WASHINGTON – Next up Tuesday for the House hearings on the Capitol attack Jan. 6, 2021, is the pressure former President Donald Trump applied to state officials to overturn 2020 election results, including Trump’s infamous call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
‘Dangerous and escalating campaign of pressure’: Trump’s efforts to pressure officials to stop the electoral vote count “targeted every tier of federal and state elected officials,” Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said at the hearing’s start. “Anyone who got in the way of Donald Trump’s continued hold on power after he lost the election was the subject of a dangerous and escalating campaign of pressure.”
Bowers denies calling election rigged: Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers, a Republican, disputed the recounting of a conversation he was said to have had with Trump in November 2020 about the election being rigged against him. “Anywhere, anyone, anytime has said that I said the election was rigged. That would not be true,” Bowers said.
No evidence: In questioning from Schiff, Bowers recalled Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani talking about election fraud: “We’ve got lots of theories, we just don’t have the evidence.” Bowers added, “I don’t know if that was a gaffe or maybe he didn’t think through what he said.”
What evidence does the Jan. 6 committee have?:Is the Jan. 6 committee sitting on explosive evidence of Trump’s role in the Capitol assault?
Schiff said the select committee uncovered evidence that individuals from groups like QAnon and the Proud Boys involved in the Jan. 6 attack participated in “stop the steal” protests at state capitals.
One of the protests took place at the Arizona House of Representatives building where protestors called for Bowers by name and stood outside the door armed with rifles. Protesters illegally entered the building and refused to leave, Schiff said.
One protester at the Arizona House building, “QAnon Shaman” Jacob Chansley, was sentenced to 41 months in prison after breaching the Capitol on Jan. 6.
– Rachel Looker
Giuliani wanted Arizona to hold an official hearing to certify Trump as the winner because he claimed over 200,000 undocumented individuals and 6,000 dead people had voted in the election, Bowers testified.
On multiple occasions, Bowers and other senators pushed Giuliani and other Trump attorneys for names of individuals and evidence of fraud, but Giuliani never provided evidence.
“We’ve got lots of theories, we just don’t have the evidence,” Giuliani told them.
“I don’t know if that was a gaffe or maybe he didn’t think through what he said, but both myself and others in my group and my counsel remembered that specifically and kind of laughed about it,” Bowers said.
– Katherine Swartz
Bowers told the committee he adamantly told Trump and his aides that he could not ask his state legislature to simply award him electoral votes after Trump lost the the state’s popular vote to Biden.
The idea of even considering it was “totally foreign” to him, Bowers testified, and he wouldn’t have it.
Bowers said he told Trump’s team: “You are asking me to do something that is counter to my oath,” as well as “to the laws of the state of Arizona.”
– David Jackson
Arizona state House Speaker Rusty Bowers said he refused Rudy Giuliani’s request to hold a hearing on evidence of election fraud – evidence that Bowers said Giuliani never provided.
“I refused,” Bowers testified. “I didn’t want to be used as a pawn.”
Bowers said the “circus had been brewing” with lots of demonstrations about the election results “and I didn’t want to have that in the House.”
– Maureen Groppe
Bowers said he asked Giuliani repeatedly for proof of election fraud but did not receive it.
Bowers said he was on the phone with Trump and Giuliani when Giuliani began listing off large numbers of people who voted but shouldn’t have — such as undocumented immigrants and dead people — when he asked, “Do you have their names?”
Bowers said Giuliani told him “yes” and that Trump told Giuliani to give him what he wanted. Bowers said he “never” received the information he asked for despite asking for the information “on multiple occasions.”
– Erin Mansfield
Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers opened his testimony by directly denying a claim Tuesday by former Trump that Bowers said the 2020 election was rigged.
Trump had issued a statement minutes before Bowers’ appearance saying the two had talked by phone in November 2020, saying Bowers called the election rigged. Bowers, who campaigned with Trump, confirmed having a conversation with Trump, but said parts the former president cited were untrue.
Bowers also denied Trump’s claim that he won Arizona instead of Biden. “That is also false,” Bowers said.
– Bart Jansen
Pennsylvania House Speaker Bryan Cutler received daily voicemails from Trump’s lawyers in the last week of November.
“Hey Brian, it’s Rudy. I really have something important to call to your attention that I think changes things,” former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani said in a taped voicemail played during the hearing.
Cutler asked his lawyers to have Giuliani stop calling, but the calls continued. He said there were multiple protests at his house and district office following. His personal email, cell phone and home phone number were shared online.
“We had to disconnect our home phone for about three days because it would ring all hours of the night and fill up with messages,” Cutler said.
– Rachel Looker
Schiff said Trump’s intense pressure campaign against state election officials “brought angry phone calls, and texts, armed protests, intimidation, and all too often, threats of violence and death.”
