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FRONTLINE: Plot to Overturn The Election

A Trump rally at the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing, Mich. Oct. 12, 2021. Credit: Jake May /MLive Media Group 
Jake May /MLive Media Group
Flint Journal
A Trump rally at the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing, Mich. Oct. 12, 2021.

Premieres Tuesday, March 29, 2022 at 10 p.m. on KPBS TV + Thursday, March 31 at 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. on KPBS 2 / On demand with the PBS Video App!

One year after President Biden's inauguration, more than two thirds of Republican voters believe his election was illegitimate — and the idea that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump is now a defining issue of the Republican Party. Yet the story of how lies about election fraud made their way to the center of American politics has not been fully told.

Now, in new investigative collaboration, FRONTLINE and ProPublica trace one of the hidden sources of disinformation about the 2020 election and demonstrate how a handful of people have had an outsized impact on the current crisis of democratic legitimacy in the United States. The documentary, “Plot to Overturn the Election” premieres Tuesday, March 29.

FRONTLINE "Plot to Overturn the Election" - Preview

Following reporter A.C Thompson (“Documenting Hate,” “New American Nazis,” “American Insurrection”) and his colleagues Doug Bock Clark and Alexandra Berzon, "Plot to Overturn the Election" shows how a small team of Trump supporters met in secret to create the core narratives of fraud that Trump would champion from the White House.

The film illustrates how the legacy of their campaign goes beyond the January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, and extends into the growing right-wing movement to audit the vote in battleground states, alter election law, and elect Republican candidates aligned with their views.

FRONTLINE and ProPublica have been reporting on the threats against American democracy fueled by the Trump era for the past four years — most recently, offering an in-depth look at how far-right extremist groups have evolved from the deadly 2017 Charlottesville rally to the assault on the U.S. Capitol in "American Insurrection," as well as through their award-winning series "Documenting Hate." This latest collaborative, multi-platform effort also will include text stories from ProPublica co-published on FRONTLINE’s website.

FRONTLINE: American Insurrection (2022)

“This moment in time is about more than just politics — it’s about democracy. And at a time where American democracy is more vulnerable than ever, we’re proud to continue our investigative reporting ProPublica and to deliver accessible, trustworthy journalism to the American people,” says Raney Aronson-Rath, FRONTLINE executive producer.

“The ongoing lies about the 2020 election have, unfortunately, become a central aspect of our politics and our future as a nation,’’ said Stephen Engelberg, editor in chief of ProPublica. “We’re proud to partner with FRONTLINE to bring into public focus the people who spread the myth that the election was rigged.’’

FRONTLINE and ProPublica will also be hosting a curated collection of in-person and virtual events. Subscribe to FRONTLINE's newsletter for additional details and links to RSVP.

Watch On Your Schedule:

“Plot to Overturn the Election” premieres Tuesday, March 29. Tune in or stream on PBS, at or on the PBS Video App.


A FRONTLINE production with Midnight Films, LLC in partnership with ProPublica. The correspondent is A.C. Thompson. The producer and writer is Samuel Black. The executive producer for FRONTLINE is Raney Aronson-Rath.