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Jan. 6 committee focuses on Trump's election lies in Day 2 of hearings

Members of Trump's inner circle testified that they told him he lost, while Barr and another top DOJ official testified that they personally informed Trump his fraud claims were baseless, according to clips played by the panel.

Monday marked the second day of public hearings for the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Close aides, advisers and family members, including daughter Ivanka Trump, testified that they told then-President Donald Trump in the days and weeks after Nov. 3, 2020, that he had lost the White House to Joe Biden and that his increasingly outlandish fraud claims were meritless, according to recordings played by the panel.

Trump continued to push the stolen election lie anyway.

Highlights from the hearing:

  • A key witness, no longer in person: Bill Stepien, former Trump campaign manager, did not testify live as planned — his wife went into labor. In recorded clips, Stepien said that he and other campaign officials attempted to prepare Trump for an uncertain outcome on election night and urged him not to declare victory. Trump ignored that advice, favoring former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani's approach, he said.

Trump heard dissenting voices on Giuliani: The committee played video of adviser Jason Miller testifying that Giuliani was "intoxicated" on election night. Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner testified he told Trump not to listen to Giuliani. (Giuliani denied that he was intoxicated through his attorney.)

  • Costello added that in Giuliani’s nearly eight hour interview with the committee, no one asked him any questions about this.
  • “Team normal” vs. “completely nuts”: After it became clear Trump has no shot at victory, Stepien said, “Team Normal” — those telling Trump the truth — was pushed aside for Giuliani and others. Eric Herschmann, a White House attorney under Trump, testified that the election conspiracies spread at this point were “completely nuts.” Attorney General William Barr and another top Justice Department official testified about their efforts to personally debunk the claims to Trump himself.
  • The rioters explain how they were inspired by the bogus fraud claims: The committee concluded the hearing with video of Trump supporters at the Capitol, describing why they were there.
  • Catch up quickly on the first hearing here.
468d ago / 5:41 PM UTC

Thompson dodges question about whether DOJ should indict Trump

While speaking to reporters after the hearing, committee Chair Bennie Thompson was asked if Trump committed a crime and whether the Department of Justice should indict him.

"I prefer that we complete our work and share that work with the Department of Justice and they can make that call after that," Thompson said.

Thompson added that the DOJ handles prosecutions, saying that's not in the legislators' purview.

468d ago / 5:36 PM UTC

Trump pushed election lies to generate $250 million in fundraising, committee shows

The Trump campaign used the claims of election fraud to fundraise for a new Trump super PAC and other Trump-related entities all while promising supporters the money was going to go a "election defense fund" that didn't exist, the committee said Monday.

The committee played a video of Amanda Wick, a senior investigative counsel for the panel, explaining how between Election Day and Jan. 6, 2021, the Trump campaign sent "millions of fundraising emails" to supporters claiming that the "left-wing mob" was undermining the election and urging them to "fight back."

"The Trump campaign knew these claims of voter fraud were false yet they continued to barrage small dollar donors with emails encouraging them to donate to something called the official Election Defense Fund. The Select Committee discovered no such fund existed."

The video contained part of an interview the committee conducted with Gary Coby, the Trump campaign's digital director, who said that the defense fund was a "marketing tactic." Trump used this effort to generate $250 million.

Large chunks of the money wound up being allocated to different organizations, including the Save America PAC that Trump created right after the election and the Trump hotel collection, Wick said.

Wick said the Trump campaign sent out fundraising emails even on Jan. 6, during Trump's speech at the White House ellipse, before the riot at the Capitol unfolded.

468d ago / 5:32 PM UTC

Republicans tweet about gas prices, U.S.-Mexico border during hearing

A handful of GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill reacted to the Jan. 6 hearing Monday, with most tweeting about other issues throughout.

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, tweeted a link to an article on a conservative site in which Jordan claims the committee altered a text message exchange between him and Mark Meadows when he was White House chief of staff.

Jordan and other Republicans tweeted during the hearing about high gas prices. Other tweeted about a crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., tweeted, "For the 3rd time in a week, I’m calling for a vote for stronger security for Supreme Court Justices—ALL of them. This isn’t partisan. The threat is real. Why is Speaker Pelosi blocking something that the Senate has already passed unanimously?"

468d ago / 5:18 PM UTC

Jan. 6 rioters explain how they were inspired by Trump's bogus fraud claims

The House Jan. 6 committee ended its second hearing on Monday by playing video clips of Jan. 6 participants explaining how Trump's voter fraud lies fueled their actions.

The first individual featured in the video was not named in the presentation, but he's Zachary Johnson, a Proud Boy from Florida who was known to online sleuths as #GogglesMan. Johnson, a 33-year-old from St. Petersburg, Florida, was arrested in January 2022. A federal grand jury indictment alleged that Johnson possessed both a sledge hammer and pepper spray, which he used to aid and abet an attack on officers.

