The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack will hold its fourth public hearing on Tuesday, focusing on an elaborate effort by former President Donald Trump and his allies to force state officials to defy voters and hand him the election. 2020, committee members and aides said. .
Building on previous hearings, the committee said it will show the intricacies of a scheme that sought to manipulate electoral vote totals in a way to deprive Joe Biden of the majority needed to win.
The panel said it will put forward a core element of the plan: having Trump supporters in key battleground states produce official-looking certificates stating they were the legitimate voters, even though Trump had actually lost those states.
The plan fell through when then-Vice President Mike Pence, who was presiding over the electoral vote count on January 6, 2021, refused to recognize the pro-Trump lists and instead certified Biden’s victory. In doing so, Pence incurred the ire of the pro-Trump mob that stormed the Capitol that day and roamed the halls chanting, “Hang Mike Pence.”
Tuesday’s hearing, which begins at 1 pm ET, will also show the human cost of Trump’s multi-pronged effort to remain in power despite his defeat.
Witnesses appearing live before the panel will describe how they were persecuted and harassed for doing their jobs and defending Biden’s legitimate victory in their states. One witness will be Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia secretary of state who stood his ground when Trump implored him in a recorded phone call that he “find” enough votes to overturn Biden’s narrow victory in the state.
Another is Rusty Bowers, the Republican speaker of the House in Arizona, who received a call from Trump and his ally, Rudy Giuliani, after the election to tell him about an Arizona law that would allow the legislature to choose its list of voters. Bowers reportedly told them, “You’re giving me nothing but guesswork and asking me to break my oath and commit to doing something that I can’t do because I swore I wouldn’t.”
A committee aide, who spoke to reporters Monday on condition of anonymity, said the “lies” about the election “led to threats that put state and local officials and their families at risk.”
It is no accident that both Bowers and Raffensperger are Republicans who supported Trump’s re-election. In making its case, the committee has made extensive use of Republican witnesses and Trump White House officials, stressing that even Trump allies backed down in the face of what they saw as an attempt to thwart the popular will.
Leading the hearing will be Rep. Adam Schiff, D., California, who was also the top manager in Trump’s first impeachment trial. In a weekend interview with CNNSchiff said the panel will show evidence of Trump’s role in what is known as the “false voter” gambit.
The committee aide said, “We will show that the president was warned that these actions, including making false claims of voter fraud and pressuring state and local officials, posed a risk of violence. They risked undermining confidence in our democratic institutions. But they continued to embrace those lies and continued to push this pressure campaign.”
Another hearing is scheduled for Thursday and will focus on how Trump implored the Justice Department to stamp out widespread voter fraud that didn’t exist.
Trump has complained that the committee does not present witnesses who have defended his actions. “I have so many witnesses to all that is good,” he wrote on his social networking site, Truth Social, “but the highly partisan and one-sided Unselect Committee of political hackers has not [sic] interest in hearing or seeing them.
Asked if the panel would want Trump to testify and offer his side of the story, the committee aide said, “The committee has said for a long time that anyone with relevant information can come talk to us.”