Five Key Takeaways from the Jan. 6 US Capitol Riot Hearing | US Elections 2020 News
In its fourth hearing of the month, the Congressional committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol presented emotional testimonies from witnesses highlighting former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
Trump was – once again – the focus of Tuesday’s session, which examined his push to pressure local and state officials to dismiss the election results.
In the US federal system, voters elect the president through their states. Each state is assigned a number of electors proportional to its population. Candidates who win a state carry its voters.
Trump’s pressure campaign and cheating allegations targeted swing states, which he won in 2016 but lost to President Joe Biden in 2020.
On Tuesday, the panel heard from multiple witnesses in those states who described Trump’s efforts and the toll they and their families took.
Here’s a look at five key takeaways from this month’s fourth public hearing:
Trump planned to replace Biden’s constituents
The panel highlighted efforts by Trump and his aides to illegally replace voters from states won by Biden — a plan that one witness, Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers, called a “tragic parody.”
The committee played a video detailing what it called the “wrong voters” conspiracy.
“President Trump has been directly involved in his campaign to advance and coordinate the conspiracy to replace legitimate Biden voters with bogus voters not chosen by voters,” said Congressman Adam Schiff, who spoke at Tuesday’s session played a leading role.
[In the quote above, should this read President Trump and his campaign?]
The video showed former Trump lawyers saying they distanced themselves from the program and warning that it was illegal.
“The select committee has received testimony that those close to President Trump have begun organizing fake Trump electors in states won by Biden in the weeks following the election,” panel aide Casey Lucier said in a video , which was played at the hearing.
Bowers also told the panel that on a call from Trump’s former attorney Rudy Giuliani, he suggested he hold a hearing to remove and replace Biden’s constituents after the current president won the state.
Arizona’s top lawmaker says Trump wanted him to violate the oath to the US Constitution
Bowers, a Republican, fought back tears as he described pressure from Trump’s aides to get him to overturn Arizona’s election results and support the “fake electoral college” conspiracy.
“You are asking me to do something that has never been done before in history, in the history of the United States,” Bowers recalled as he told Giuliani. “And I will assert my condition without sufficient evidence… No, sir.”
Bowers added he did not want to be “pawned” in Trump’s plan to stay in power.
“You are asking me to do something against my oath and I will not break my oath,” Bowers told Giuliani.
‘I need 11,000 votes’: Trump sought enough votes to overturn Georgia results
Audio tapes played Tuesday showed that Trump was rather explicitly looking for enough votes to overturn the Georgia election result.
With Biden’s victory in 2020, the Southern state went to a Democratic presidential nominee for the first time since 1992. And so the panel said Trump has a “particular obsession” with Georgia.
“All I want to do is this: I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have because we won to show off,” Trump said in a note to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
In the same appeal, the then-President adds: “The real truth is that I won by at least 400,000 votes. So what are we going to do? I just need 11,000 votes guys. I need 11,000 votes; Give me a break.”
In a separate conversation with Frances Watson, Raffensperger’s chief investigator, Trump directly pleads for action to overturn the election results.
“Whatever you can do, Frances,” Trump Watson says on the tape.
Schiff called Trump’s efforts to reverse the vote a “dangerous cancer for politics.”
“If you could convince Americans that they can’t trust their own elections, that any defeat is somehow illegitimate, then violence is the only way to determine who should govern,” he said.
Trump’s pressure campaign sparked threats against election officials
Several officials testified Tuesday that Trump’s efforts to get them to support his bogus voter fraud allegations have resulted in threats and abuse from his supporters against them and their families.
Wandrea ArShaye “Shaye” Moss and her mother Ruby Freeman, former poll workers in Georgia’s Fulton County who were singled out by Trump and his team over false allegations of voter fraud, underscored the seriousness of the then-president’s attacks.
Moss, who is black, told the committee that being misidentified by Trump’s aide as someone involved in voter fraud “turned her life upside down.” She said she received a barrage of racist and threatening messages after the election.
“I no longer give out my business card. I do not transfer calls. I don’t want anyone to know my name,” she said.
“I don’t go to the supermarket at all. I wasn’t anywhere at all. I’ve gained about 60 pounds. I just don’t do anything anymore. I don’t want to go anywhere I questioned everything I do,” Moss added.
“I’ve lost my name and I’ve lost my reputation. I’ve lost my sense of security – all because a group of people are… scapegoats[ed] me and my daughter Shaye to spread their own lies about how the presidential election was stolen.”
– Ruby Freeman, former Georgia campaigner pic.twitter.com/jEVvW85ZJX
— January 6 Committee (@January6thCmte) June 21, 2022
For her part, Freeman, whose recorded testimony was played Tuesday, said she was struggling after being named by Trump.
“I lost my sense of security because a group of people, starting at number 45, and his ally Rudy Giuliani decided to scapegoat me and my daughter Shaye to spread their own lies about how the presidential election was stolen.” , she told Trump, who was the 45th President of the United States.
Freeman added that she no longer feels safe anywhere.
“You know how it feels when the President of the United States takes aim at you?” Freimann said.
“The President of the United States is supposed to represent every American, not to target one. But it was aimed at me, Lady Ruby — a small business owner, a mother, a proud American citizen who [stood] ready to help Fulton County conduct an election in the midst of the pandemic.”
Witnesses debunk voter fraud conspiracy theories
Election officials testifying Tuesday debunked some of the most popular conspiracy theories put forward by Trump and his supporters to back their baseless allegations of voter fraud.
Georgia State Department chief operating officer Gabriel Sterling refuted allegations of fraud based on a tape showing poll workers running ballots — described by Trump supporters as suitcases — through voting machines.
Sterling explained that the alleged suitcase was an official box of voting cards. He said some ballots were run more than once to fix misscans or misalignment by the machines in what he called “standard practice” that doesn’t affect vote counting.
Foreign Minister Raffensperger also dismissed unsubstantiated reports of dead people voting, a claim Trump had previously made.
“Every single allegation that we reviewed, we followed the rabbit trail to make sure our numbers were accurate,” Raffensperger said.