"Fake election! They're gonna cheat us out of our vote?" he said on camera. "It ain't f------ happening."

Another man complains about Dominion voting machines, saying he "can't really trust" the software, and a woman said she's "standing up" because she believed her voting machine was hacked.

In police body camera footage, a man confronts an officer and repeats Trump's talking points about the election.

"200,000 people that weren't even registered voted," the man claims.

"I don't want to say that what we're doing is right," says a man who appears to be filming himself inside the Capitol. "But if the election is being stolen, what is it going to take?"

468d ago / 5:16 PM UTC

Cheney sets up next hearings

Cheney, in her closing statement, outlined what the next committee hearings will focus on.

"Today’s hearing was narrowly focused, and we will move on in the coming days to President Trump’s broader planning for January 6th, including his plan to corrupt the Department of Justice, and his detailed planning, with lawyer John Eastman, to pressure the vice president, state Legislatures, state officials and others to overturn the election." 

It was among the first mentions of John Eastman, the lawyer who wrote memos arguing then-Vice President Mike Pence could overturn the 2020 election. Eastman has attempted to shield records from the committee, though days earlier he was ordered by a federal judge to turn over about 170 documents.

468d ago / 4:55 PM UTC

GOP election official: Trump tweet triggered ‘graphic’ threats

Schmidt said that Trump’s tweet about his work as an election official in Philadelphia escalated the threats made against him.

In November 2020, Trump tweeted that Schmidt "refuses to look at a mountain of corruption & dishonesty" in Philadelphia's election.

Before the tweet, Schmidt said he received more generic threats; afterwards, the threats intensified in nature and target.

“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,” Schmidt testified on Monday. “That was what changed with that tweet.”

468d ago / 4:53 PM UTC

Lofgren quotes Trump-appointed judges who knocked down Trump's false election claims

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., echoed Ben Ginsberg's testimony that there were no cases, out of 62, in which Trump's campaign was able to convince a court that there were widespread irregularities in the election.

"Over and over, judges — appointed by Democrats and Republicans alike — directly rebutted this false narrative," Lofgren said. "They called out the Trump campaign’s lack of evidence for its claims. The judges did this even in cases where they could have thrown out the lawsuit without writing a word."

Lofgren quoted a Trump-appointed judge in Pennsylvania who said, "Charges require specific allegations and proof. We have neither here."

"Another Trump-appointed judge warned that if cases like these succeeded, 'Any disappointed loser in a presidential election, able to hire a team of clever lawyers, could flag claimed deviations from election results and cast doubt on election results,'" Lofgren said.

She added, "The rejection of President Trump’s litigation efforts was overwhelming. Twenty-two federal judges appointed by Republican presidents — including 10 appointed by President Trump and at least 24 elected or appointed Republican state judges — dismissed the president’s claims."

468d ago / 4:48 PM UTC

Top GOP election attorney: No credible evidence of fraud, Trump had his day in court

Ben Ginsberg, a prolific GOP election attorney who worked on President George W. Bush's post-election legal effort in 2000, testified that Trump had his opportunity to contest the results of the election in court and showed no "real" evidence of voter fraud.

“They did have their day in court," Ginsberg testified during questioning from Lofgren.

Referencing the more than 60 court cases Trump's campaign filed, Ginsberg said: "In no instance did a court find that the charges of election fraud were real."

468d ago / 4:47 PM UTC

Philly election official: We couldn’t even find eight dead voters

Former Philadelphia City Commissioner Al Schmidt, a Republican election official, said they carefully investigated even the most "absurd" claims of voter fraud in their administration of the 2020 in election, including the claim that more than 8,000 dead people had voted in Philadelphia.

“Not only was there not evidence of 8,000 dead voters voting in Philadelphia, there wasn’t evidence of 8," Schmidt said. "We took seriously every case that was referred to us — no matter how fantastical, no matter how absurd — and took every one seriously."

468d ago / 4:43 PM UTC

Sheer number of Trump aides who rebutted his voter fraud claims striking, Democratic lawmaker says

Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Pa., who is attending Monday’s hearing, said she was struck by the sheer number of officials and advisers, including then-Attorney General William Barr, who told Donald Trump that there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election.  

"What struck me most is the number of people around Donald Trump who told him the truth, who told him all of his claims of fraud and all of the things people were trying to throw out there were not substantiated, no evidence,” Dean told NBC News during a break in the hearing. 

Instead of listening to "Team Normal," Dean said, Trump pushed them out and heeded the advice of Rudy Giuliani and other figures on the right who were pushing the false claims of voter fraud.

There was a "disintegrating group of advisers and the corrupt craziness of Rudy Giuliani’s team," Dean said. "The rest were sort of dismissed or quit because he [Trump] grew increasingly unhappy with that they were saying. They were saying the truth and he didn’t want to hear it.”