The pressure campaign singled out specific elections officials and workers. The Jan. 6 committee played a video of pro-Trump protestors chanting “stop the steal” outside Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s house. Protesters called Benson a “tyrant” and a “felon.”
Benson told the committee “The uncertainty of that was the fear. Are they coming with guns? Are they gonna attack my house? I’m in here with my kid, you know, I’m trying to put them to bed. And so that was the scariest moment, just not knowing what was going to happen.”
– Kenneth Tran
In his opening remarks to the committee, Rep. Adam Schiff spoke of the layers of pressure Trump put on election commissioners and state legislators in key states.
Trump began by pressuring states to stop the counting of votes on Election Day. Then he put more pressure on officials who refused to certify him as winner of states he lost. When state elected officials refused to go back into session to appoint Trump electors, Trump further “amped up the pressure, yet again” Schiff said.
“Anyone who got in the way of Trump’s continued hold on power after he lost the election was the subject of a dangerous and escalating campaign of pressure. This pressure campaign brought angry phone calls and texts, armed protests, intimidation, and all too often, threats of violence and death,” Schiff said.
– Katherine Swartz
Cheney said former Trump did not care that his false allegations of election fraud were leading to threats of violence.
“Donald Trump did not care about the threats of violence,” Cheney said. “He did not condemn them. He made no effort to stop them. He went forward with his fake allegations anyway.”
Cheney urged viewers watching the hearings to focus on the evidence and not be distracted by politics. “This is serious,” she said. “We cannot let America become a nation of conspiracy theories and thug violence.”
– Michael Collins
In her opening statement, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said Trump’s pressure on officials in Georgia, Arizona, and other states to reverse his election losses to Joe Biden should be deplored by everybody – including Justice Department investigators.
“Each of these efforts to overturn the election is independently serious,” Cheney said. “Each deserves attention both by Congress and by the Department of Justice.”
The Justice Department is already prosecuting rioters who breached the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 – Cheney and other committee members clearly want prosecutors to include Trump himself in their investigation.
– David Jackson
Former President Donald Trump’s false claims of election fraud continue to reverberate in contests held after the 2020 presidential campaign,Thompson said.
“The lie hasn’t gone away. It’s corrupting our democratic institutions,” Thompson said. “People who believe that lie are now seeking positions of public trust.”
He cited the recent primary election in New Mexico where a county commissioner refused to certify the results based on a “gut feeling” about the voting machines. That same commissioner is among those who pleaded guilty to illegally entering the Capitol on Jan. 6, Thompson said.
– Maureen Groppe
Thompson said former president Donald Trump not only knew state election officials would be threatened with violence for not overturning the election results in his favor, but that he amplified those threats.
“When they wouldn’t embrace the ‘big lie’ and substitute the will of the voters with Donald Trump’s will to remain in power, Donald Trump worked to ensure they faced the consequences,” Thompson said, referring to state election officials.
“Threats to people’s livelihood and lives,” he said. “Threats of violence that Donald Trump knew about and amplified.”
– Erin Mansfield
Rep. Bennie Thompson, the committee chairman, opened Tuesday’s hearing by reciting evidence from previous hearings about former President Donald Trump’s pressure on Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the 2020 election, but the scheme didn’t end there.
Thompson, D-Miss., said state officials from Georgia and Arizona would describe the pressure on them.
“In fact, pressuring public servants into betraying their oaths was a fundamental part of the playbook,” Thompson said. “A handful of election officials in key states stood between Donald Trump and the upending of American democracy.”
– Bart Jansen
Former President Donald Trump called Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers a “Republican in name only” before the lawmaker is scheduled to testify Tuesday about Trump’s pressure to flip his state’s election results.
Bowers has said Trump and his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, called to urge him to overturn his state’s electors for President Joe Biden and replace them with electors for Trump. But Trump said Bowers thanked him in November 2020 for getting him elected and that Trump won the election.
“During the conversation, he told me that the election was rigged and that I won Arizona,” Trump said in a statement. “He said he got more votes than I did which could never have happened.”
– Bart Jansen
A British documentarian said Tuesday he provided the House Jan. 6 committee with previously unreleased recordings of exclusive interviews with former President Donald Trump, his children and former Vice President Mike Pence before and after the Capitol attack Jan. 6, 2021.
Alex Holder said in a tweeted statement he began the project in September 2020 and hadn’t expected the recordings to be subpoenaed. “We simply wanted to better understand who the Trumps were and what motivated them to hold onto power so desperately,” said Holder, who has a deposition with the committee scheduled Thursday.
The recordings are scheduled to be part of a three-part series to be released this summer called, “Unprecedented.”
– Bart Jansen
Donald Trump hits Kevin McCarthy over lack of Trump Republicans on Jan. 6 committee
Former President Donald Trump is now attacking House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy over the lack of pro-Trump Republicans in the Jan. 6 committee hearings on the Capitol attack.
