Inside the Republican Elector Meeting Aimed at Derailing Biden’s Georgia Victory

by Chloe Baker
Republican electors Georgia meeting

The setting was hardly conducive to confidentiality.

On December 14, 2020, a group of Republicans claiming to be authentic electors assembled to allocate Georgia’s 16 electoral votes to Donald Trump. They convened at the Georgia Capitol, in a room just above the main public entrance. An official from the Trump campaign instructed the attendees to exercise “utmost discretion,” directing them to disclose only that they were meeting with two state senators present at the gathering.

Robert Sinners, who sent an email later uncovered by investigators, stressed, “Maintaining strict confidentiality and discretion is crucial to achieving the desired outcome—a Trump victory in Georgia.”

However, the clandestine nature of the gathering was compromised. Journalists from The Big Big News and other media outlets observed the Republicans entering the premises and eventually gained entry to the room, capturing photographs and videos of the meeting. While the true significance of the event was not immediately understood, it has since become an essential part of the case against Trump and 18 others who were indicted by a Georgia grand jury for efforts to overturn Joe Biden’s narrow triumph in the state.

In recent court proceedings, the meeting featured prominently as part of a plea agreement struck with Kenneth Chesebro, an attorney who pleaded guilty to a single felony charge of conspiracy to file fraudulent documents. Chesebro is one among three individuals who have accepted guilt in the case. Sidney Powell, another attorney, pleaded guilty to six misdemeanor charges relating to interference with electoral duties, all part of a larger conspiracy that prosecutors assert violates Georgia’s anti-racketeering statute.

While Democrats convened in the state Senate chamber to cast votes for Biden, the Republican electors met around weathered wooden conference tables to discuss strategies to keep Trump in power. Prosecutors describe these individuals as “false” or “fraudulent” electors. Eight of them have since agreed to testify in exchange for immunity from state prosecution.

Presiding over the meeting was David Shafer, the then-chairman of the Georgia Republican Party. Despite the presence of a court reporter, lending an air of officiality, Shafer later denied the individual’s presence during questioning by Fulton County prosecutors. This denial led to additional charges against him.

Some inconsistencies became apparent during the meeting, including the late election of Shawn Still as secretary—a change made, according to Shafer, to avoid the need to reprint existing documents. Still, who later faced legal consequences for his involvement, is one of three individuals indicted for participating in the fraudulent vote.

As the meeting progressed, four new electors were chosen to replace those who had originally pledged their support to Trump but were no longer available. One of these was State Sen. Burt Jones, who later became lieutenant governor with Trump’s endorsement. The decision to replace these electors is also a focal point in the felony charges against both Shafer and Still, who prosecutors claim acted without the required consent from Governor Brian Kemp, who had previously certified Biden’s win after a recount.

Robert Sinners, the Trump campaign official, utilized a portable printer to generate new elector certificates. Each of the 16 Republicans was called forth to sign these certificates, declaring Trump and then-Vice President Mike Pence as the preferred choices of Georgia voters. It is this act, prosecutors say, that constitutes multiple felonies, including impersonating a public officer and forgery.

Legal defenses on behalf of these individuals point to historical precedents and argue their actions were merely to keep Trump’s legal options open. However, Fulton County prosecutors vehemently dispute any parallels, noting that Democrats had won a court-affirmed recount in the 1960 Hawaii case often cited as precedent.

Robert Sinners, who had initially helped organize the meeting, has now distanced himself from its purpose. Currently employed by Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, Sinners expressed his regret in an interview, describing the gathering as “a misguided attempt by the former president’s campaign to fabricate an alternative reality—namely, a win.”

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Republican electors Georgia meeting

What was the main purpose of the meeting of Republican electors in Georgia?

The primary objective of the meeting was to allocate Georgia’s 16 electoral votes to Donald Trump, thereby attempting to overturn Joe Biden’s certified win in the state. The participants claimed to be legitimate electors and convened at the Georgia Capitol for this purpose.