Dean served as an impeachment manager in Trump’s second impeachment trial in the Senate and was part of the group of Democratic lawmakers who were trapped in the gallery above the House floor during the Jan. 6 attack.

She has attended both Jan. 6 hearings.

468d ago / 4:33 PM UTC

Barr on Trump's claims of fraud in Philly: 'That was absolute rubbish'

In video testimony aired during the hearing, Barr spoke about Trump's repeated claims about an "outpouring of unexpected votes in inner-city areas" like Philadelphia as recently as Jan. 13, which is when he walked out of a interview with NPR.

"He was asked by the interviewer, you know, 'What’s your evidence of fraud?' And he said, 'More people voted in Philadelphia than there were voters.' And that was absolute rubbish. The turnout in Philadelphia was in line with the state’s turnout, and, in fact, it was not as impressive as many suburban counties. And there was nothing strange about the Philadelphia turnout," Barr told the committee.

Barr said Trump "ran weaker" than the GOP ticket in Pennsylvania in general.

"He ran weaker than two of the state candidates. He ran weaker than the congressional delegate — delegation running for federal Congress," he said, adding, "He generally was, you know, a weak element on the Republican ticket. So that does not suggest that the election was stolen by fraud, to me." 

468d ago / 4:33 PM UTC

Former U.S. Attorney BJay Pak testifies on 'suitcase full of ballots' video

BJay Pak, a former Trump-appointed U.S. attorney from Georgia, testified that he was asked by Attorney General William Barr about a conspiracy theory about a video involving a "suitcase full of ballots" in Atlanta. Pak said Barr asked him about the video in early December 2020 because Barr was expecting to be asked about the video during an upcoming White House trip.

Pak testified that they looked into the video and found there was nothing there.

"We found that the suitcase full of ballots ... was actually an official lockbox where ballots were kept safe," Pak said. Unfortunately, Pak said, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani only played a selectively edited part of the video during a hearing, fueling a social media campaign targeting two election workers who appeared in the video.

Pak said the FBI interviewed the individuals in the video, and found a perfectly innocuous explanation for what happened in the video. The FBI determined that "the allegations made by Mr. Giuliani were false," Pak said.

468d ago / 4:20 PM UTC

We're back

The committee gaveled back in just before 12:20 p.m. ET. A second panel of witnesses were sworn in: BJay Pak, former U.S. attorney in Atlanta; Al Schmidt, a former city commissioner for the City of Philadelphia; and Ben Ginsberg, a leading election law attorney who has represented Republicans in election litigation, including George W. Bush in Bush v. Gore.

Pak was questioned first, regarding ultimately discredited claims pushed by Giuliani about "suitcases full of ballots" being smuggled in.

468d ago / 4:05 PM UTC

The committee takes a brief break

Back in 10 minutes, per committee chair Thompson.

468d ago / 4:03 PM UTC

Barr says Trump became 'detatched from reality,' believed Dominion claims would give him a second term

In testimony to the committee, former Attorney General William Barr said that in a post-election meeting with Trump on Dec. 14, the then-president said he believed "there was now definitive evidence involving fraud through the Dominion machines," according to a report he'd gotten from a group called Allied Security Operations Group.

Barr said Trump told him the report showed "absolute proof the Dominion machines were rigged," a favorite post-election claim of voter fraud Trump spread. "The report means that I’m going to have a second term," Barr said Trump told him before handing him a copy of the report.

"And as he talked more and more about it, I sat there flipping through the report and looking through it," Barr continued. "And to be frank, it looked very amateurish to me. … It didn’t have the credentials of the people involved. ... I didn’t see any real qualifications. And the statements were made very conclusory, like, you know, these machines were designed to, you know, engage in fraud, or something to the effect, but I didn’t see any supporting information for it."

Barr added he "was somewhat demoralized, because I thought, boy, if he really believes this stuff, he has, you know, lost contact with — he’s become detached from reality if he really believes this stuff."

Barr said he would tell Trump "how crazy some of these allegations were" but "there was never an indication of interest in what the actual facts were."

In the nearly two years since the 2020 election, Barr said he has seen no evidence of the 2020 election being stolen.

468d ago / 4:03 PM UTC

Top DOJ official: Trump was told there was no evidence to support each of his false election claims

In audio of testimony played Monday, former Deputy Attorney General Rich Donoghue describes telling Trump numerous times that a number of allegations the then-president spread about fraud in key states were false and lacked any evidence.

"I said something to the effect of, 'Sir, we’ve done dozens of investigations, hundreds of interviews. The major allegations are not supported by the evidence developed. ... We’ve looked in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Nevada. ... We are doing our job. Much of the info you’re getting is false,'" Donoghue told the committee.

He said that when he gave Trump a direct answer about one of the allegations, he'd move onto the next one. Donoghue said he told Trump that a claim about a truck driver driving ballots from New York to Pennsylvania was "not supported by the evidence." He said he also shot down a claim about a "suitcase" of fraudulent ballots in Georgia.

