‘Apparently drunk’ Rudy Giuliani told Trump to declare victory after Election Day 2020

“My recommendation was to say the votes were always counted. Too early to tell, too early to call the race,” Trump’s 2020 campaign manager Bill Stepien told the select committee in an interview. Stepien said Trump disagreed, instead delivering a combative statement that declared victory and alleged widespread fraud. These claims were later proven to be false.

“Frankly, we won this election,” Trump said Nov. 4, 2020.

The Jan. 6 select committee used the second of six public hearings scheduled for Monday to highlight the corrosive effect of Trump’s lie and his weeks of promotion with the help of political allies, friendly media megaphones and members of Congress. . Trump’s campaign and the Republican Party raised hundreds of millions of dollars in the weeks between Election Day and Jan. 6, 2021, a move heavily influenced by those efforts to cast doubt on the results.

These lies served as scaffolding to support every other aspect of Trump’s efforts to stay in power, from his efforts to get the Justice Department to legitimize his false claims to the pressure he exerted on the vice president. of the time, Mike Pence, to derail the transition of power. Eventually, Trump’s false allegations of widespread fraud obscuring his victory fueled the crowd that made its way to the Capitol on January 6, 2021 – and the select committee says it intends to show that the Messages from Trump and his allies may have helped radicalize the rioters.

“Some of these people … echoed these same lies that the former president peddled in the run-up to the insurgency,” a select committee aide said Sunday night.

The Jan. 6 committee sees Trump’s preparation to delegitimize the election results beginning long before Election Day; he questioned the integrity of mail-in voting, for example, even as many states began to expand its use amid the Covid pandemic. Although even many allies urged him to embrace mail-in ballots, Trump resisted and immediately used it to cast doubt on the validity of the results.

The select committee released Stepien’s video testimony suggesting he and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy urged Trump in the summer of 2020 to embrace mail-in voting and help increase its use among Republicans .

“His words echoed mine,” Stepien said of McCarthy’s argument.

To tell its story on Monday, the panel turns to the two interview videos and several live witnesses — from Ivanka Trump to White House attorney Eric Herschmann to Trump 2020 campaign aides Miller and Matt Morgan. Stepien was to join, but his attorney Kevin Marino testified instead after Stepien had a family emergency.

The committee also heard from Fox News political editor Chris Stirewalt, who was fired in January 2021. Fox sparked outrage at Trump after the network became the first to call the battleground state of l Arizona for Biden, a projection that ultimately came true. Stirewalt attributed his ousting to his decision to defend that appeal in Arizona, while the network said his departure was part of a digital restructuring.

Stirewalt began his testimony by answering a simple question from the chair of the selection committee, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.): Who won the election?

“Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. of the great state of Delaware,” Stirewalt replied.

The select committee intends Monday to be a document- and fact-based hearing, filled with evidence showing the proliferation of Trump’s lies about the election results. The hearing will include a second panel that includes prominent GOP election lawyer Ben Ginsberg, former Philadelphia City Commissioner Al Schmidt and former North Georgia U.S. Attorney BJay Pak, who resigned amid of Trump’s efforts to overturn the election results.

Pak previously testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the pressure Trump and his allies put on him and other officials to investigate false allegations of voter fraud.

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