As the Advance previously reported, the report found Trump forced a top federal prosecutor in Atlanta to step down because he wouldn’t help Trump overturn his loss of Georgia in the 2020 presidential election.

Here are some key Michigan mentions:

  • Former New York City Mayor mayor and former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani served as an “expert witness” at so-called election integrity hearings in key states including Michigan, where GOP legislators let him take over the meeting.
  • On Dec. 14, Special Assistant to the President and Oval Office Coordinator Molly Michael emailed then-Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen two documents “from POTUS,” including a set of talking points on claims of voter fraud in Michigan’s Antrim County and a purported “forensic report” on Dominion Voting System’s performance in the county.
    • The author of the “forensic report” also authored an affidavit that erroneously cited data from Minnesota when claiming that more Michigan votes were recorded than there were Michigan voters.
    • The report contained a series of demonstrably false claims about Antrim County ballots and Dominion software.
  • Trump’s camp considered Michigan one of several “contested states,” even though he lost the state by 3 percentage points.
  • In December, Trump urged the DOJ to petition the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn election results in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Wisconsin, Arizona and Nevada.
    • That petition included the lie that the “forensic audit” found that Dominion’s system in Antrim County was “designed to generate an error rate as high as 81.96%.”
  • Attorneys who assisted Trump allies in lawsuits to overturn election results have been reprimanded by disciplinary authorities, including sanctions of Sidney Powell and L. Lin Wood by the Eastern District of Michigan.
  • A draft copy of the USA v. Pennsylvania complaint to the U.S. Supreme Court was sent to Trump allies by request of Trump himself; the complaint includes Michigan as one of six states it seeks to overturn election results in. The complaint includes:
    • On Dec. 14, Republican “electors” attempted to cast their fraudulent votes for Trump at the state Capitol but were denied entry. (This was because the proper slate of electors had already been chosen months earlier, and had been directed to cast their votes based on how the state voted).
    • The false claim that Benson “unilaterally abrogated Michigan election statutes related to absentee ballot applications and signature verification” and made the state’s election less secure by sending out absentee ballot applications to all Michiganders
    • The false claim that Benson also violated Michigan law when she began allowing absentee ballots to be requested online.
    • The claim that “Democrats in Michigan voted by mail at a ratio of approximately two to one compared to Republican voters. Thus, Biden materially benefited from what the suit claims were “unconstitutional changes to Michigan’s election law.”
    • The false claim that Wayne County election officials purposefully broke state law by not requiring poll watchers and inspectors to have access to vote counting and canvassing.
    • The false claim that Wayne County made a “policy decision” to ignore signature verification requirements for absentee ballots.
    • Other so-called inconsistencies in vote counts and tabulations.
    • On Nov. 17, the Wayne County Board of Canvassers deadlocked over whether to certify the county’s presidential results; a few hours later, the GOP board members reversed their decision and voted to certify “after severe harassment”; both then attempted to rescind their votes the next day. Trump reached out to both commissioners.

At one point, the draft complaint alleges that the probability of Biden winning the popular vote in Michigan, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin independently, given Trump’s early lead in those states, was “less than one in a quadrillion.”


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Laina G. Stebbins
Laina G. Stebbins

Laina G. Stebbins covers the environment, Native issues and criminal justice for the Advance. A lifelong Michigander, she is a graduate of Michigan State University’s School of Journalism, where she served as Founding Editor of The Tab Michigan State and as a reporter for the Capital News Service. When Laina is not writing or spending time with her cats, she loves art and design, listening to music, playing piano, enjoying good food and being out in nature (especially Up North).