January 6 hearings: state officials to testify about pressure from Trump to discredit election

  • In Politics
  • 2022-06-21 17:22:56Z
  • By The Guardian
Photograph: Stefani Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images
Photograph: Stefani Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images  

The January 6 select committee reconvened on Tuesday to examine Donald Trump and his allies' efforts to pressure state election officials to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

The committee's fourth hearing this month featured testimony from some of the state officials who became household names in the weeks after the 2020 election, as Trump began spreading lies about widespread fraud tainting the results.

The hearing came days after the panel heard about Trump's pressure campaign on his vice-president, Mike Pence, to interfere with the congressional certification of the results.

"Today we'll show that what happened to Mike Pence wasn't an isolated part of Donald Trump's scheme to overturn the election," said Bennie Thompson, the Democratic chairman of the committee. "In fact, pressuring public servants into betraying their oaths was a fundamental part of the playbook."

Among those testifying were Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia secretary of state. In an infamous phone call that was made public just days before the January 6 attack on the Capitol, Trump asked Raffensperger, a Republican, to "find" enough votes to reverse Joe Biden's victory in Georgia. Raffensperger refused to do so, earning him praise from many Americans even as Trump and his supporters attacked him as a traitor.

Gabriel Sterling, Raffensperger's deputy in the Georgia secretary of state office, testified alongside his boss on Tuesday. Rusty Bowers, the Republican speaker of the Arizona house, and Wandrea ArShaye "Shaye" Moss, a former Georgia election worker, were also on the witness list for the hearing.

"We'll show courageous state officials who stood up and said they wouldn't go along with this plan to either call legislators back into session or decertify the results for Joe Biden," said Adam Schiff, a member of the select committee, to CNN on Sunday.

Schiff, a Democrat of California, is expected to take a leading role in questioning the witnesses at Tuesday's hearing. He said that the panel would also share evidence of Trump's involvement in a plan to send fake slates of electors to Congress, as part of a bid to overturn the results of the election.

"We'll show evidence of the president's involvement in this scheme," Schiff said Sunday. "We'll also again show evidence about what his own lawyers came to think about this scheme."

The committee has already presented evidence showing that Trump was repeatedly told his claims of widespread fraud in the election were baseless. The Tuesday hearing could bolster calls for Trump to be charged over his role in inciting the deadly January 6 insurrection. According to a new ABC News/Ipsos poll, 58% of Americans now believed that Trump should face criminal charges in connection to the Capitol attack.

But Jamie Raskin, another member of the select committee, stopped short of calling for Trump to be charged when asked about the possibility on Sunday.

"Accountability also means collective accountability, and that's the real project," Raskin told NBC News. "Telling the truth to the people so we can make decisions about how to fortify democratic institutions going forward."


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