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Jan. 6 hearing highlights: Election workers testify about state pressure campaign

The top Republican in the Arizona House and a mother-daughter pair of election workers in Georgia gave emotional testimony about the personal toll of the election lies.

The Jan. 6 committee returned for its fourth hearing — this one focused on the pressure the White House applied to state officials to overturn the 2020 election.

The committee detailed the multitude of ways then-President Donald Trump and his allies tried to strong-arm officials in key states — Arizona and Georgia in particular — into flipping the results.

  • Arizona's state House speaker Rusty Bowers, a Republican, testified about the ways Trump, his attorneys and other allies pushed him to violate his oath of office and throw the decisive state to Trump. "I will not do that," he said he told them, citing his faith.
  • "'We’ve got lots of theories but we just don’t have the evidence,'" Bowers recalled Trump attorney and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani telling him during a December 2020 meeting.
  • The witnesses all detailed the personal toll of the lies pushed by Trump and his allies, which included death threats and harassment aimed at them and their families. Ruby Freeman, a Georgia election worker who was aggressively targeted by conspiracy theorists in the weeks after the 2020 election, said in emotional recorded testimony that "there is nowhere I feel safe." Her daughter Shaye Moss, a veteran elections worker who processed ballots alongside Freeman in Fulton County, testified about receiving racist threats.
  • Catch up on Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3 of the hearings.
536d ago / 8:57 PM UTC

Trump team orchestrated 'fake electors' to try to overturn election, committee says

Former President Donald Trump’s team orchestrated a plot to overturn the 2020 election by organizing slates of alternate “fake electors” in seven pivotal states, according to testimony and documents presented Tuesday by the House Jan. 6 committee.

During its fourth public hearing, the committee revealed that the fake electors submitted false certifications of Trump victories to the National Archives in hopes of having then-Vice President Mike Pence substitute them for the actual electoral votes that made Joe Biden president.

Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel said in pre-recorded testimony that Trump called her so that one of his lawyers, John Eastman, could outline how the party organization could play its part in trying to certify Trump slates from states that voted for Biden.

The effort to organize counterfeit electors was one part of a broader campaign by the just-defeated president to cling to power.

Read more here.

536d ago / 8:53 PM UTC

Mother-daughter election workers targeted by Trump say there’s ‘nowhere’ they feel safe

In harrowing, emotional and painful detail, a mother-daughter duo of Georgia election workers described during Tuesday’s Jan. 6 committee hearing how a mob of Donald Trump supporters came after them, online and in person, after having gobbled up a debunked conspiracy theory about their actions on Election Day 2020.

As a result, their lives will never be the same, the two women, Ruby Freeman and her daughter, Wandrea “Shaye” Moss, said during Tuesday’s hearing.

“There is nowhere I feel safe. Nowhere,” Freeman, who along with her daughter was aggressively targeted by conspiracy theorists in the weeks after the 2020 election, said during taped testimony. Parts of her never-before-seen interview were played toward the end of Tuesday’s hearing, as she sat behind her daughter in the committee room.

Read more about their testimonies here.

536d ago / 8:50 PM UTC

Cipollone response to Cheney's calls for testimony

A person close to former Trump White House counsel Pat Cipollone told NBC News on Tuesday: “Pat has been cooperative with the committee with President Trump’s permission, but there are serious institutional concerns and privilege issues and those have been recognized by the committee.”

The comment comes in response to Cheney saying at the end of Tuesday's hearing that that committee was working to secure Cipollone’s testimony. 

“Our evidence shows that Mr. Cipollone and his office tried to do what was right,” she said, adding, "We think the American people deserve to hear from Mr. Cipollone personally."

536d ago / 8:27 PM UTC

Moss receives warm welcome inside committee room

Shaye Moss took her seat at the witness table around 3:05 pm. People in the room laughed when Thompson asked if Moss wanted to introduce her mom. “Hi, mom,” Thompson said. 

Moss was visibly upset as she spoke about how threats have affected her life. “All 'cause of lies,” she said. Moss was wiping tears away as she spoke.

Image: Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., center, hugs former Georgia Election worker Shaye Moss, as Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va. looks on after the hearing on  June, 21 2022.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., center, hugs former Georgia Election worker Shaye Moss, as Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va. looks on at the hearing on June, 21 2022. Will Oliver / EPA

Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn, who defended the Capitol on Jan. 6, shook his head and looked upset as Moss spoke about the threats she’s received. 

Moss and her mother, Ruby Freeman, both continued to wipe away tears even after Moss finished testifying.

Right after the hearing ended, the committee members lined up to greet Moss and Freeman. Thompson and Cheney also spoke briefly with Dunn and other officers who were present at the hearing.

