RENO, Nev. — The chairman of Nevada’s Republican Occasion says he testified earlier than the Home committee investigating the occasions main as much as the assault on the nation’s Capitol in 2021.
“Sure, I used to be known as earlier than them. I answered the subpoena,” Michael McDonald stated in an interview.
The subpoena requesting paperwork and testimony, which the Jan. 6 committee issued in January, famous the panel’s curiosity within the so-called pretend elector scheme, which it contends was half of a bigger effort by then-President Donald Trump and his allies to subvert the 2020 election outcomes and deny Joe Biden’s victory.
“We’re looking for details about your function and participation within the purported slate of electors casting votes for Donald Trump and, to the extent related, your function within the occasions of January 6, 2021,” the committee wrote.
Republicans in crucial battleground states Biden received in 2020, together with Nevada, signed paperwork falsely asserting that they had been their states’ rightful electors and that Trump — not Biden — was the true victor.
The plan, in response to the committee, citing paperwork and testimony, was for Trump allies to supply the slates as options to the state-certified Biden electors when Congress met on Jan. 6, 2021, to formalize the election outcomes to stress then-Vice President Mike Pence to refuse to validate Biden’s victory.
McDonald was among the many six folks from Nevada who signed a doc asserting that Trump was the winner of the state’s six electoral votes.
McDonald has defended his resolution to signal the doc.
“Lots of you bear in mind we had been known as, they known as us pretend electors,” McDonald stated at a GOP occasion this summer season, in response to the Las Vegas Solar. “We weren’t pretend. We had been elected.”
McDonald wouldn’t elaborate on the substance of his testimony, together with whether or not he had invoked the Fifth Modification proper to not testify at any level, and he referred the matter to his lawyer, who didn’t reply to a request for remark Tuesday. A spokesman for the Jan. 6 committee declined to remark.
Within the interview with NBC Information, McDonald confirmed experiences that federal authorities seized his cellphone in June. He additionally stated his lawyer has been in subsequent contact with Justice Division investigators.
The Justice Division can also be investigating efforts to undermine the 2020 election, together with what function the pretend elector scheme performed.
McDonald, who informed the Reno Gazette Journal in 2016 that he had shaped relationship with Trump, stated authorities haven’t returned his cellphone.
“I had my cellphone taken by the Division of Justice. I needed to go get a brand new one,” McDonald stated. “My father handed away — actually his final message is on that cellphone. It didn’t switch over” to the brand new gadget.
McDonald’s involvement in congressional and federal investigations tied to the 2020 election was revealed simply days earlier than the midterm elections. Shut contests for a U.S. Senate seat, the governorship and the secretary of state’s workplace are poised to have impacts on Biden’s agenda to the 2024 presidential election.
So far as cooperating with federal investigators, McDonald stated, his lawyer has acted as a go-between, dealing with all communications.
Whereas varied officers who acted as pretend electors have acknowledged having been served with grand jury subpoenas, McDonald is among the many few whose cellphones are identified to have been seized.
Though the Republican operating within the marquee race within the state this fall — Senate contender Adam Laxalt — has complained about the “rising weaponization of our federal businesses,” McDonald complimented the investigators who seized his cellphone in June and served him with a subpoena, saying they’d their very own job to do.
“They had been very skilled, very well mannered,” McDonald stated. “They had been simply doing their factor.”
The FBI has more and more come below assault from Republicans after it seized authorities paperwork, a few of them categorised, from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property in Florida as a part of a separate investigation into his dealing with of delicate paperwork post-presidency.
Final month, requested by NBC Information whether or not he stood with the FBI, Laxalt stated: “The FBI is way too political proper now, and we have to do one thing to take the polarization out of that. We simply can’t afford to have our high regulation enforcement company that politicized.”
Garrett Haake contributed.