Trump had a direct role in plan to install fake electors. Key takeaways from the 4th Jan. 6 hearing

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  • In its fourth public hearing, the House committee probing the January 6 Capitol riots took on former President Donald Trump’s push to reverse the 2020 election results.
  • The emotional hearing focused on how Trump and his lawyers Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman pressured state officials to challenge President Joe Biden’s victories in key states.
  • State election officials described “disturbing” threats, harassment and other forms of retaliation after Trump scolded his supporters in speeches and on social media.

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The House Select Committee probing the January 6 Capitol riots focused its fourth public hearing on how former President Donald Trump and his allies attacked officials in the crucial swing states of Georgia and Arizona to support President Joe Biden in the 2020 election. Pressurized to challenge victory.

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Tuesday’s hearing revealed new information about how Trump, his team and a handful of Republican lawmakers worked behind the scenes to remove and replace voters with a slate of pro-Trump people elected by his team and the Republican National Committee. The panel also heard emotional testimony from state election officials, who recalled at length the violent threats and intimidation many of them faced in the wake of the 2020 election.

Here are the main takeaways:

Trump had a ‘direct and personal role’

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Witnesses testified under oath of Trump’s direct involvement in efforts to reverse elections in key states, either by nullifying Biden’s victory or by sending an alternate slate of fake pro-Trump voters to cast ballots at the Electoral College.

“Trump had a direct and personal role in this effort,” said committee vice chairman Liz Cheney, R-Vyo.

Arizona Republican House Speaker Rusty Bowers said he refused to hand over Trump and Rudy Giuliani when he asked them to hold an official committee hearing at the Arizona Capitol to back up their claims of electoral fraud. Bowers said he wants the hearing to justify the arguments for removing and replacing voters.

“I didn’t think the evidence given in its absence deserved a trial, and I didn’t want to be used as a pawn,” Bowers said.

He remembered them saying: “You are asking me to do something against my oath, and I will not break my oath.”

Bowers also said Trump’s attorney John Eastman asked him to vote for de-certified Arizona voters in a separate call.

“Just do it and let the courts settle it,” Bowers recalled telling Eastman.

Bowers said he replied: “You’re asking me to do something that’s never been done in history—the history of the United States—and I’m going to put my state through it without enough evidence? And it’s going to be good enough with me?”

RNC Partnership

The committee also said that the RNC was involved in helping the Trump campaign organize a fake slate of voters at Trump’s “direct request.”

RNC President Ronna McDaniel told congressional investigators that Trump, during a phone conversation, “turned the call over to Mr. Eastman, who then went on to talk about the importance of the RNC, these casualties in the campaign.” Helped gather electors if any ongoing legal challenges would alter any state results,” according to a replay of part of her taped statement.

McDaniel said the role of the RNC was “more than just helping them reach out and assemble them, but my understanding is that the campaign took the lead and we were helping them in that role.”

GOP lawmakers help Trump

The committee disclosed new information that put two Republican members of Congress, Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, and Representative Andy Biggs of Arizona.

On January 6, 2021, a Johnson employee texted an aide to Pence, saying that Johnson wanted to give the then vice president an “alternative” slate of Michigan and Wisconsin voters. The texts came minutes before Pence was set to preside over a joint session of Congress to confirm Biden’s election victory.

Pence’s aide replied: “Don’t give it to him.”

A spokesman for Johnson tweeted Tuesday afternoon: “The Vice President’s office told them not to give it and we didn’t. No further action taken. End of story.”

Bowers also testified before the committee that Biggs called him on the morning of January 6, asking whether he would “support voter decertification.”

“And I said I wouldn’t,” Bowers testified.

Witnesses describe threats as ‘disturbing’

Several state election officials described “disturbing” threats, harassment and other forms of retaliation after being targeted in lies about the election being campaigned by Trump and his allies.

“Recently, it’s been a pattern in our lives to worry about what will happen on Saturday,” Bowers testified.

He said groups of Trump supporters would drive by his home with loudspeakers driving trucks carrying video panels and accuse him of being a pedophile, pervert and corrupt politician. Bowers said he would start an argument with neighbors, recalling an instance where a demonstrator waved a gun.

Emotionally emotional, Bowers said harassment outside their home also “disturbed” their daughter, who was seriously ill at the time and died in late January.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Riffensperger said he began receiving messages from across the country after the election as Trump supporters publicly shared their private cell phone numbers, a harassment tactic known as doxing. Then, he said, his wife became a target and “began receiving sexual assaults, which were disgusting.

“And then some people broke into my daughter-in-law’s house and my son passed away and she is a widow and has two children. And so we are also very concerned about her safety,” he said.

A former Georgia election activist, Wandrea Arshe “Shay” Moss, wept as her life was “turned upside down” after Giuliani falsely accused her and her mother of election tampering.

“I haven’t been anywhere. I’ve gained about 60 pounds. I just don’t do anything anymore,” she said. “It has affected my life in a big way. In every way. All because of the lies. By doing my job, the same thing I’ve always been doing.”

The committee played clips of the testimony of Moss’s mother, Ruby Freeman, who said she had also been slammed with false election-fraud claims.

“I’ve lost my name, and I’ve lost my reputation. I’ve lost my sense of security. All because a group of people, starting at number 45, and her colleague, Rudy Giuliani, sacrificed me and daughter Decided to make a goat of, perhaps, to advance my own lies about how the presidential election was stolen,” Freeman said.

Committee work continues

The select committee has clarified that the seven public hearings it has planned for June represent the initial findings of a nearly year-long investigation into the Capitol riots.

The panel said last week that it wanted to hear from more witnesses, including Ginny Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

At the end of Tuesday’s hearing, Cheney called on former White House counsel Pat Cipollone to speak with investigators.

It is certain that “Trump does not want Mr Cipollone to testify here,” Cheney said, as evidence suggests he and his office “tried to do what was right.”

“We think the American people deserve to hear from Mr Cipollone personally,” she said, adding that the panel is “working to secure his testimony.”

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