“It was a bad decision not to have representation on that committee,” Trump told conservative radio talk show host Wayne Allyn Root last week. “That was a very, very foolish decision because they try to pretend like they’re legit, and only when you get into the inner workings, you say, ‘What kind of a thing is this?'”
The committee does have two Republican members – Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger – and they are outspoken critics of Trump.
McCarthy – who is counting on Trump’s support to become speaker of the House should Republicans win control of Congress in this year’s elections – did propose other Republicans for Jan. 6 committee membership. But current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., rejected GOP firebrands Jim Jordan and Jim Banks because they voted against the electoral vote count that elected President Joe Biden.
– David Jackson
- June 9 hearing: Committee members gave an overview of what they called former President Donald Trump’s “sophisticated seven-part plan” to overturn the 2020 election. Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards described suffering a concussion and slipping in blood while battling rioters. British documentarian Nick Quested played video of a meeting between two leaders of far-right rights the night before the attack.
- June 13 hearing: The committee outlined how Trump’s aides on the campaign and at the White House told him repeatedly he lost the 2020 election. Former Attorney General Bill Barr called the allegations of election fraud “completely bogus and silly” in videotaped testimony. A committee member, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., called Trump raising $250 million after the election to fight election fraud “a big rip-off” because most of the money went to a campaign fund unrelated to the legal fight.
- Thursday: The hearing focused on Trump’s pressure on Vice President Mike Pence to reject electors from key states and overturn the election for him. Retired federal judge Michael Luttig, who advised Pence, told the committee there was no constitutional basis for Trump’s strategy. “None,” Luttig said. Videotaped testimony from a series of Trump aides including his daughter, Ivanka Trump, described a Jan. 6 call between Trump and Pence as “heated” and said the president called his vice president a “wimp.”
Trump vs. Pence in 2022 endorsements
Former President Donald Trump supported Republican candidates hoping to knock off Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, but both incumbents won.
But other Trump candidates, including Jim Marchant, who won the GOP nomination for Nevada secretary of state, have said they wouldn’t have certified 2020 election results that President Joe Biden won.
Who is Shaye Moss?
Wandrea’ ArShaye “Shaye” Moss, who will testify at a panel by herself at the Jan. 6 committee hearing Tuesday, handled voter applications and absentee ballot requests in Fulton County, Georgia, and helped process the vote count on Election Day 2020.
After Trump and his supporters falsely accused Moss of processing fake ballots for Biden, Moss received so many death threats and racist taunts, she changed her appearance and went into hiding, according to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, which gave her a 2022 “Profile in Courage Award.”
Bowers and the committee vice chair, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., also received the award.
A key event the committee is investigating is the Jan. 2, 2021, call from former President Donald Trump urging Georgia Secretary of State Brian Raffensperger to “find” 11,780 votes for him to beat President Joe Biden in Georgia.
Trump insisted he couldn’t have lost the state, but Raffensperger told him what he was saying “was not true” during the call, which was recorded. Sterling publicly called Trump’s claims false.
The committee chair, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said Trump tried everything in his power to change the election results. “He tried to pressure state legislatures to reverse the results of the election in their states, but they refused,” Thompson said.
What we know about today’s hearing:Jan. 6 hearings resume Tuesday with a focus on Trump’s pressure on state officials. What to expect.
Trump contends Georgia call was ‘perfect’
Former President Donald Trump continued to maintain in a statement Sunday his call to Georgia officials was “appropriate.” In a separate statement, he again called the investigation a hoax and a waste of time.
“My phone call to the Georgia Secretary of State, with many other people, including numerous lawyers, knowingly on the line, was absolutely PERFECT and appropriate,” Trump said.
Jan. 6 committee hearing schedule:Here’s what to expect about at upcoming Jan. 6 hearings
Why hear from Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers?
Testimony from the Arizona House Speaker, Rusty Bowers, is important because the state was one of seven key states that President Joe Biden won in 2020, but that former President Donald Trump and his allies tried to overturn.
Another Trump lawyer, John Eastman, argued states could submit alternate slates of electors from the ones that were officially certified, so Vice President Mike Pence could reject their Biden electors, according to earlier testimony and court records. Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Clark drafted a letter to six of the states urging legislative leaders to overturn their official results, according to court records.
“We’ll show during the hearing what the president’s role was in trying to get states to name alternate slates of electors, how that scheme depended initially on hopes that the legislators would reconvene and bless it,” a committee member, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., told CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday.
What happened on Day 3:Trump called Pence a ‘wimp’ as VP resisted ‘pressure campaign’ to overturn election
Will Ginni Thomas testify?
The committee asked Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, for an interview because of emails she sent Bowers and texts she sent former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to fight the election results.
“We want to know what she knows, what her involvement was in this plot to overturn the election,” a committee member, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif. told CNN.
Ginni Thomas told the Daily Caller she is eager to testify and “can’t wait to clear up misconceptions.”