536d ago / 8:03 PM UTC

Cheney calls on former Trump White House counsel Pat Cipollone to testify

In her closing statement, Cheney called on former White House counsel Pat Cipollone to testify in front of the committee.

"Our committee is certain that Donald Trump does not want Mr. Cipollone to testify here. Indeed, our evidence shows that Mr. Cipollone and his office tried to do what was right," Cheney said, adding that the counsel's office tried to stop Trump's plans for Jan. 6.

Cheney said she thinks the American people "deserve to hear" from Cipollone directly, in addition to testimony from others about his actions. "We are working to secure his testimony."

536d ago / 8:00 PM UTC

Trump impeachment witness offers support to election workers targeted by Trump

Alexander Vindman, a key witness in former President Donald Trump's first impeachment trial, offered words of support on Twitter to the two election workers who were targeted by the former president.

Vindman — who was frequently targeted by Trump for his testimony around the then-president's phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy — was removed from his job in the White House in early 2020 after Trump was acquitted.

536d ago / 7:52 PM UTC

Spokesperson for Sen. Ron Johnson says he had no involvement in sending fake Wisconsin electors

A spokesperson denied that Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., was involved in a plot to submit a bogus pro-Trump slate of electors for Michigan and Wisconsin. The committee presented text messages between Sean Riley, a top aide to Johnson, and Chris Hodgson, then the director of legislative affairs for Pence.

"The senator had no involvement in the creation of an alternate slate of electors and had no foreknowledge that it was going to be delivered to our office," his spokesperson tweeted. "This was a staff to staff exchange. His new Chief of staff contacted the Vice President's office."

In the text messages, Riley said that Johnson needed to meet with Pence to give him an "alternate slate of electors for MI and WI because archivist didn't receive them," referring to the National Archives, which collects the Electoral College results before sending them to Congress.

The spokesperson continued: "The Vice President’s office said not to give it to him and we did not. There was no further action taken. End of story."

536d ago / 7:52 PM UTC

Thompson previews next Jan. 6 hearing focused on the Justice Department

In his closing statement, Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said the committee's Thursday hearing will focus on Trump’s “attempt to corrupt the country’s top law enforcement body — the Justice Department — to support his attempt to overturn the election.”

Ranking member Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said that the committee will present more testimony soon from former DOJ officials including William Barr, Jeffrey Rosen and Richard Donoghue, among others.

536d ago / 7:50 PM UTC

Ruby Freeman says FBI directed her to leave home ahead of Jan. 6

Ruby Freeman, the mother of former Georgia elections worker Shaye Moss who also worked the 2020 election processing ballots in Fulton County, said that she wasn't able to live at her home for two months after FBI officials warned her it would be unsafe in the days ahead of Jan. 6, 2021.

Freeman said in video testimony to the committee, played during the hearing, that the FBI told her around the week of Jan. 6 to leave her home "for safety" and that she shouldn't return until at least the inauguration of Joe Biden on Jan. 20, 2021.

"I stayed away from my home for approximately two months. It was horrible. I felt homeless," Freeman told committee investigators in the video testimony. "I felt, you know, I can't believe this person has caused this much damage to me and my family to have to leave my home. That I've lived there for 21 years and you know, I'm having to have my neighbors watch out for me. You know, and I have to go and stay with somebody. It was hard. It was horrible."

Freeman said threats she received ahead of Jan. 6 regarding claims of a stolen election prompted the FBI to ask her to leave her house. She said they didn't want her to be at home "just in case something happened."

536d ago / 7:45 PM UTC

The committee has wrapped up. The next hearing is Thursday.

Committee chair Bennie Thompson gaveled out the hearing, after about two and a half hours of testimony.

The committee will hold its next hearing on Thursday at 3 p.m. EST.

536d ago / 7:45 PM UTC

A passed mint inspired racist abuse, veteran Georgia election worker testifies

Moss testified on Tuesday that she and her mother, Ruby Freeman, were targeted and harassed relentlessly after Giuliani seized on video footage of the pair working during the 2020 election to push lies.

Giuliani falsely claimed that Moss and her mother were passing USB drives “like vials of heroin or cocaine" during ballot counting operations in Fulton County, Georgia.

Moss said her superiors alerted her to the video and urged her to check her Facebook and to check up on her mother, for fear they were being targeted by the then-president's supporters. When she opened up the Facebook Messenger app, she said, she was met with an onslaught of threats.

"It was just a lot of horrible things there," she said. "A lot of threats, wishing death upon me, telling me that I'll be in jail with my mother and saying things like 'be glad it's 2020 and not 1920.'"

Pressed on the nature of the threats, Moss said “a lot of them were racist, a lot of them were just hateful.”