"The president kept fixating on this suitcase that supposedly had fraudulent ballots and that the suitcase was rolled out from under the table. 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.' I told him that there was 'no multiple scanning of the ballots.'"

Donoghue said Trump then went on about "double voting" and then said Trump claimed "dead people" are voting and that "Indians are getting paid to vote. He meant people on Native American reservations. He said, 'There’s lots of fraud going on here.'"

Donoghue said he told Trump neither allegation checked out.

468d ago / 3:54 PM UTC

Trump empowered Giuliani after top campaign aides accepted the election was lost, Stepien testified

Former Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien testified that about two weeks after his 2020 loss, Trump pushed aside Justin Clark, his top campaign lawyer, and empowered Rudy Giuliani and his allies, who were much more willing to spread false claims of voter fraud.

This happened when Stepien and others believed Trump's chances of victory in the election dropped to zero percent.

Eric Herschmann, a White House attorney under Trump, testified that the theories spread at this point were "nuts."

468d ago / 3:52 PM UTC

Former AG Barr: Dominion claims 'complete nonsense'

Former Attorney General William Barr told the Jan. 6 Committee he felt the claims spread by former President Donald Trump and his allies about Dominion voting machines being manipulated by foreign governments and other nefarious actors to be "complete nonsense."

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., focused on the line in her remarks Monday, arguing that Trump knew what he was spreading was false.

"Pay attention to what Donald Trump and his legal team said repeatedly about Dominion voting machines — far flung conspiracies with a deceased Venezuelan Communist allegedly pulling the strings," she said. "This was 'complete nonsense,' as Bill Barr said."

Cheney added that "Trump’s own campaign advisors, his Department of Justice, and his cybersecurity experts all told him the same thing."

She highlighted testimony from White House attorney Eric Herschmann, who said: "I thought the Dominion stuff was ... I never saw any evidence whatsoever to sustain those allegations."

Cheney said that opinion was "shared by many of the Trump team who we interviewed."

468d ago / 3:46 PM UTC

Kushner said 'we're working on' getting Trump to stop pushing fraud claims, Barr testified

Barr, in his recorded testimony, told the committee that on Nov. 23, 2020, he went to the White House to meet with Trump in the Oval Office, a meeting also attended by chief of staff Mark Meadows and then-White House counsel Pat Cipollone. Barr testified that Trump “went on [like] this for quite a while, as he was prone to do” about fraud in the election.

Barr said he told Trump, “The Department doesn’t take sides in elections, and the Department is not an extension of your legal team. And our role is to investigate fraud, and we’ll look at something if it’s specific, credible, and could’ve affected the outcome of the election. And we’re doing that, and it’s just not — they’re just not meritorious. They’re not panning out.”

After the meeting, Barr said he saw Jared Kushner outside the Oval Office with Dan Scavino. He said Meadows caught up with him and said, "'Look, I think that he’s becoming more realistic and knows that there’s a limit to how far he can take this.’ And then Jared said, 'You know, yeah, we’re working on this, we’re working on it.'"

Trump went on Fox Business's "Sunday Morning Futures" on Nov. 29 and made unsupported claims of fraud, something Barr said he took note of.

468d ago / 3:42 PM UTC

Stepien warned Trump that early returns would show him leading on election night, but that would change

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., played clips of an interview the committee conducted with Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, in which he said he prepared the president for a "red mirage" on election night — "that is that it would be a long night and that early votes would favor him," Lofgren said.

Former Fox News editor Chris Stirewalt, who is testifying in-person Monday, explained that the red mirage has been a pattern over the last 40 to 50 years of Republican candidates showing an early lead in the returns because ballots cast on Election Day are often counted first. He explained that that gives a misleading impression because mail-in ballots, which typically favor Democrats, get counted later.

Stepien told the committee in video testimony that he told Trump in 2020, just like he did in 2016, that the "early returns are going to be positive" and that they needed to "wait and see how this turned out."

The committee then aired a clip of Trump suggesting on election night that he didn't want more ballots counted because he knew they wouldn't favor him. "We want all voting to stop, we don’t want them to find any ballots at 4 o’clock in the morning and add them to the list," he said.

468d ago / 3:41 PM UTC

Jared Kushner said he told Trump not to follow Giuliani's advice

In discussing Rudy Giuliani's role in helping to spread lies about the election, the committee aired a short clip featuring recorded testimony from Jared Kushner in which he was asked if he ever shared his perspective on Giuliani with Trump.

"I guess — yes," Kushner said in the clip.

Asked what he told the president, Kushner said to the panel, "'Basically, not the approach I would take if I was you.'"

In response, Kushner said Trump told him, "'You know, I have confidence in Rudy.'"

