US state lawmakers and election workers described on Tuesday how their lives were turned upside down by threats of violence as Donald Trump singled them out in his bid to void the 2020 US election.
Trump has been personally involved in an intense campaign to pressure officials from key swing states he lost to Joe Biden, the fourth congressional hearing on the former president’s bid to cling to power after his defeat has been announced.
Committee members investigating the January 2021 assault on the U.S. Capitol that followed the election spent much of June laying out their initial findings that Trump carried out a multi-pronged conspiracy to overturn the results, resulting in the uprising in Washington.
On Tuesday they heard from scrutineer Shaye Moss, who was falsely accused by Trump and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani alongside her mother Ruby Freeman of ‘rigging’ Georgia’s election count with ‘suitcases’ full of ballots for Biden.
Moss, who is black, described people making “hateful” and “racist” threats of violence following the baseless accusations, including a post that read, “Be glad it’s 2020 and not 1920.”
“It turned my life upside down. I don’t give out my business card anymore, I don’t forward calls anymore,” Moss testified.
“I don’t want anyone to know my name…I don’t go grocery shopping. I haven’t been anywhere at all.”
Freeman said in her deposition that she lost her reputation and her sense of security because “Number 45 and his ally Rudy Giuliani decided to scapegoat me and my daughter Shaye, to push their own lies about how the presidential election was stolen”.
The mother and daughter were among poll workers or election officials in several states who found themselves under pressure to thwart the will of millions of voters based on false allegations of fraud, the panel said.
Rusty Bowers, speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives, said he asked Giuliani “repeatedly” for proof of his stolen campaign claims.
He told committee members that Giuliani said “we have a lot of theories, we just don’t have the evidence.”
Trump released a statement, read aloud during the hearing, attempting to discredit Bowers, calling him a “RINO” – Republican in name only – and claiming that lawmakers told Trump the election was rigged and that Trump had actually won Arizona. .
Bowers said both claims were false.
“Part of the Playbook”
Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson had started the hearing by saying that Trump “pressuring officials to betray (their) oath was a fundamental part of the playbook.”
Liz Cheney, the committee’s vice chair, said Trump was aware his false allegations of fraud could lead to violence, but still took a “direct and personal role” in the disinformation campaign.
US presidents are not elected directly by citizens, but chosen by “voters” appointed to a body called an electoral college by the party that wins the presidential vote in each state.
The committee says a key part of the plot to overturn the 2020 election was to trick pro-Trump Republicans in swing states Biden won into submitting official-looking but bogus certificates claiming they were the legitimate voters .
The committee says Trump pressed his Vice President Mike Pence to accept these “fake voters” when he was overseeing the certification of Biden’s victory on January 6, 2021.
Pence ultimately refused to recognize the pro-Trump slates, and the president’s supporters rioted for hours on Capitol Hill in scenes of unprecedented brutality that left at least five people dead.
At some point after the election, Trump personally called Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel to get involved in his pressure campaign, according to recorded testimony by McDaniel.
Trump tapped his attorney John Eastman, McDaniel said, “to talk about how important it is for the RNC to help the campaign bring these contingent voters together.”
The exchange is crucial because the committee has promised to provide evidence of a direct link between Trump and the scheme to introduce the fake voters.
Among the in-person witnesses was Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, whom Trump urged to ‘find’ enough votes to overcome Biden’s lead in the battleground state in a phone call that goes a long way. subject of a state-level criminal investigation.
Raffensperger revealed that 28,000 Republicans voted against in Georgia in 2020 but skipped the presidential race, which Biden won by just 12,000 votes.
The official described being inundated with vile messages and said his wife began receiving “sexualized” threats after Trump briefly made them infamous among his supporters.
He also described a burglary at his widowed daughter-in-law’s home sparked by allegations of voter fraud.
“Moments require you to get up and take pictures, and do your job, which we did,” he told the audience.
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Post expires at 2:22pm on Saturday July 2nd, 2022