The Jan. 6 Committee started its fourth hearing Tuesday by laying out how former President Donald Trump tried to pressure Republican state-level government officials from Arizona and Georgia to overturn the 2020 election results.
Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) said the "pressuring of public servants into betraying their oath was a fundamental part of the playbook" by Trump, and that only "a handful of officials... stood between Donald Trump and the upending of American democracy."
Thompson also warned that Trump's authoritarian threat continues, because Big Lie conspiracy theorists continue to get voted into office at the local level, where they could stand in the way of certifying legitimate election results. Thompson pointed to one recent example-a New Mexico county commissioner (and leader of "Cowboys for Trump" who stormed the Capitol building last year) who refused to certify local primary election results and had to be overruled by the state's Supreme Court last week.
Jan. 6 Committee: 'Coup Memo' Author Knew His Plan Was Illegal
Rusty Bowers, the top legislator in Arizona's House of Representatives, recalled a phone call in which Trump and his team pushed Bowers to put together a sham committee of legislators with the express purpose of reversing the election results in that state.
Bowers described a conversation with the former president's lawyer, one-time New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who urged the Arizona politician to replace the electoral college "electors" slated to vote for Joe Biden with an alternate team who pledged loyalty to Trump.
"You're asking me to do something against my oath, and I will not break my oath," Bowers remembered responding to Giuliani.
At a separate meeting, Bowers remembered laughing after Giuliani told him, "We have lots of theories, we just don't have the evidence."
Bowers will be followed by Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia secretary of state who Trump called by phone in January 2021 to demand that he "find 11,780 votes" to swing the election and reverse his loss.
Raffensperger wrote a book about the ordeal last year, putting it this way: "Now he was directly attacking the election itself. He was asking me, as Georgia's secretary of state, to 'find 11,780 votes'-enough for him to claim a win in our state."
Over the weekend, Trump himself went on the defensive, making several rambling posts on his own Twitter wannabe Truth Social app targeting Raffensperger.
"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. YES, it was a PERFECT CALL," he posted on Sunday.
Co-chair Liz Cheney (R-WY) noted how Trump's public targeting of Bowers and Raffensperger led to death threats against these officials and their families.
"We cannot let America become a nation of conspiracy theorists and thug violence," she said.
Read more at The Daily Beast.
Get the Daily Beast's biggest scoops and scandals delivered right to your inbox. Sign up now.
Stay informed and gain unlimited access to the Daily Beast's unmatched reporting. Subscribe now.