On Tuesday the House Select Committee conducted the fourth January 6th hearing which focused on how Trump and his team pressured state legislators to decertify the election and how other elections have been impacted by Trump's fraudulent claims.
"Claims that widespread voter fraud tainted the 2020 election have always been a lie, Donald Trump knew they were a lie and he kept amplifying them anyway" Chairperson Bennie Thompson (D-MS).
During the first three hearings, the committee provided background on Donald Trump's desire to remain in power despite losing the 2020 election to President Joe Biden.
So far the committee has provided evidence insinuating Trump knew the election was not stolen but chose to lie anyway, hatched a plan alongside lawyer John Eastman to create a false narrative, and misled donors to contribute money.
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Here are four takeaways from the fourth hearing.
Trump pressured state officials to decertify the election
The committee argued that once Trump realized he could not stop the count of absentee ballots nor overturn the election via lawsuits he began pressuring individual state legislatures to decertify the results.
Trump and his lawyers, including Rudy Giuliani and Dr. John Eastman, began asking state legislators to give their electoral votes to Trump despite losing the popular vote, appearing before them and relentlessly contacting state officials.
Russell "Rusty" Bowers, Speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives (R), testified in-person that Giuliani and Trump claimed they had theories and evidence of voter fraud and asked Bowers to hold an official meeting at the Capitol. Later Giuliani admitted they did not actually have evidence.
Bowers also testified that Dr. Eastman, Giuliani, and Trump requested he remove or decertify Biden electors from Arizona and replace them with Trump electors but Bowers refused.
"I said 'you're asking me to do something that is counter to my oath when I swore to the constitution to uphold it,'" Bowers said. "And I will not break my oath."
\u201cBowers testifies that Giuliani pressured him to hold hearings aimed at affirming the big lie and replacing Arizona electors, but he refused\u201d— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar) 1655831530
Bowers testified that Representative Andy Biggs (R-AZ) also called him the morning of January 6, 2021 asking him to overturn the results of the election.
The fake electors plan
According to testimony shown by the committee, Trump alongside his team created the fake elector plan in an effort to replace Biden electors with fake Trump electors in swing states.
The plan was to have the alternate electors from Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, New Mexico, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin meet in secrecy at corresponding state Capitols in December 2020 and cast alternate ballots.
Not only had electors been approved by state authorities, but the ballots themself held no official legality. On the morning of January 6th Senator Ron Johnson asked to hand deliver some of the fake elector ballots to Vice President Mike Pence. A staffer for Pence denied the request.
Ronna Romney McDaniel a Republican National Committee Chairwoman testified in pre-recorded testimony that Trump personally called her asking for her help to gather electors.
\u201cEven the White House Counsel\u2019s Office felt the 'fake electors' plan was not legally sound, but President Trump and his allies went forward with the scheme anyway.\u201d— January 6th Committee (@January 6th Committee) 1655836016
The fake elector plan seemingly was the last straw for several Trump lawyers and White House counsel members.
Former Trump lawyers Justin Clark and Matt Morgan testified that they backed out of the plan believing it to be illegal and wrong along with some White House counsel members.
State officials were harassed and sent death threats
In order to increase public pressure on state legislators, Trump and his team posted state officials' personal information online urging his followers to contact them, and staged protests outside the homes of several legislators.
Mike Shirkey, the Michigan State Senate Majority Leader, said he received 4,000+ text messages after Trump posted his personal number to his Facebook page.
Former White House strategist Steve Bannon told Trump followers to protest outside of the home of Pennsylvania House Speaker Bryan Cutler, one time while Cutler's 15-year-old son was home alone.
A group of protestors stood outside the home of Michigan State Secretary Jocelyn Benson and called her "a threat to democracy", "tyrant," and "felon" as she was putting her son to bed.
In a pre-recorded interview, Benson said she feared for her life wondering if the group of people outside her home had weapons and would attack her or her family.
Bowers delivered an emotional testimony recounting how his daughter, who was terminally ill at the time, was upset by protesters continuously protesting outside their family home. Bowers' daughter died in January 2021.
"The lie hasn't gone away"
The committee argued that Trump's claims of voter fraud have had a detrimental impacted US elections even today.
"The lie hasn't gone away," Thompson said before reminding the public of a recent case in New Mexico where one country refused to certify primary election results due to conspiracy theories that voter machines were rigged.
There was no evidence of fraud and a court eventually ordered the county to certify the results.
\u201cBennie Thompson begins the fourth January 6 hearing by saying: "The lie hasn't gone away. It's corrupting our democratic institutions. People who believe that lie are now seeking positions of public trust."\u201d— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar) 1655831530
Thompson reiterated how delicate democracy is by explaining how people who believe Trump's false theories of election fraud are now seeking positions of power.
"Who will make sure our institutions don't break under pressure?" Thompson said. "We won't have close calls we'll have a catastrophe."
The next January 6 hearing will occur on Thursday, June 23 at 9 a.m.
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