Advance Notice: Briefs

Report: DePerno met with Trump State Dept. official on Jan. 6, 2021

By: - May 17, 2022 4:15 pm

AG nominee Matt DePerno at the Michigan Republican Party Endorsement Convention, April 23, 2022 | Allison R. Donahue

Republican Attorney General candidate Matthew DePerno met with former Assistant Secretary of State Robert Destro during the right-wing insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, Destro confirmed to the Washington Post.

DePerno, who is endorsed by the Michigan GOP and former President Donald Trump, frequently espouses conspiracy theories about the 2020 presidential election and has been active in so-called “forensic audit” efforts in Michigan and Arizona. 

DePerno and GOP activist and Colorado podcaster Joe Oltmann met with Destro, a top Trump administration official, in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, per the Post. Destro declined to disclose what was discussed.

DePerno did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The meeting came after DePerno, Oltmann and a slew of other right-wing figures in states across the country had been pushing for months debunked claims that Trump was the rightful winner of the 2020 election and the election was riddled with voting fraud. 

On Jan. 6, pro-Trump rioters broke into the U.S. Capitol to stop the certification of electoral votes for President Joe Biden’s victory, leaving five dead. Hundreds of attackers have been arrested and charged with federal crimes.

It is unclear whether any action came of the meeting itself. DePerno has previously alluded to the meeting, including on a questionnaire from a pro-Trump interest group, in which he wrote: “On January 6, 2021, I was in the State Department briefing [former U.S. Secretary of State] Mike Pompeo’s staff on how the election was stolen. (NOTE to reader: don’t tell the Feds!).”

If elected, DePerno has vowed to prosecute his political enemies, including his Democratic opponent, Attorney General Dana Nessel, who has asked for a federal investigation into fraudulent Republican electors in Michigan and other key states Trump lost. 

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Laina G. Stebbins
Laina G. Stebbins

Laina G. Stebbins is a former Michigan Advance reporter. 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.