Asked what her mother was actually handing her on the video, Moss said it was a “gingermint.”

536d ago / 7:35 PM UTC

Election worker Ruby Freeman: 'There is nowhere I feel safe'

Ruby Freeman, an election worker who was aggressively targeted by conspiracy theorists in the weeks after the 2020 election, explained in emotional detail during her interview with the committee how the harassment she faced by pro-Trump supporters irreversibly changed her life.

“I have lost my name and I have lost my reputation,” a visibly shaken Freeman said in a video of the interview played at Tuesday's hearing. “All because a group of people starting with number 45 and his ally Rudy Giuliani decided to scapegoat me and my daughter.”

Following the threats, intimidation and harassment she faced, Freeman said she won’t wear her favorite shirt that has her nickname, “Lady Ruby” on it, she won’t introduce herself by her name anymore and even gets nervous at the grocery store.

“I get nervous when I bump into someone in the grocery store who knows my name,” she said.

“There is nowhere I feel safe. Nowhere,” she said during another segment. “Do you know how it feels to have the President of the United States to target you? The president of the United States is supposed to represent every American. Not to target one.”

536d ago / 7:33 PM UTC

Moss says her grandmother inspired her to become an elections worker

Former Georgia elections worker Wandrea "Shaye" Moss testified Tuesday that she loved being an elections worker — a job she held for 10 years — because her grandmother first instilled in her the importance of voting.

"I've always been told by my grandmother how important it is to vote and how people before me, a lot of people, older people in my family, did not have that right. So what I love most about my job were the older voters," she said at the hearing.

Moss said she loved receiving phone calls from older voters asking for help navigating the voting process and loved sending out absentee ballots to elderly and disabled people. She said she's even driven to a hospital to deliver a voter an absentee ballot application.

But due to the harassment and threats she and her mother, Ruby Freeman, received, she left her job after 2020, Moss said at the end of her testimony.

536d ago / 7:14 PM UTC

Raffensperger details threats he and his family received

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said at the hearing Tuesday that after the November 2020 election, he received threatening texts from all over the country and his wife also received texts that were "sexualized," which he called "disgusting."

Raffensperger said people were targeting his wife to "probably put pressure on me." He said some people also broke into his daughter-in-law's home, adding that she was a widow with two kids.

"We were very concerned about her safety also," he said.

536d ago / 7:12 PM UTC

Raffensperger says 'there were no votes to find' after hearing audio of Trump asking him to find '11,780 votes'

During Raffensperger’s testimony, Schiff played clips from the infamous call during which Trump told the the Georgia secretary of state that, “I just want to find 11,780 votes” — the amount he’d need to win Georgia.

Raffensperger, reiterating what he’s said many times before, testified that the request was impossible, because all the votes had been counted. There was no conspiracy and Trump simply lost, he said.

“We didn’t have any votes to find,” Raffensperger said Tuesday. “There were no votes to find. That was an accurate count that had been certified.”

536d ago / 7:09 PM UTC

Who are Shaye Moss and Ruby Freeman?

Thompson introduced Wandrea “Shaye” Moss as the next and final witness. Moss is an election worker at the Fulton County Department of Registration & Elections. Moss, and her mother, Ruby Freeman, were targeted by conspiracy theorists in the weeks after the election.

Thompson called Moss, Freeman and other election workers the "unsung heroes in this country."

Users on websites like 4chan and Twitter zoomed in on CCTV footage, falsely claiming Freeman and Moss were moving a “suitcase” of illegal ballots. In reality, the “suitcase” was a regular box of ballots. Freeman and Moss were identified by conspiracy theorists and far-right influencers, like 8chan’s Ron Watkins and the blog Gateway Pundit, who falsely claimed the video served as evidence of a rigged election.

The conspiracy theories were later pushed by Trump in the days before Jan. 6, including in a call with Raffensberger.

On Jan. 4, 2021, Freeman was visited by Trevian Kutti, a former publicist for Kanye West, who attempted to make Freeman admit to election crimes she did not commit. Heeding advice from law enforcement, Freeman fled her home prior to Jan. 6, 2021. On the same day rioters stormed the Capitol in Washington, protesters surrounded Freeman’s home, which she had fled days earlier.

Freeman has since filed lawsuits against Gateway Pundit, One America News Network and Rudy Giuliani for their false reporting.

536d ago / 7:09 PM UTC

Trump mentioned Jan. 6 when pressuring Georgia election official

President Trump mentioned Jan. 6 in a call urging Georgia’s chief elections investigator, in which he urged her to find “dishonesty” that could help overturn the state’s election results.

“When the right answer comes out, you’ll be praised,” Trump told investigator Frances Watson during the December call, urging her to do “whatever you can do.”