468d ago / 3:41 PM UTC

Barr details 'awkward' tension with Trump after election about fraud claims and DOJ's role

The committee played more clips from Barr's testimony, who said a few weeks after the election, Kushner and Meadows told him that they were trying to convince Trump that he had lost the 2020 election.

There was an "avalanche" of allegations about fraud after the election, Barr said in his video testimony played during the hearing, and he said it was like playing "whack-a-mole." He said he was influenced by the fact that "all the early claims that I understood were completely bogus and silly and usually based on complete misinformation."

The former attorney general said that by Nov. 23, 2020, he hadn't spoken to Trump since the middle of October and told the committee "it was a little — getting awkward because, obviously, he had lost the election and I hadn’t said anything to him."

468d ago / 3:39 PM UTC

Stepien says he and McCarthy told Trump that mail voting could help his campaign

In videotaped testimony, Trump's former campaign manager Bill Stepien said he and GOP leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., urged Trump to stop denigrating mail voting in the 2020 election.

“We made our case for why we believed mail-in balloting, mail-in voting, not to be a bad thing for his campaign, but you know the president’s mind was made up and you understand how many times to go to the well on a particular topic,” Stepien said.

Stepien said he felt it was “leaving a good deal to chance” for the Trump campaign to rely entirely on in-person voting on Election Day, and that Republican activists could have driven up mail ballot return rates on the ground.

Stepien said McCarthy's words "echoed mine" on the issue.

468d ago / 3:30 PM UTC

Former Fox News editor explains network's early Arizona call for Biden

Former Fox News editor Chris Stirewalt, responding to questions from Lofgren, explained the network's call of Arizona for President Joe Biden just after 11 p.m. on Election Day.

He first noted that Fox News "badly" beat its competitors "by making the correct decision first.”

The decision was based on comparing modeling and polling the network conducted ahead of the election with the vote totals that were coming in. Many people inside of Fox News were involved in the call, he added.

“We knew it would be significant," Stirewalt said. "Trump’s chances were small and getting smaller from what we’d seen.”

“By the time we found out everyone was freaking out and losing their minds over this call, we were moving on," he said.

Lofgren then asked, what were Trump's chances of victory after Nov. 7, when all of the networks called the presidency for Biden?

"None," Stirewalt responded.

468d ago / 3:21 PM UTC

Campaign advisers say they all told Trump not to declare victory on election night

Jason Miller, Bill Stepien and Ivanka Trump all testified that they did not believe the then-president could declare victory on election night.

Stepien said the former president expressed to staff that disagreed with him on this that they were simply too weak to do what was necessary. Miller testified that Rudy Giuliani, who he said was intoxicated, was pushing for Trump to declare victory as votes were still being reported in key battleground states.

NBC News has reached out to Giuliani for comment.

At about 2:20 a.m. on Nov. 4, Trump held a news conference at the White House to falsely declare himself the winner of the election.

468d ago / 3:15 PM UTC

Jason Miller says Giuliani 'definitely intoxicated' at election night party

Jason Miller, a former top campaign aide to Trump, testified to the Jan. 6 Committee that Rudy Giuliani, a Trump confidant, was "definitely intoxicated" at the White House's election night party and advised Trump to just declare victory, against the advice of other advisers.

Giuliani was “definitely intoxicated, but I did not know his level of intoxication when he talked” with Trump, Miller said.

"There were suggestions by I believe it was Mayor Giuliani to go and declare victory and say that we’d won outright," Miller added. Miller said he and campaign manager Bill Stepien said it was too soon to be able to do so. Miller said they shouldn't do that until there was a "better sense of the numbers."

468d ago / 3:12 PM UTC

Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner tell committee in video testimony they were at the White House on election night

The committee showed additional video clips from the separate interviews they did with Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner.

Trump said she was at the White House on election night and moved between the residence and a room that was off the residence where some family members were.

Kushner told the committee, "I think the president was upstairs in the residence. He was upstairs, we were kind of on the first floor, so not the upstairs mostly with Ivanka and her brothers and a couple other people who would come in and out."

468d ago / 3:11 PM UTC

Trump false mail claims started as pandemic raged

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., said the former president started laying the groundwork for undermining the election result as early as April 2020, playing clips in which the president cast doubt on mail voting.

"As early as April 2020, Mr. Trump claimed that the only way he could lose an election would be as a result of fraud," Lofgren said.

While the president's broader, false voter fraud claims date years earlier, he zeroed in on mail voting specifically in the spring of 2020, when the coronavirus was moving quickly through the U.S. and making congregating at the polls dangerous. Many states delayed primary elections or expanded mail voting options significantly to keep voters and poll workers safe.

“You know the things with bundling and all of the things that are happening with votes by mail where thousands of votes are gathered. And I’m not going to say which party does it, but thousands of votes are gathered and they come in and they’re dumped in a location, and then, all of a sudden, you lose elections if you think you’re going to win,” Trump falsely said of mail voting at an April 8 briefing, according to White House transcripts.

