The January 6 select committee will focus its Tuesday hearing on Donald Trump’s ‘plot’ to pressure states to individually recount or overturn their election results – including Georgia and Arizona specifically.
The fourth public and televised proceedings will feature live testimony from Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, his office’s Chief Operating Officer Gabriel Sterling, Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers and former Georgia election worker Wandrea ArShaye ‘Shaye’ Moss.
Raffensperger will take center stage in the hearing Tuesday as he was one of the GOP targets of the Trump team’s efforts to get red states to name ‘fake electors’ to derail Biden’s Electoral College victory. The goal was for Vice President Mike Pence to accept these alternative electors on January 6, 2021 so Trump could declare victory.
Trump also infamously called Raffensperger on January 2, 2021 – just days before the Capitol riot and election certification – to pressure him to ‘find 11,780 votes’ to help him overcome Biden’s lead in the Peach State.
The former president sought to retaliate against Raffensperger by backing Georgia Republican Representative Jody Hice in the primary race against him for secretary of state this year – but Raffensperger easily overcame the challenge.
Bowers also received a call in late November 2020 from Trump and his attorney at the time Rudy Giuliani where they informed him that Arizona had a new law that would allow its legislature to pick which presidential electors it wanted to send to Congress for certification, according to the Arizona Republic.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (pictured May 24, 2022) will take center stage at the January 6 select committee’s fourth public hearing on Tuesday afternoon to prove the pressure Donald Trump put on GOP state officials in his ‘plot’ to overturn the 2020 election
The panel’s Tuesday hearing will focus on Trump’s attempts to get contested states to appoint their own electors and to have Vice President Mike Pence accept those votes over the Electoral College results
The GOP Arizona lawmaker, who is a Trump supporter, told the paper that he asked for proof of this law he never heard of, but never received it.
Bowers was also pressured by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ wife Ginni Thomas, who is a conservative activist, to decertify Biden’s victory in the state.
Panel member Adam Schiff, a Democrat from California, will lead Thursday’s proceedings.
Excerpts from his opening statement show that the panel will seek to prove that ‘anyone who got in the way of Donald Trump’s continued hold on power after he lost the election was the subject of a dangerous and escalating campaign of pressure.’
‘This pressure campaign brought angry phone calls and texts, armed protests, intimidation, and, all too often, threats of violence and death,’ he will say. ‘State legislators were singled out. So too were statewide elections officials. Even local elections workers, diligently doing their jobs, were accused of being criminals, and had their lives turned upside down.’
‘As we will show, the president’s supporters heard the former president’s claims of fraud, and the false allegations he made against state and local officials, as a call to action.’
Both Arizona and Georgia are swing states that flipped from red for Trump in 2016 to blue for Joe Biden in 2020. Biden, however, only won those states by extremely slim margins – 0.4 percent in Arizona and 0.3 percent in Georgia.
The small victory margins led Trump, in part, to claim that the election was rigged and stolen by a Democratic plot to deploy thousands of fake mail-in ballots to get Biden to win the swing states that launched him to the presidency in 2016.
Tuesday’s witness Moss, along with her mother Ruby Freeman, were accused by Trump and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani of ‘rigging’ the presidential election count in Georgia. The two, according to Trump and his allies, allegedly brought in ‘suitcases’ full of ballots for Biden.
Trump (pictured June 17, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee) infamously called Raffensperger on January 2, 2021 to pressure him to ‘find 11,780 votes’ to help him overcome Biden’s lead in Georgia
The former Georgia election official and her mother are now suing Giuliani in federal court after receiving death threats when Trump publicly named them and following an investigation in the state that found no wrongdoing by the pair.
The Democratic-led panel’s focus on Tuesday follows three other hearings this month that centered on proving Trump was aware that he lost the 2020 presidential election but still pushed the ‘Big Lie’ that he was the victor, as well as the pressure campaign on Pence to stop Congress from certifying the Electoral College results.
Pence’s refusal to give into Trump’s plot for him to deny the results from Congress and accept the alternative electors on January 6, 2021 stopped the former president from declaring victory in an election he lost.
After Tuesday’s hearing there could be as many as four more as the select committee aims to quickly finish its case against Trump before the 2022 midterm elections, which is likely to see the House flip red.