“Do you think they’ll be working after Christmas, to keep it going fast? Because you know we have the date of the 6th, which is a very important date,” Trump said during the call.

536d ago / 7:04 PM UTC

Listen to the full call: Trump pressures Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to 'find' votes

Schiff questioned Raffensperger, who recently won re-election, about this phone call with the then-president at length Tuesday.

536d ago / 6:57 PM UTC

Sterling: No amount of debunking could convince many Trump supporters

Despite robust efforts by Sterling’s office to debunk the lies about the 2020 election in Georgia being perpetuated by Trump allies, Sterling explained his team was utterly unable to get through to many Trump supporters.

The reason? People weren’t swayed by the truth. Their beliefs surrounding the 2020 election became a matter of the heart, he explained. 

“The problem you have is you’re getting into people’s hearts. Once you get past the heart, the facts don’t matter as much,” Sterling said, explaining how no amount of fact-checking could possibly persuade many Trump voters, who ate up the former president’s conspiracy theories, of the truth.

536d ago / 6:54 PM UTC

Georgia elections official says threats aimed at Dominion contractor led to his sharp warning of violence

Georgia elections official Gabriel Sterling detailed during the hearing what prompted him to hold a news conference in December 2020 in which he said Trump likely "lost" his state and warned that Trump's false claims of election fraud would get someone shot or killed.

Earlier that day, Sterling said Tuesday, he received a phone call from a project manager from Dominion Voting Systems — a major producer of the country's voting machines and software — and she was "audibly shaken." Sterling said she was a graduate of the Naval Academy and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was "pretty unflappable."

"She informed me about a young contractor they had who had been receiving threats from a video that had been posted by some QAnon supporters," Sterling said.

He eventually pulled up Twitter and saw a threat aimed at the contractor.

It said, "'You committed treason. May God have mercy on your soul,' with a slowly twisting gif of a noose," Sterling said, describing the threat targeting that contractor.

"For lack of a better word, I lost it. I just got irate," said Sterling, who added that he turned red from being so angry. "That’s what prompted me to do what I did. I lost my temper, but it seemed necessary at the time because it was just getting worse."

536d ago / 6:52 PM UTC

Barr and Donoghue say they told Trump there was 'no merit' in Georgia conspiracy theory

The Jan. 6 committee aired footage of then-Attorney General William Barr and acting deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue denying any "merit" to Trump's continued allegations of election fraud in Georgia.

In a video from a Dec. 5, rally, Trump says that there were "hidden cases of possible ballots rolled out from under a table," specifically in Fulton County, Georgia. Along with senior DOJ officials, Donoghue explicitly told Trump this was a false accusation.

"And I said, 'No sir, there is no suitcase. You can watch that video over and over; there is no suitcase. There is a wheeled bin where they carry the ballots, and that’s just how they move ballots around that facility. There’s nothing suspicious about that at all," Donoghue said in video testimony.

536d ago / 6:45 PM UTC

Raffensperger says Georgia's election went smoothly, Trump just lost

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger was questioned about the administration and results of the November 2020 election in Georgia on Tuesday and testified that the state's election was administered smoothly and its results accurate.

Georgia’s election was tabulated by machine, audited and hand-recounted, and tabulated by machine again.

“Three counts, all remarkably close, which showed that President Trump did come up short,” Raffensperger testified.

536d ago / 6:27 PM UTC

Bowers recounts threats he and family faced while daughter was terminally ill

As Bowers neared the end of his testimony, he emotionally explained how the threats he and his family faced from pro-Trump protesters occurred as his daughter was “gravely ill” at home.

Bowers, who grew emotional during his testimony, recalled one man in particular with a gun, and another instance when a truck came by and blared audio claiming that he was a “pedophile.” All of that occurred while his daughter lay dying inside the home. He recalled her telling him that all the chaos “upset” her.

“It was disturbing,” Bowers said. His daughter passed away just weeks later, on Jan. 28, 2021.

536d ago / 6:24 PM UTC

Top aide to Sen. Ron Johnson tried to send fake electors to Pence

Sean Riley, a top aide to Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., sought to send a slate of fake Wisconsin and Michigan electors to Vice President Mike Pence just after noon on Jan. 6, 2021, according to texts obtained by the committee and displayed during the hearing Tuesday.

Riley, Johnson's chief of staff and a former special assistant to then-President Donald Trump, texted Chris Hodgson, Pence's director of legislative affairs, saying "Johnson needs to hand something to VPOTUS please advise."

Hodgson responded: "What is it?"

Riley messaged back: "Alternative slate of electors for MI and WI because archivist didn't receive them."

