UPDATE: At one point after the election, as he made wild and false allegations of voter fraud, Rudy Giuliani accused election worker Wandrea ArShaye Moss of handing her mom, Ruby Freeman, a USB drive full of votes. In a video shown to the committee, Giuliani claimed that the drives were passed around like “vials of heroin or cocaine.”
But Moss, who was joined by her mother at the hearing, said that object wasn’t a USB drive but a “ginger mint.”
That didn’t stop Giuliani or Donald Trump from spreading the conspiracy theory that they were behind election fraud in Fulton County, GA, even though there was no evidence.
“Do you know how it feels for the president of the United States to target you?” Freeman said in videotaped testimony, as she argued that she and her daughter were made into scapegoats by Trump and Giuliani.
“The president of the United States is supposed to represent every American, not target one. But he targeted me.”
Moss said that she received death threats and racist messages, including one who told she she should be glad it was 2020 and “not 1920.” She said that a lot of the messages “were racist, a lot of them were just hateful.” She said that she now fears being identified in public “all because of lies” and because she was just “doing my job.”
After their testimony, each committee member went to the witness table and gave them each hugs.
Other revelations from the hearing:
Text messages showed that on January 6, an aide to Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) inquired with a staffer for Mike Pence on how the senator could deliver “alternate,” or false, electors documents to the vice president. “Do not give that to him,” Pence’s aide replied.
Text messages showed chief of staff Mark Meadows wanted to send Georgia investigators a “s–tload” of MAGA memorabilia, including coins and hats, according to committee member Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA). White House staff “intervened to make sure that didn’t happen.”
PREVIOUSLY: In the aftermath of the election, Donald Trump repeatedly claimed that a surveillance video showed an election worker pulling out a suitcase full of ballots for Joe Biden. The footage spread across social media and in right wing news outlets and gained legendary status among election conspiracy theorists.
But Justice Department officials, including Attorney General William Barr, said that the video showed no such evidence of chicanery.
At the January 6th Committee hearing, Georgia elections officials described how the footage was merely of a ballot carrier. Even after he was told that his claims had no merit, Trump continued to make the claims at rallies, on social media and in calls with Georgia election officials.
“The conspiracy theory took on a life of its own,” said Gabriel Sterling, Georgia secretary of state chief operating officer. He said what the video showed was “normal ballot processing.”
Later, the committee played portions of Trump’s 67-minute January 2, 2021, phone call with Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s secretary of state, in which the president pressed him, “I only need 11,000 votes … give me a break.” Raffensberger, testifying before the committee, went through Trump’s claims of election fraud in the state and refuted them. Raffensperger said that he got attacks and threatening messages from all over the country, as did his wife, and his daughter-in-law had a break in at her home.
PREVIOUSLY: Rusty Bowers, Arizona’s House speaker, started his testimony by denying that he ever told Donald Trump that he thought the election results in the state were “rigged.”
Earlier on Tuesday, Trump had blasted Bowers and others testifying, making the claim that Bowers told him he believed the results in the state were fraudulent.
But in his testimony, Bowers said that he talked with Trump after the election, but never said any such thing. He said that any claim that he thought so “would not be true.” To the contrary, Bowers said that he rejected pressure by Trump and his supporters to take steps to overturn the results.
Bowers said that in a call with Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s attorney, he asked for proof that undocumented and dead people voted in the state, but never got any. He said that he rejected suggestions that he could initiate a House session to replace state Joe Biden electors with those of Donald Trump’s. He said that he told Giuliani that such a concept was “totally new to me, I have never heard anything such thing.”
He also said that he told Trump multiple times that although he voted for him, he would not break the law for him. That is significant because it ties into one of the committee’s major points, that Trump knew his efforts to overturn the results was illegal but he pressed forward anyway.
Bowers said that for him to call the legislature back into session, with the purposed of decertifying the Biden electors, would be violating his oath of office. “It’s a tenet of my faith that the Constitution is divinely inspired.” He said that “for me to do that because someone asked me to is foreign to my very being. I will not do it.”
Trump’s plan for January 6th hinged on Pence rejected the electoral results, based in part that results at the state level were tainted and that there was an alternate slate of Trump electors, ones that were uncertified and, as has been pointed out during the hearings, “fake.”
The electors met in Arizona and other states, and some sent paper documents to Washington. But they were not approved by a state authority and had no legal effect. In a clip shown during the hearing, one Trump campaign staffer who became one of those electors said that they because “useful idiots or rubes.”
Bowers said that when he heard that the Arizona electors had met, he thought of “the gang that couldn’t shoot straight. I thought that this is a tragic parody.”
He also described what he and his family endured after he resisted the pressure from Trump and his allies. He said that included Trump supporters showing up and his home, including one man carrying a pistol who argued with his neighbor, and also getting messages calling him a pedophile, pervert and corrupt politician.
The most moving part of Bowers’ testimony came when he read a journal entry from the post-election period. He wrote, “I do not want to be a winner by cheating.”
PREVIOUSLY: The January 6th Committee opened its latest hearing with a focus on the role of Donald Trump and his allies to pressure state officials to overturn election results or declare them tainted, even though the president had been warned that his claims of election fraud were bogus.
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), the vice chair of the committee, also highlighted the threats of violence that state elections officials faced in Georgia as Trump pressed forward with the claims, even though Justice Department officials found no merit to them.
“Donald Trump did not care about the threats of violence. He did not condemn them. He made no effort to stop them. He went forward with his fake allegations anyway,” she said.
She warned, “Do not be distracted by politics. This is serious. We cannot let America become a nation of conspiracy theories and thug violence.”
The hearings have not drawn blockbuster ratings, but they have made headlines, as the committee releases new information of the lead up to January 6th and its aftermath. That has translated into mainstream and social media coverage in the hours and even days after each proceeding, as the hearings feature heavy use of video and audio clips.
With broadcast and cable networks again carrying the proceedings, the hearing is featuring witnesses Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s secretary of state; Gabriel Sterling, Georgia secretary of state chief operating officer, and Rusty Bowers, Arizona’s house speaker.
Another witness, Wandrea ArShaye Moss, a former Georgia election worker, was scheduled to testify later in the hearing.
The committee is trying to show that the effort to pressure state officials was part of a scheme to undermine the results in advance of the January 6 counting of the electoral vote in Congress. In the last hearing, the committee showed the pressure placed on Vice President Mike Pence to reject the results on that date.
In the spotlight at this hearing is committee member Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), who is questioning the witnesses. He said that Trump’s false claims of fraud was “a dangerous cancer on the body politic.” He said that the pressure campaign on state officials was a “dangerous precursor’ to January 6.
Earlier on Tuesday, British filmmaker Alex Holder said that he is cooperating with the committee’s request for footage of a documentary he was making in the final six weeks of Trump’s reelection campaign. He said that he was granted “unparalleled access and exclusive interviews with President Trump, Ivanka, Eric and Don Jr., Jared Kushner as well as Vice President Pence. He said that the footage includes “the White House, Mar-A-Lago, behind the scenes on the campaign trail, and before and after events of January 6.”
“We have dutifully handed over all the materials the Committee has asked for and we are fully cooperating,” Holder said in a message posted on Twitter. He said that he will appear at a deposition before the committee on Thursday. Holder said that a major streaming company purchased the distribution rights to the project, but he did not identify which one.
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