Pennsylvania Scheme Highlighted In Latest Trump Indictment

FILE - Former President Donald Trump attends an event with supporters at the Westside Conservative Breakfast, in Des Moines, Iowa, Thursday, June 1, 2023. Trump described a Pentagon “plan of attack” and shared a classified map related to a military operation, according to an indictment unsealed Friday, June 9. The document marks the Justice Department’s first official confirmation of a criminal case against Trump arising from the retention of hundreds of documents at his Florida home, Mar-a-Lago. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

By Sean Kitchen

August 2, 2023

Elected officials in Pennsylvania played an important role in Trump’s conspiracy to overturn the 2020 election. Here’s a quick refresher following Trump’s indictment.

The country was reminded on Tuesday of Pennsylvania’s involvement in former president Donald Trump’s criminal conspiracy to overturn the 2020 election.

Trump was charged with three counts of conspiracy and one count of obstructing an official proceeding. The conspiracy charges include a conspiracy to defraud the United States, a conspiracy to obstruct Congress from counting the electoral votes on January 6 and a conspiracy against Americans’ right to vote.

The indictment against Trump mentions how Trump attacked then-Philadelphia County Commissioner, and current Department of State Secretary, Al Schmidt in the days following the 2020 election for dispelling lies that there was widespread voter fraud throughout the city. Scmidt and his family received death threats because of Trump’s actions.

Later that month, State Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Franklin), along with members from the Pennsylvania Senate Republican caucus, held a sham hearing at a hotel in Gettysburg airing out mistruths and conspiracy theories surrounding the election results.

According to the indictment, Rudy Giuliani, who is presumed to be Co-Conspirator 1, orchestrated the event at the hotel and “falsely claimed that Pennsylvania had issued 1.8 million absentee ballots and received 2.5 million in return.

A staffer from Trump’s campaign called Giuliani’s lies “just wrong” and “there’s no way to defend it,” and the Deputy Campaign Manager responded “we have been saying this for a while. It’s very frustrating.”

In the days leading up and on January 6, Trump brought up multiple times that there were 205,000 more votes than voters and each time officials from the Justice Department informed Trump this lie was false.

The lie Trump used to try and overturn the election results originated with former State Rep. Frank Ryan (R-Lebanon) in the weeks following the election. Ryan was invited to speak in front of the US Senate on Dec. 16, 2020, and following the hearing, Ryan sent a letter to US Rep. Scott Perry (R-York) and US Sen. Ron Johnson explaining how he came up with the extra 205,000 voters.

Perry, who has not been indicted for his involvement in trying to overturn the 2020 election, played an important role in introducing Jeffrey Clark, who is Co-Conspirator 5 in the indictment, to Trump.

Perry spearheaded the attempts to get Jeffrey Rosen and the Justice Department to launch a sham investigation to cast doubt on Pennsylvania’s election results, which would have made it easier for Trump to declare the election results invalid.

When that didn’t happen, Perry pushed for Rosen’s ouster and introduced Clark to Trump, hoping Clark would carry out the plot. That attempt failed when staff at the Department of Justice threatened to resign en masse.

Around that time, Perry texted former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, “Mark, just checking in as time continues to count down. 11 days to ⅙ and 25 days to inauguration.”


  • Sean Kitchen

    Sean Kitchen is the Keystone’s political correspondent, based in Harrisburg. Sean is originally from Philadelphia and spent five years working as a writer and researcher for Pennsylvania Spotlight.

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