Hodgson replied: "Do not give that to him."

536d ago / 6:07 PM UTC

Bowers says Trump and allies asked him to use the state legislature to overturn election

A top Arizona Republican testified on Tuesday that then-President Donald Trump and attorney Rudy Giuliani asked him to organize a legislative hearing on voter fraud allegations and eventually have the legislature appoint an alternate slate of electors — giving Arizona’s electoral college votes to the president, instead of Joe Biden. 

Rusty Bowers, the Republican Arizona House Speaker, said he did not believe there was credible evidence of fraud to merit such a hearing and that he did not believe Arizona legislators had the power to overrule Arizona’s voters, who had cast more ballots for Joe Biden than Trump. 

"You’re asking me to do something against my oath and I will not break my oath," Bowers testified on Tuesday. 

After Bowers refused this avenue, lawyer John Eastman then requested he go along with a scheme of "decertifying" the election in the state, he said.

536d ago / 6:04 PM UTC

Bowers: Eastman told me to 'just do it' when it came to decertifying Ariz. election results

Bowers testified that even as he rebuffed efforts from Trump lawyers like Giuliani, Eastman and Ellis to decertify the results of the election in Arizona, they told him to "just do it." 

Even as Bowers told Eastman that they were asking him to do something that had never been executed without any evidence — in U.S. history — they told him to, “Just do it and let the courts figure it out,” Bowers told the committee.

Bowers said he refused, telling Eastman and his team, “I took an oath” to the Constitution.

536d ago / 6:01 PM UTC

Bowers says GOP Rep. Andy Biggs pressed him to support 'decertifying' Biden's win

Rusty Bowers, the Republican speaker of the Arizona House, testified Tuesday that Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., called him ahead of the Jan. 6 riot and pressed him to support the "decertification" of President Joe Biden's win.

Bowers said he told Biggs, then the chair of the House Freedom Caucus, he would not comply.

Biggs did not comply with a committee subpoena. There is no legal avenue to decertify a certified election.

Bowers shut down a separate decertification effort in Arizona earlier this year.

536d ago / 6:00 PM UTC

New footage shows Jacob Chansley, the so-called QAnon Shaman, at Arizona House protest

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., presented what he described as "previously undisclosed video" of protesters illegally entering and refusing to leave Arizona's House of Representatives' building sometime before Jan. 6.

Schiff showed that Jacob Chansley, better known as the Qanon shaman, was a participant in that protest. Schiff then showed an image of Chansley inside the Senate chamber on Jan. 6 after he and other Trump supporters breached security at the Capitol. Chansley was ultimately sentenced to 41 months in prison after pleading guilty to obstruction of an official proceeding.

Schiff said that other protesters at the demonstration in Arizona included members of the Proud Boys. Rusty Bowers, Arizona's GOP speaker of the House, confirmed that the protesters called for him by name.

536d ago / 5:54 PM UTC

Bowers: Giuliani said he had a lot of theories about 2020 election — but no evidence

Responding to questions from Schiff about his interactions with various Trump allies and attorneys, Bowers testified that Giuliani told him that his team had many theories regarding voter fraud and and other conspiracies about Trump being the rightful winner in Arizona in the 2020 election — but no evidence.

"'We’ve got lots of theories but we just don’t have the evidence,'" Bowers recalled Giuliani telling him during a December 2020 meeting.

But “no one ever provided me such evidence” that would change the election results, Bowers added.

536d ago / 5:52 PM UTC

'Pence screwed us over': FBI arrests new Jan. 6 defendant

As the Jan. 6 hearing unfolded Tuesday, a new case was unsealed against a Capitol riot defendant who allegedly texted his brother that former Vice President Mike Pence had "screwed us over" before he stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Todd Tilley of South Paris, Maine, was arrested on Tuesday, according to court records. A FBI affidavit states that Tilley was near the location by the Speaker's Lobby where Ashli Babbitt was shot and killed. An image shown by the FBI shows that Tilley helped another rioter climb a wall at the Capitol and footage from the inside shows him joining chants of "Stop the steal."

Tilley is facing four misdemeanor charges that have been used against many Jan. 6 defendants: entering and remaining in a restricted building, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a Capitol building, and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building.

536d ago / 5:42 PM UTC

Bowers says Trump's claim that he agreed the election in Arizona was 'rigged' is false

Arizona's state House speaker, Rusty Bowers, was asked by Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., to respond to a statement Trump issued just before the hearing got underway in which the former president claimed Bowers told him in November 2020 that the election was rigged and Trump won Arizona.

"That certainly isn't it," Bowers said, adding that parts of Trump's statement that a staffer read to him ahead of the hearing were true, but parts of it were false.

