January 6 Committee Details Trump's Efforts To Pressure State Officials
By Bill Galluccio
June 21, 2022
The House select committee investigating the riot at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, held its fourth hearing on Tuesday (June 21). The latest hearing focused on the efforts of former President Donald Trump to pressure election officials in battleground states to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
"The same people who were attempting to pressure Vice President Mike Pence to reject electoral votes illegally were also simultaneously working to reverse the outcome of the 2020 election at the state level," Rep. Liz Cheney said
The committee called Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, Gabe Sterling, the chief operating officer in the office of the Georgia Secretary of State, Fulton County election worker Wandrea ArShaye "Shaye" Moss, and Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers.
Before the witnesses testified, the committee detailed how Trump's campaign provided his supporters with a script to use when they called their local officials to urge them to overturn the results of the election.
"You have the power to reclaim your authority to send a slate of Electors that will support President Trump and Vice President Pence," the script said.
When election officials pushed back against Trump's demands, they received threats of violence from some of Trump's most ardent supporters. The committee aired a clip of Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson testifying about how protesters showed up outside of her home.
"We started to hear the noises outside my home, and that's my stomach sunk, and I thought: It's me," Benson was heard saying. "We don't know what's going to — and the uncertainty of that was the fear. Like are they coming with guns? Are they going to attack my house? I'm here with my kid. You know, it's, I'm trying to put him to bed. And so it was — that was the scariest moment, just not knowing what was going to happen," she said.
Bowers told the committee he pushed back against the requests, detailing a conversation with Rudy Guiliani in which he refused to try to replace Arizona's electors with ones who supported Trump.
"That's totally new to me. I've never heard of any such thing," Bowers said.
"He pressed that point, and I said, look, you are asking me to do something that is counter to my oath when I swore to the Constitution to uphold it. And I also swore to the Constitution and the laws of the state of Arizona," Bowers added.
After a break, the committee continued to provide evidence of how Trump tried to pressure local officials into changing the results of the election and provided additional details about threats from Trump supporters who believed that the results were fraudulent.
Sterling detailed how he lost his temper when he learned that an election contractor working for Dominion Systems received death threats from Qanon supporters.
"I did pull up Twitter. And I scrolled through. I saw the young man's name. There was a particular tweet that, for lack of a better word, it was the 'straw that broke the camel's back.' The young man's name, a very unique name, first-generation American I believe. It said his name, 'You committed treason, may God have mercy on your soul,' with a slowly twisting gif of a noose. And for lack of a better word I lost it. I just got irate, my boss was with me at the time... she could tell that I was angry. I tend to turn red from here up when that happens. And that happened at that time," Sterling explained.
The committee also aired clips of a one-hour conversation that Trump had with Raffensperger, urging him to find enough votes to declare him the winner of the election.
"So look. 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 the state," Trump told Raffensperger. “You should want to have an accurate election. And you’re a Republican."
Raffensperger told the committee that his office investigated every allegation of voter fraud and found no evidence to back up the claims.
"Numbers don't lie. We had many allegations and we investigated every single one of them. I challenged my team did we miss anything? [Trump and his associates] said there was over 66,000 underaged voters. We found there was zero," he said.
To show how Trump's pressure campaign impacted election workers as well a public officials, the committee called Wandrea ArShaye Moss to testify. She described how Trump accusing her and her mother of engaging in fraud upended their lives.
"I no longer give out my business card. I don't transfer calls. I don't want anyone knowing my name. I don't want to go anywhere with my mom because she might yell my name out in the grocery aisle or something. I don't go to the grocery store at all; I haven't been anywhere at all," Moss said.
"I've gained about 60 pounds. I just don't do nothing anymore. I don't want to go anywhere. I second-guess everything that I do. It's affected my life in a major way, in every way — all because of lies. For me doing my job, same thing I've been doing forever," she continued.
The committee also aired testimony from Moss's mother, who described how being linked to false claims of election fraud threatened her safety.
"Now, I won't even introduce myself by my name anymore. I get nervous when I bump into someone, I know in the grocery store who says my name. I'm worried about who is listening. I get nervous when I have to give my name for food orders. I'm always concerned of who is around me. 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 with number 45 and his ally, Rudy Giuliani, decided to scapegoat me and my daughter, Shaye. To push their own lies about how the presidential election was stolen."
The committee's next hearing is scheduled for Thursday at 3 p.m. ET. It will focus on how Trump tried used the Justice Department to back his claims that the election was stolen.