What did we learn about the January 6th attack on the US Capitol at the fourth public hearing?
The House select committee heard testimony from Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers, accusing Trump of lying about election fraud claims.
he fourth hearing of the House select committee investigating the January 6th attack on Congress took place on Tuesday, outlining the efforts made to illegally overturn the election results.
Former President Donald Trump and his allies are said to have engaged in a clear and calculated attempt to pressure officials into reversing the result and allow Trump to stay in office. State lawmakers and election officials in Arizona and Georgia were at the forefront of the day’s hearing, which demonstrated the dangers of Trump’s ‘Big Lie’ of election fraud.
Here’s what emerged from the sixth House hearing…
Trump’s plan to summon fake electors
Witnesses testifying at the hearing on Tuesday revealed the shocking extent to which Trump himself was involved in the plot to send fake electors from certain swing states to submit Electoral College votes. Biden won a number of key swing states, but Trump and his allies spent weeks pressuring election officials to ignore the election result and send a slate of electors who would vote for him instead.
At one point in the hearing Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, confirmed that she had received calls from both Trump and his lawyer John Eastman regarding the electors.
McDaniel testified: “Essentially, [Trump] turned the call over to Mr. Eastman, who then proceeded to talk about the importance of the RNC helping the campaign gather these contingent electors in case any of the legal challenges that were ongoing change the result of any dates.”
Those “contingent electors” were to be used to fraudulently place the state’s Electoral College votes for Trump, despite Biden winning a majority in that state.
Republicans willing to openly contradict Trump
One of the most telling elements of the House committee is the extent to which Republican voices have been allowed to lead and have been willing to contradict Trump. The committee is ran by Democrats but the majority of in-person witnesses have been Republicans.
We have heard in-person testimony from three conservative Republicans and deposition clips from Michigan State Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and Pennsylvania House Speaker Bryan Cutler, but it is the involvement of a top Arizona Republican that made headlines.
Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers appeared before the Committee on Tuesday to respond to comments made by Trump earlier that day. The former President alleged that Bowers had told him that he believed Trump had won the election, something which Bowers adamantly denies
Bowers confirmed that the call took place but insisted that he has never thought that Trump won the 2020 presidential election. That Bowers, a conservative lawmaker who actively campaigned for Trump in 2020, is now splitting so publically from the former President could represent a major moment in the ongoing investigation.
Testimony outlines the consequences of Trump’s lies
The committee hearing also featured testimony from the election workers who were caught up in the former President’s lies about election fraud. To link Trump to the attack on Congress on 6 January 2021, the committee has been showing how it was the culmination of a calculated attempt to sow mistrust in the election result.
Wandrea “Shaye” Moss and her mother Ruby Freeman were Atlanta election workers during the 2020 election and both found themselves at the center of the baseless conspiracy theory. The human toll of Trump’s lies there for all to see in their testimony.
“I don’t want anyone knowing my name,” Freeman told the committee, adding that she had stopped giving out her business card and gets “nervous when I have to give food orders.”
“I have lost my sense of security, all because of a group of people, starting with (Trump) and his ally Rudy Giuliani, decided to scapegoat me, and my daughter, Shaye, to push lies about how the election was stolen,” Freeman said.