Schiff then asked Bowers to specifically respond to the part of Trump's statement that he asked about. "Anywhere, anyone, anytime has said that I said the election was rigged, that would not be true," Bowers said.

Asked about Trump's claim that Bowers said the former president won Arizona in 2020, Bowers said, "That is also false."

Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., had previously asked during the hearing if it was fair to say Bowers wanted Trump to win a second term in office.

"Yes, sir," Bowers said.

536d ago / 5:39 PM UTC

Trump campaign had a script for supporters to use to call and pressure elections officials

The committee revealed Tuesday in a video that the Trump campaign had put together a phone call script for supporters to use to pressure state elections officials to take actions to advance a fake slate of electors designed to overturn the 2020 election in their states.

In an audio segment featured as part of a longer video montage, one Trump supporter is heard on a message left for a state official reciting part of the script, saying, “You have the power to reclaim your authority to send a slate of Electors that will support President Trump and Vice President Pence.”

536d ago / 5:33 PM UTC

A month before riot, Georgia election official begged Trump to condemn threats to election workers

The Jan. 6 committee played extended clips of Georgia election official Gabriel Sterling’s repeated pleas to the president and others to speak out against the violent threats election workers faced in 2020.

“It’s all gone too far,” Sterling said at a Dec. 1 press conference, listing out threats election workers in his state faced. “It has to stop. Mr. President, you have not condemned these actions or this language. Senators, you have not condemned this language or these actions. This has to stop, we need you to step up, and if you’re going to take a position of leadership, show some.”

Sterling’s blistering press conference — in which he warned more than a month before the Jan. 6th riot that people would be hurt as a direct result of election misinformation — went unheeded. After the riot, Sterling spoke with NBC News about how watching the riot left him feeling nauseous — he knew it was possible, but still didn't think it would happen.

“You could see the logical train going from point A to point B, and if you didn’t, again, that’s irresponsible,” he told NBC News then.

Sterling is present at today's hearing to testify.

536d ago / 5:29 PM UTC

These are the witnesses testifying at Tuesday's hearing

Three witnesses are set to testify during the first panel, with the fourth scheduled for the second panel. The committee will present testimony from:

Rusty Bowers: He's a Republican and the speaker of Arizona's House of Representatives who got a call from Trump and his ally Rudy Giuliani after the 2020 election telling Bowers of an Arizona law that would allow the legislature to pick its slate of electors.

Brad Raffensperger: He's Georgia's GOP secretary of state, who Trump directed to "find" 11,780 votes that didn't exist during an early Jan. 2021 phone call.

Gabriel Sterling: He's Raffensperger's deputy, his chief operating officer, who warned the president to stop with his allegations of fraud and criticized Trump for not denouncing threats of violence against election workers.

Wandrea "Shaye" Moss: She's a former elections worker in Georgia's Fulton County, who received death threats after being accused by Trump aides of processing fake ballots in favor of Biden on election night.

536d ago / 5:26 PM UTC

Michigan Secretary of State describes feeling scared when election denial protesters showed up at her home

Schiff, as part of the details he shared about election officials’ lives being “turned upside down,” played a video of election-denying protesters outside the home of Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, chanting “stop the steal” and calling Benson a “threat to democracy” and a “tyrant” and a “felon.”

Benson, in a taped interview with the committee, was then heard describing the ordeal.

“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.

536d ago / 5:16 PM UTC

Schiff outlines Trump's fake electors scheme

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who is leading Tuesday's hearing, explained that after Trump’s efforts to stop state legislatures and governors from certifying the results of the election and his dozens of lawsuits all failed, he then “mounted a pressure campaign directed at individual state legislators.”

That campaign, Schiff explained, was designed “to try to get them to go back into session and either declare him the winner, de-certify Joe Biden as the winner or send two slates of electors to Congress — one for Biden and one for him — and pressure Vice President Pence to choose him as the winner.”

But “no legitimate state authority in the states Donald Trump lost would agree to appoint fake Trump electors and send them to Congress,” Schiff said.

So, he continued, Trump and his allies “assembled groups of individuals in key battleground states and got them to call themselves electors, created phony certificates associated with these fake electors and then transmitted these certificates to Washington, and to the Congress, to be counted during the joint session of Congress on January 6th."

536d ago / 5:13 PM UTC

Cheney: Trump had 'direct' role in pressuring state officials, 'deserves' DOJ's attention

Ranking member Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said in her opening statement that Trump had a "direct and personal role" in the effort to pressure state officials to overturn the 2020 election and said it "deserves" the attention of the Justice Department.

"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," she said. "Each of these efforts to overturn the election is independently serious; each deserves attention both by Congress and our Department of Justice. But, as a federal court has already indicated, these efforts were also part of a broader plan. And all of this was done in preparation for Jan. 6."

