Tuesday, Jan. 6 hearing will show Trump was warned his campaign lies could lead to violence

The Jan. 6 House Select Committee will use its upcoming hearing to demonstrate that former President Donald Trump knew his efforts to bully elected officials in Georgia and Arizona to help him reverse his 2020 election losses in those states. could lead to violence, according to the select committee. aids.

The panel’s fourth hearing will take place at 1 p.m. ET on Tuesday and is expected to feature a quartet of officials who were on the receiving end of the pressure campaign mounted by Mr. Trump and his allies even after being told his chosen course of action was illegal.

“What you will hear in this hearing will demonstrate that President Trump and his allies have waged a pressure campaign based on lies,” a select committee aide said Monday. “These lies led to threats intended to endanger state and local officials and their families. These lies perpetuated the public belief that the election was robbed and marred by widespread fraud, and… contributed to the violence of January 6.

The aide added that the panel would “examine closely how the president’s allies have devised these schemes to pressure Republican-controlled legislatures and other state officials to rescind certification.” 2020 elections.

The task of questioning witnesses and presenting evidence at Tuesday’s hearing will largely fall to California Representative Adam Schiff.

Mr. Schiff, a former federal prosecutor who chairs the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, was the lead director during Mr. Trump’s first impeachment trial in early 2020 and led the intelligence committee’s investigation. which revealed that Mr. Trump had blackmailed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a month of July. Phone call 2019.

One of the four witnesses Mr. Schiff will question is Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s outgoing secretary of state.

Mr. Raffensperger, a Republican who defeated a Trump-endorsed challenger for the Peach State electoral post last month, became a target for Mr. Trump after the then-president became the first Republican to losing Georgia’s electoral votes since voters there handed the state over to Bill. Clinton in the 1992 election.

Almost immediately, Mr. Trump and his allies began amplifying a series of lies about non-existent voter fraud that they say tainted Mr. Biden’s victory. Mr. Trump also began pressuring Mr. Raffensperger and Georgia Governor Brian Kemp not to certify Mr. Biden’s victory, or alternatively, to also certify a bogus set of pro-Trump voters that then-Vice President Mike Pence could have used as a reason to cast legitimate electoral votes for Mr. Biden.

Mr. Trump’s pressure campaign mounted in Georgia went so far as to include an in-person visit to a counting site by Mark Meadows, the former GOP congressman who served as Mr. Trump’s chief of staff. It also included the now infamous phone call between Mr. Trump and Mr. Raffensberger, which took place just days before a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol in hopes of preventing the final certification of Mr. Biden’s victory.

During that phone call – which is now at the center of a criminal investigation by the Fulton County, Georgia, prosecutor’s office – Mr Trump urged the Georgian secretary of state to “find” the votes needed to give him a win in the even if those votes didn’t exist, and threatened him with legal action if he refused.

Gabriel Sterling, who served as chief operating officer of Mr Raffensperger’s office during the 2020 election, is also expected to give evidence.

In early December 2020, Mr. Sterling denounced Mr. Trump’s false allegations of voter fraud during a televised press conference and pleaded with the then-president to stop lying about the conduct of the 2020 election in Georgia. .

“Everything has gone too far. All of this,” said Sterling, who told reporters that he and other Georgian officials had received death threats from Trump supporters.

“Stop inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence,” he said, directing his remarks at Mr Trump. “Someone is going to get hurt. Someone is going to get shot. Someone is going to get killed”.

The select committee is also expected to hear from two other witnesses, Georgia election worker Wandrea Moss and Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers.

Ms. Moss, a former Fulton County, Georgia, Elections Department official, was targeted by Trump allies who claimed she processed fake ballots for Mr. Biden late on election night in 2020 .

The false claims drew crowds of Mr Trump supporters to her home and the death threats she received from them were so numerous that she was forced into hiding. The John F Kennedy Library presented him with a Profile in Courage award for his work during the 2020 election.

Mr. Bowers, a Republican, also received a John F Kennedy Profile in Courage award for his refusal to bow to pressure from Mr. Trump and his allies to call a special legislative session to nullify electoral votes. of Arizona for Mr. Biden. after the Democrat became the second Democrat in history to carry the Grand Canyon State.

He refused to consider such action from Mr. Trump despite multiple entreaties from the then president, protests outside his home and even more pleas from Mr. Trump’s allies in Congress.

More recently, Mr. Bowers effectively killed a bill that would have given Arizona lawmakers the power to overturn election results in a special session after each election.

The aide said the hearing would show that Mr. Trump was indifferent to the possibility that his lies and pressure campaign would cause real-world damage.

“Ultimately, I think at the end of this hearing what you will take away is that President Trump was warned that his actions – including the repetition of these false statements – risked inciting violence, and he did it anyway,” they said.

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