Still, the clip of Trump saying the “only” way he could lose the election was due to fraud is dated August 2020.

468d ago / 3:03 PM UTC

Trump laid groundwork for false claims about election fraud as early as April 2020, Lofgren says

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., a member of the committee, said in her opening statement that Trump laid the groundwork for spreading his false claims about the election months in advance.

"The former President laid the groundwork for these false claims well in advance of the election," she said. "As early as April 2020, Mr. Trump claimed that the only way he could lose an election would be as a result of fraud."

The committee then aired a series of video clips of Trump saying that if he lost then the election would be fraudulent.

"The only way we’re going to lose this election is if the election is rigged. Remember that. That’s the only way we’re going to lose this election," he said in one clip.

During the first presidential debate later that year, he said, "This is going to be a fraud like you’ve never seen."

468d ago / 2:59 PM UTC

Cheney says Pence's staff called for a briefing with campaign experts before Jan. 6

Cheney said in her opening statement that then-Vice President Mike Pence called a briefing with Trump campaign experts about claims of election fraud.

On Jan. 2, 2021, Matthew Morgan, a general counsel for the campaign and its chief lawyer, summarized what the campaign concluded weeks earlier, Cheney said. He said that none of the arguments about fraud would actually change the election's outcome.

"What was generally discussed on that topic was whether the fraud, maladministration, abuse or irregularities, if aggregated and read most favorably to the campaign, would that be outcome determinative," Morgan said in a video clip from his committee interview. "And I think everyone’s assessment in the room, at least amongst the staff, Marc Short, myself and Greg Jacob, was that it was not sufficient to be outcome determinative."

Cheney also added that the public should pay attention to what Trump and his legal team repeatedly said about Dominion voting machines "far-flung conspiracies with a deceased Venezuelan Communist allegedly pulling the strings," she said. Cheney said Barr called it "complete nonsense."

468d ago / 2:57 PM UTC

Trump weighs in ahead of hearing start

Former President Donald Trump continued his attack on the House Jan. 6 committee in the hours before its second hearing, casting himself as a victim of an unfair inquiry.

Posting a message on his social media site, Truth Social, Trump wrote: "This one-sided Witch Hunt is a disgrace to America. Should never have been allowed to happen!"

The upcoming hearing will lay out how Trump insisted he had won the November 2020 election against the advice of some of his advisers and even as votes were still being counted.

468d ago / 2:55 PM UTC

Trump listened to 'apparently inebriated Giuliani' over his campaign experts, Cheney says

Committee vice chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said in her opening statement that the committee would air eyewitness testimony Monday that shows Trump rejected advice from his campaign experts on election night in 2020.

Instead, Cheney said, Trump "followed the course recommended by an apparently inebriated Rudy Giuliani, to just claim he won, and insist that the vote counting stop — to falsely claim everything was fraudulent."

NBC News has reached out to Giuliani for comment on the allegations of inebriation.

At about 2:20 a.m. on Nov. 4, with votes in key states like Pennsylvania still being counted and the presidential race in Wisconsin and Georgia too close to call, Trump held a news conference at the White House to falsely declare himself the winner of the election.

"He falsely told the American people that the election was not legitimate, in his words 'millions' of Americans believed him," Cheney said Monday.

Cheney also said that the committee would show "much more" from the recorded testimony with former Attorney General William Barr, who was heard in video testimony aired Thursday saying he told Trump the election fraud claims were "bullshit."

468d ago / 2:52 PM UTC

Trump lost the election, knew he lost, and 'lied to his supporters and the country,' Thompson says

Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said in his opening statement Monday that Trump "lied to his supporters and the country" about the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.

"This morning we’ll tell the story of how Donald Trump lost an election — and knew he lost an election — and as a result of his loss, decided to wage an attack on our democracy," Thompson said.

It was "an attack on the American people," he continued, whereby Trump "lit the fuse that led to the horrific violence of January 6th when a mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol, sent by Donald Trump, to stop the transfer of power."

468d ago / 2:49 PM UTC

'Gallery Group' trapped in House chamber on Jan. 6 uses texting chain to provide support for one another

Members of the so-called Gallery Group, including Reps. Mikie Sherrill, D-N.J., and Robin Kelly, D-Ill., are in attendance for the second Jan. 6 hearing.

The informal group of House Democrats bonded after they were trapped in the gallery above the House floor as a mob of rioters tried to breach the chamber. 

Sherrill told NBC News that the group has communicated since the attack through a texting chain that is used to provide support for one another. 

“It’s just support, just to be there for each other. It was such a difficult event  and certainly not just to experience it that day but then to hear of all the Capitol Police that have been harmed," Sherrill said before the hearing.

"We have some members who experience different things throughout life, and I think that day brought back some of those issues.”