Cheney said the public should keep in mind that Trump already knew at the time he made calls to officials in Georgia to pressure them to find votes that "his stolen election allegations were nonsense," she said.

The committee played clips from DOJ officials, including former Attorney General William Barr, who told the committee that allegations of fraud in Georgia's Fulton County had "no merit."

Cheney said the committee will also showcase threats of violence against election officials and that Trump "didn't care" about them.

"He did not condemn them, he made no effort to stop them; he went forward with his fake allegations anyway," said Cheney, who concluded her statement by saying, "Do not be distracted by politics. This is serious. We cannot let America become a nation of conspiracy theories and thug violence."

536d ago / 5:09 PM UTC

Thompson highlights New Mexico GOP commission that recently refused to certify election results

Thompson highlighted a recent debacle in New Mexico in which a court had to step in and order a GOP-controlled county commission to certify results of a recent election after the body's three members refused to do so.

"Two of the three members of the commission finally relented. One still refused, saying his vote, 'Isn’t based on any evidence, it’s not based on any facts, it’s only based on my gut feeling and my own intuition, and that’s all I need,'" Thompson said.

The chairman was referring to Commissioner Couy Griffin, founder of Cowboys for Trump, who was found guilty in March of trespassing on restricted grounds during the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Thompson said this commission's refusal to certify the results "reminds" the public that claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election have always been a lie, Trump knew they were a lie "and kept amplifying them anyway."

"Second, the lie hasn’t gone away. It’s corrupting our democratic institutions. People who believe that lie are now seeking positions of public trust," he said. "And as we’ve seen in New Mexico, their oath to the people they serve will take a back seat to their commitment to the Big Lie. If that happens, who will make sure our institutions don’t break under the pressure? We won’t have close calls. We’ll have catastrophe."

536d ago / 5:08 PM UTC

Thompson says Trump amplified threats to election officials as part of pressure campaign

At the start of Tuesday’s hearing, Thompson said Trump "knew about and amplified" threats against election workers who didn't embrace his false claims of widespread fraud, casting the intense harassment and threats local officials faced as a key part of Trump’s pressure campaign to stay in power.

Election workers were relentlessly harassed before and after the 2020 election, so much so that many told NBC News they were not surprised by the Capitol insurrection. About 1 in 3 election officials said in a survey last year that they felt unsafe because of their jobs, as well. Raffensperger spoke with NBC News last year about how his family briefly went into hiding.

A 2020 election official described last Monday how a tweet from the president escalated the threats he faced.

“After the president tweeted at me by name — calling me out the way that he did — the threats became much more specific, much more graphic and included not just me by name, but included members of my family, by name, their ages, our address, pictures of our home, just every bit of detail that you can imagine,” former Philadelphia City Commissioner Al Schmidt testified.

536d ago / 5:04 PM UTC

Today's hearing is underway

Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., has gaveled in today's committee hearing, which, he explained, will focus on Trump's efforts to pressure public servants into finding ways to tilt the 2020 election in their states in his favor.

"Pressuring public servants into betraying their oaths was a fundamental part of the playbook," he said. "And a handful of election officials in several key states stood between Donald Trump and the upending of American democracy."

"So when Donald Trump tried to overturn the election results, he focused on just a few states," Thompson said. "He wanted officials at the local and state level to say the vote was tainted by widespread fraud and throw out the results, even though, as we showed last week, there wasn’t any voter fraud that could have overturned the election results."

536d ago / 3:43 PM UTC

For Jan. 6 rioters who believed Trump, storming the Capitol made sense

The Jan. 6 committee has woven through each of its public hearings the voices of actual rioters from that day, seeking to draw a direct tie between the violence at the Capitol and what was happening behind the scenes at the White House.

But the rioters themselves haven’t been circumspect about what made them travel — in some cases hundreds of miles — to Washington for a rally that day and then march on the Capitol, which hundreds of them entered.

In interviews and court proceedings they’ve been clear: They believed Donald Trump when he told them the election had been stolen, and they believed it was their duty to try to help keep him in office, which in their eyes was essentially an effort to save the democracy.

“We were just American people tired and pissed off of the fact that we felt our election was stolen,” one rioter told NBC News in an interview. “We were just regular, pissed-off Americans.”

Read the full story here.

536d ago / 2:59 PM UTC

Ahead of Raffensperger testimony, Trump defends Georgia phone call as 'perfect'

Hours before Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is expected to testify in front of the Jan. 6 committee, former President Donald Trump defended a January 2021 phone call during which he asked Raffensperger to "find" enough votes to overturn Joe Biden's win.

