Lawyer forced to resign from law firm over Trump effort to steal the election resurfaces in new role
Cleta Mitchell, the election attorney known for her role in notorious Trump phone call with Georgia election officials, doubles down on election conspiracy theories
Cleta Mitchell was the go-to election lawyer for Republicans. She served on the Board of Governors for the Republican National Lawyers Association. Arguably she was at the top of her profession. She had built up a legal practice in Washington D.C. over the past 30 years, most recently as a Partner at Foley & Lardner where she was employed for two decades. Her clients included the National Republican Senatorial Committee, National Rifle Association, and numerous senior Republican members of Congress. But ultimately it was her work for President Donald J. Trump that put her career and her reputation in a spiral--like so many others in Trump's orbit.
Mitchell has largely avoided the public spotlight since she made national headlines following her role in a January 2, 2021 phone call where President Trump urged Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to help him steal the election. “I just want to find 11,780 votes” Trump said on the call. The Washington Post reported Mitchell was a “key player” in that effort. Following the news of her involvement, and the resulting public outrage, Mitchell “resigned” from Foley & Lardner.
After a period of quiet, Mitchell has resurfaced, and has continued to spread lies about the 2020 presidential election results in a series of recent radio interviews. In the recordings, Mitchell made a number of outlandish statements, ranging from calling Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger a “pathological liar” to saying that tech companies mimic the control of the Nazi party in Germany. Mitchell also revealed she has a new role at the Conservative Partnership Institute (CPI).
The remarks come in advance of her appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) this weekend in Orlando, Florida. CPAC said in a tweet that Mitchell will “share her on-the-ground experiences” in Georgia and the “true facts about what happened on Nov 3rd and since then.” President Donald Trump is also expected to speak at the event.
Window into Trump election work
During one of six interview segments with radio host Jim Blasingame, Mitchell said she warned President Trump and Mark Meadows in September about “a massive effort to steal the election.” Mitchell said she didn’t hear back from the Trump campaign until Meadows called her the morning after the election. He then asked her to go to Atlanta, Georgia because “he was worried about Georgia.”
“I want to say one simple declarative sentence that you're not allowed to say in public, so I'm saying it as loudly as I can,” Mitchell said about Georgia. “There are more illegal votes based on publicly available government records. There are more illegal votes included in the certified results of the 2020 Presidential Election in Georgia than the margin of victory between President Trump and Joe Biden. More illegal votes than the margin of victory.”
Mitchell called the Republican leadership in Georgia “morally bankrupt” and said Raffensperger “is a pathological liar.”
In another interview segment, Mitchell emphatically agreed with the radio host who said he was more worried about tech companies and China than the Democrats.
“They mimic the control of the Nazi party in Germany,” Mitchell said. “We have to develop our own. Honestly, our own banks. Our own Insurance companies. Our own credit card processes. Our own social media. All of our own technology.”
Joining conservative group that helps connect conservatives on Capitol Hill
Prior to delving into her thoughts on tech companies, Mitchell announced her new role as a senior fellow for “election integrity” at CPI. The conservative group, which is led by former South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint, connects conservatives on Capitol Hill and worked closely with the Trump administration. Another recent hire is Mark Meadows, who became a CPI “senior partner” shortly after leaving the White House.
CPI is a natural fit for Mitchell, who has held various roles in influential organizations on the right. She is a board member of the Milwaukee-based Bradley Foundation, which has funded a vast network of right-wing think tanks across the country. According to reporting by Reuters, the foundation has steered more than $3.5 million to entities that work on election-related issues and other groups that amplify claims of voter fraud, including entities linked to Mitchell.
According to a set of directories obtained by Documented, published by us as part of a large archive of materials last year, Mitchell is also a member of the secretive Council for National Policy (CNP). The Council is a network of conservative think tanks, right-wing religious extremists, Republican operatives, elected officials and wealthy GOP donors.
Mitchell has signed numerous “memos” published by CNP’s 501(c)(4) sister organization the Conservative Action Project. Amongst these was a December 30, 2020 letter urging the U.S. Senate to “conduct a public hearing prior to the counting of electoral votes.”
During a CNP strategy session last year, the CEO of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), Lisa Nelson, cited Mitchell’s name. Documented obtained and published a video from the private meeting. Nelson explained that Mitchell was one of three lawyers ALEC had been working with to identify action items that legislators could take to question the validity of the election. Documented previously reported on Mitchell’s role as co-chair of American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) “Process Working Group,” which focuses on election and redistricting issues.