Lee Chatfield told Trump a Michigan election fraud tale was false, book says

May 18, 2022, 6:12 PM

While he was a top Republican in Lansing, Lee Chatfield reportedly tried to warn Donald Trump not to believe claims of presidential ballot shenanigans in a Northwest Michigan county.

(Book cover: Simon & Schuster)

A Detroit News reporter finds that nugget in a 480-page book by two New York Times politics writers:

Then-Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield ... privately told then-President Donald Trump there was no "mass fraud with the voting machines" in Antrim County, according to a new book on the 2020 election.

The book, "This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America’s Future," was written by journalists Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns.

They describe a Nov. 20, 2020 meeting with Trump by Chatfield, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and a few other state lawmakers. "Chatfield and Shirkey suggested they used the gathering to focus on Covid-19 relief and not Michigan's election results," writes Craig Mauger of The News.

After the meeting, according to "This Will Not Pass," Chatfield told Ronna McDaniel, a Michigan resident and chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, that he had attempted to persuade Trump that the conspiracy theories about Antrim County were not true. ...

Despite Chatfield's reported statements to Trump, the former president and members of his administration continued to make claims about Antrim County. ... Trump went on to endorse Kalamazoo lawyer Matt DePerno, one of the most outspoken critics of the Antrim County election, to become Michigan's next attorney general. 

Lee Chatfield

Mauger, who has years-long familiarity with the saga, explains that "incorrect initial tallies were spurred by human errors — the failure to properly update equipment after late changes to the designs of ballots." 

After realizing there were problems with the numbers, Antrim County Clerk Sheryl Guy's office canvassed the election results and reported the official tallies: Trump had actually won the county by more than 3,700 votes, 61%-37%, a 7,000-vote swing from the initial and unofficial numbers.

A state Senate Oversight Committee report concluded last year that it was "a complete waste of time to consider [Antrim vote fraud claims] further."

Yet Michigan Republican Party delegates last month endorsed DePerno as the best candidate to challenge Attorney General Dana Nessel in November. 

Read more:  The Detroit News

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