Sherrill brought her daughter to Monday's hearing. Her daughter was with Sherrill in Washington on Jan. 6, the congresswoman said, but anticipating potential violence from pro-Trump protesters, she sent her away to her sister's house nearby that day.

Other House Democrats in attendance on Monday include Reps. Mary Gay Scanlon of Pennsylvania, and G.K. Butterfield and Kathy Manning of North Carolina.

468d ago / 2:36 PM UTC

Former Fox News editor testifying Monday says Trump's behavior 'unworthy of Nixon'

Former Fox News editor Chris Stirewalt, expected to testify publicly Monday, outlined his reasons for appearing before the committee in a column for The Dispatch.

Stirewalt, who was laid off at Fox News in January 2021, described former President Donald Trump's "effort to steal a second term," adding that it was behavior "unworthy of Nixon."

"Forget Lincoln and Washington. This was behavior unworthy of Nixon, who refused to contest some clearly dubious results after the 1960 presidential election and, when president himself, resigned the office rather than subject the country to a protracted impeachment fight," Stirewalt wrote.

Stirewalt said he had no interest in facing "the same anger" he did after Fox News projected that Joe Biden had won Arizona at around 11:20 p.m. ET on Nov. 3, but that he felt compelled to appear anyway.

Trump and others on the right expressed outrage over the Fox News call, since it undercut his effort to claim victory on Election Day even as votes in key states were still being counted. Biden won Arizona by more than 10,000 votes, with NBC News calling the state for Biden on Nov. 12.

"I spend a lot of time talking about the need for stronger institutions and how Congress must reclaim its status as the first among equal branches," he wrote. "How could I then resist when Congress made a request of me that falls well within its powers?"

"As a journalist, I feel very uncomfortable even playing this small role in these events," he continued. "The first rule for my vocation is to tell the truth as best as you can, and the second is to stay the hell out of the story. I will fail in the latter today, but aim for the former."

468d ago / 1:53 PM UTC

GOP Rep. Bacon: What Trump did on Jan. 6 was ‘wrong’

Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., spoke out against President Donald Trump’s actions on Jan. 6 on NBC News' "Meet the Press," criticizing him for not condemning the riot and calling it "negligence."

Pressed by host Chuck Todd on whether he thinks what the president did was criminal, Bacon said it was wrong.

“You know, whether it’s criminal or not—I’m not a lawyer or judge—I thought it was wrong. And as a citizen, I think, you know, the American people have to judge this themselves,” he said, adding that he believes the American people “know it was wrong not to intervene.”

468d ago / 1:46 PM UTC

Stepien's wife in labor, committee will use deposition video

Bill Stepien’s wife went into labor Monday morning, which is the family emergency that will keep him from testifying in person, according to a source familiar with the day's events. 

Two sources familiar with the committee’s plans say they intend to show video of his recorded deposition in lieu of his live testimony. He was subpoenaed in November, but we don’t know precisely when he sat for his interview with the committee.

468d ago / 1:39 PM UTC
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468d ago / 1:18 PM UTC

Bill Stepien will no longer testify Monday

About an hour before the hearing was scheduled to begin, the committee announced that Bill Stepien was unable to testify Monday morning due to a family emergency.

"His counsel will appear and make a statement on the record," the committee said.

Stepien served as Trump's campaign manager in 2020 after having previously been the White House political director.

The hearing will begin about 30 to 45 minutes after the previously announced 10 a.m. ET start time, the panel added.

468d ago / 1:14 PM UTC

Hearing has been delayed by 30-45 minutes

The second Jan. 6 hearing has been delayed by 30 to 45 minutes, the committee announced. It was originally scheduled for 10 a.m. ET.

468d ago / 12:58 PM UTC

The plan for future hearings

Beginning Monday, the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol will hold six more public hearings this month featuring evidence that Trump directed the mob to march on the Capitol and live testimony from White House staff, ranking member Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said.

Cheney and Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., outlined Thursday night how they plan to structure the committee’s other hearings that they plan to pack into June.

While Monday's hearing focuses on Trump's election lies that inspired the storming of the Capitol, the third hearing will offer evidence about Trump’s unsuccessful plan to oust acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen and replace him with another DOJ official who was more supportive of Trump’s fraud claims, Jeffrey Clark, according to Cheney.

Read more here.

468d ago / 12:46 PM UTC

‘A lot more testimony where that came from,’ Schiff says

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said that upcoming Jan. 6 hearings will dig deeper on some of the testimony Americans heard during the House committee’s first public hearing last week.

“I think you’ve heard just a few examples of what those witnesses have said behind closed doors. There’s a lot more testimony where that came from,” he said on ABC News' "This Week" Sunday.

"Most important is that we're weaving together how each line of effort to overturn the election, led to another, led to another, and then ultimately culminated in that violence attack on January 6," the committee member added.