Who led the meeting of Republican electors in Georgia?

The meeting was presided over by David Shafer, who was then the chairman of the Georgia Republican Party. He led the discussions and the activities during the gathering.

What legal consequences have emerged from this meeting?

The meeting has led to multiple indictments by a Georgia grand jury. Individuals involved face charges including conspiracy to commit filing false documents, impersonating a public officer, and first-degree forgery. Three individuals have already pleaded guilty in the case.

How did journalists become aware of this clandestine meeting?

Reporters from The Big Big News and other media outlets observed Republicans entering the Georgia Capitol building and were eventually allowed into the room where the meeting was taking place. They captured photographs and video footage, bringing the event to public attention.

What historical precedent is cited by defenders of the meeting?

Defenders often point to a 1960 incident in Hawaii where Democrats convened after Richard Nixon was initially certified as the winner. They argue that like the Democrats in 1960, the Republican electors in Georgia were keeping Trump’s legal options open.

What was Robert Sinners’ role and his current stance on the meeting?

Robert Sinners, an official from the Trump campaign, initially helped organize the meeting and insisted on the need for confidentiality. He has since distanced himself from its purpose and expressed regret, describing it as a misguided attempt to fabricate a Trump win in Georgia.

Have any of the participants cooperated with investigators?

Yes, at least eight Republican electors present during the meeting have agreed to testify in court in exchange for immunity from state charges. Robert Sinners has also cooperated with the U.S. House committee investigating the events of January 6, 2021.

What argument has Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis made against comparing the Georgia meeting to the 1960 Hawaii case?

Fani Willis argues that the situations are not comparable because Democrats in Hawaii eventually won a court-affirmed recount, which was then certified by the governor. She contends that the actions of the Georgia Republicans had no such legitimate basis.

Is there any ongoing litigation related to this meeting?

Yes, the legal proceedings are ongoing. Several individuals are facing multiple charges, and the case continues to be a critical element in the larger prosecution efforts to hold accountable those who attempted to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia.

More about Republican electors Georgia meeting

  • Georgia’s 2020 Electoral Process
  • The Role of Electors in the U.S. Electoral College
  • Legal Framework for Indicting Electors
  • The 1960 Presidential Election and Hawaii Precedent
  • Overview of Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis
  • Georgia Republican Party’s Stance on the Meeting
  • Robert Sinners’ Cooperation with U.S. House Committee
  • Indictments in Georgia Related to 2020 Election
  • Election Law and Procedures in Georgia

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Brian T October 21, 2023 - 3:15 pm

Wait, so they actually thought they could get away with it? In the State Capitol? So much for “complete secrecy and discretion,” huh.

Nancy W October 21, 2023 - 4:32 pm

The legal details are overwhelming. But its good they are getting highlighted. People should know what’s happening in the dark corners of politics.

John D October 21, 2023 - 6:13 pm

Its kinda scary how far people are willing to go to overturn an election. Makes me wonder how many other ‘secret meetings’ were happening around the country.

Linda H October 21, 2023 - 8:18 pm

Wow, just wow. The fact that this is even a thing, where we have to question the very foundation of our democracy, is mind-boggling. Where do we go from here?

Mike J October 21, 2023 - 8:42 pm

Woah, this is a loaded article. The legal mess it describes is a headache for sure. Its crazy how far some folks will go to mess with elections.

Tina R October 21, 2023 - 10:48 pm

The way reporters found out about it is also kinda funny. I mean if you’re planning something so big, maybe dont do it in a public building where reporters frequent. Just sayin.

Gary M October 22, 2023 - 4:40 am

The article is really well-written and thorough. Makes it easier to understand an otherwise confusing situation. Big props to the writer for this one.

Sarah K October 22, 2023 - 8:16 am

This is some deep investigative journalism. Kudos for diving into all these complicated details and legal ramifications. Eye-opening to say the least.


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