"A 'PERFECT' PHONE CALL to discuss a Rigged and Stolen Election, and what to do about it, with many people, including lawyers and others, knowingly on the line," Trump wrote in a Tuesday morning post on Truth Social.

In audio from the phone call, Trump pressured Raffensperger to overturn the 2020 election results, calling upon him to "find 11,780 votes."

His use of the term "perfect" echoes his defense to his 2019 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, which led to Trump's first impeachment.

Raffensperger is a key witness in Tuesday's hearing, where he will be joined by other state officials who will discuss Trump's attempts at undermining the 2020 election results.

537d ago / 2:04 PM UTC

Jan. 6 committee subpoenaed documentary filmmaker who had access to Trump


The Jan. 6 committee issued a subpoena last week to documentary filmmaker Alex Holder, a source familiar with the move confirmed Tuesday to NBC News.

Holder had access to Trump before and after Jan. 6. The source said Holder is fully complying with the subpoena and has provided 15 to 20 hours of video. 

The subpoena was first reported by Politico.

The committee requested raw footage from Jan. 6; raw footage from interviews with Trump, Mike Pence, Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump and Jared Kushner since September 2020; and raw footage "pertaining to discussions of election fraud or election integrity surrounding the November 2020 presidential election."

Holder is expected to sit for a deposition behind closed doors on Thursday, but is not currently scheduled to testify publicly.

537d ago / 1:56 PM UTC

‘Impeachment No. 3’: Jan. 6 panel isn’t swaying these swing-state Republicans

Republican voters in Nevada were aware Tuesday that the Jan. 6 committee was building a public case that Donald Trump knew the election wasn’t stolen. 

They saw some of the committee’s new video footage of violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6. 

“Reprehensible,” said one voter. 

“Disgusting,” said a second. 

“It has everybody angry,” said a third.

It wasn’t the noose hanging outside the Capitol that upset them, the chants of “hang Mike Pence” or the testimony of the president’s former attorney general.

Instead, it was “Washington politicians” and “the media establishment,” several voters interviewed said, who they saw as trying to stack the deck against the former president. 

Read the full story here.

537d ago / 12:24 PM UTC

Pence briefly refers to Jan. 6 as 'tragic day' but largely ignores it in pair of speeches


In a pair of speeches in Illinois on Monday, former Vice President Mike Pence largely avoided talking about Jan. 6, only making a brief reference to the riot in his remarks.

Speaking at the University Club of Chicago on Monday afternoon, Pence said, "You know, we’ve all been through a lot in the last several years: a global pandemic, social unrest, a divisive election, a tragic day in our nation’s capital and an administration seemingly every day driving our economy into the abyss of a socialist welfare state."

He made a nearly identical remark speaking in Peoria at the annual Lincoln Day Dinner.

“Now's the time for us to have the courage of our convictions," he said later, adding that the GOP should "cast a positive vision for the future for the American people."

Pence did not touch on the Jan. 6 committee’s work, including the public hearing held last week that focused on Pence and his staffers' efforts to resist Trump's efforts to sabotage the election results.

537d ago / 11:20 AM UTC

Jan. 6 committee will show evidence of Trump’s involvement in fake elector plot, Schiff says

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol will present evidence in a public hearing this week about then-President Donald Trump’s involvement in a failed scheme to push slates of bogus electors to overturn the 2020 election results, Rep. Adam Schiff, a member of the panel, said Sunday.

“We’ll show evidence of the president’s involvement in this scheme,” Schiff, D-Calif., said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “We’ll also again show evidence about what his own lawyers came to think about this scheme. And 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.”

The system held, he said, because numerous state and local election officials, Republicans and Democrats alike, “upheld their oath to the Constitution.”

After the election, certificates purporting to be from Trump electors were sent to the National Archives in Washington, D.C., by Republicans in seven battleground states that Joe Biden won — Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The efforts, which were ultimately unsuccessful, created two sets of electors: an official group selected by the states and the fake ones.

Read the full story here.

537d ago / 10:22 AM UTC

Jan. 6 committee turns focus to Trump’s efforts to pressure states into overturning Biden’s win

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack will hold its fourth public hearing on Tuesday, focusing on an elaborate effort by then-President Donald Trump and his allies to strong-arm state officials into defying voters and handing him the 2020 election, committee members and aides said.

Building on previous hearings, the committee said it will show the intricacies of a scheme that sought to manipulate the electoral vote total in ways intended to deprive Joe Biden of the majority needed to win.

The panel said it will lay out a central element of the plan: getting Trump supporters in key swing states to submit official-looking certificates claiming they were the legitimate electors, even though Trump had actually lost those states.

Read the full story here.