468d ago / 12:17 PM UTC

Trump 'knew this was a lie, but continued to act,' says committee member

Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va., previewed Monday's public hearing by the Jan. 6 committee, telling NBC News' "Meet the Press" that Trump was repeatedly told there was no evidence of a stolen election.

468d ago / 11:48 AM UTC

Expect more on lawmaker pardons this week, Kinzinger says

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., said more evidence about lawmakers seeking pardons will be revealed in public hearings this week.

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said Thursday that “multiple” Republican lawmakers including Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., sought presidential pardons in the weeks after the riot. Perry denied the allegation in a tweet, call it an “absolute, shameless, and soulless lie.”

Pressed on how many pardons were sought and for what reason during an interview on CBS News' "Face the Nation" on Sunday, Kinzinger said “more of that is going to be released this week.”

“But why would you ask for a pardon — let’s just say in general — if somebody asked for a pardon it would be because they have real concern maybe they’ve done something illegal. I’ll leave it at that but I’ll say that more information will be coming,” he said.

Asked about Perry’s denial, Kinzinger said, “We’re not going to make accusations or say things without proof or evidence backing it.”

468d ago / 11:19 AM UTC

Committee members: Enough evidence gathered to support Trump indictment

Two members of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot said Sunday that they've gathered enough evidence for the Justice Department to explore an indictment against Trump.

"I would like to see the Justice Department investigate any credible allegation of criminal activity on the part of Donald Trump or anyone else," Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said on ABC News’ “This Week.” "They need to be investigated if there’s credible evidence, which I think there is."

Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., said the committee has laid out in various legal pleadings "the criminal statutes that we think have been violated," adding that it also has evidence that Trump knew Joe Biden won the 2020 election.

"I think we can prove to any reasonable, open-minded person that Donald Trump absolutely knew because he was surrounded by lawyers," Raskin said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” "He continues to spread it to this very day. He continues to foist that propaganda on his followers."

468d ago / 10:51 AM UTC

Key takeaways from the first Jan. 6 hearing: It’s all about Trump

One person more than any other set in motion the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, the committee investigating the riot argued at its first public hearing Thursday.  And that person is Donald Trump.

He sparked the riot at the Capitol and nearly shredded American democracy in pursuit of power, the House Jan. 6 committee contended in what served as the opening argument in a weekslong effort to make a case to the public. 

Read more here.

468d ago / 10:17 AM UTC

How to watch the 2nd Jan. 6 committee hearing

Monday’s hearing, which begins at 10 a.m. ET, will be streamed live on NBC News and will also feature a live blog with news and analysis.

MSNBC will have special coverage starting at 6 a.m. ET, in addition to a live blog. Read the full story here on who's testifying, what to expect, and more.

468d ago / 10:09 AM UTC

Here's who is testifying on Monday

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6th riot will interview five witnesses on Monday as it continues public hearings into the deadly incident.

Former Trump campaign manager William Stepien and Chris Stirewalt, a former Fox News political editor, will testify in the first panel.

The second panel will include former Philadelphia City Commissioner Al Schmidt, former United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia BJay Pak, and Benjamin Ginsberg, a GOP elections attorney.

Ginsberg was a top conservative election attorney for years and played a central role in the Florida recount in 2000, but he slammed Trump’s election fraud claims as baseless in the run-up to the 2020 election. Ginsberg will be testifying about election recounts, a source familiar with the committee’s plans told NBC News.

The hearing will begin at 10 a.m.

468d ago / 10:06 AM UTC

Highlights from Thursday's prime-time hearing

The House committee investigating the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol began its first in a series of long-awaited public hearings Thursday by revealing new footage of the riot and testimony to make the case that the deadly attack was the direct result of then-President Donald Trump’s attempts to cling to power.

Some key moments include: the committee aired sober, never-seen-before testimony from ally after ally, including Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump, admitting they knew Trump’s stolen election claims were unfounded.

Read more highlights here.

468d ago / 10:05 AM UTC

What to expect in Monday's hearing

The House Jan. 6 committee will hear from a trusted member of Donald Trump’s inner circle on Monday as members describe how he pushed falsehoods about the 2020 election.

In a conference call with reporters Sunday, a committee aide said the focus of the two-hour hearing will be “the decision by the former president to ignore the will of the voters, declare victory on an election that he had lost, spread claims of fraud and then decide to ignore the rulings of the courts when the judgment of the courts didn’t go his way.”

The star witness figures to be Bill Stepien, who served as Trump’s 2020 campaign manager and White House political director in the first half of the Trump administration. On election night, Trump received conflicting pieces of advice from aides about whether he should declare victory even though votes were still coming in.

“There was sound advice that he didn’t have the numbers to win,” the committee aide said. “There was advice that he should declare victory anyway and he decided to declare victory anyway.”

The public hearing, the second held by the committee, will start at 10 a.m. ET.