Tuesday’s House Jan. 6 hearing to focus on Trump pressuring state officials
Washington — The House select committee examining the January 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol will convene Tuesday for its fourth public hearing this month. This session will focus on President Trump’s efforts to pressure state officials as part of his broader campaign to remain in office for a second term after losing the 2020 election.
CBS News will broadcast live coverage the hearing starting at 1 p.m. ET.
Expected to appear before the panel are two GOP elections officials from Georgia, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, and Gabriel Sterling, chief operating officer for the secretary of state’s office, as well as Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers, also a Republican. Wandrea ArShaye “Shaye” Moss, a former Fulton County election worker, will also be present.
Trump lost both Georgia and Arizona to President Biden, but he and officials with his reelection campaign pushed top officials in those states to overturn the election results, in part through a scheme to submit alternate, pro-Trump slates of electors.
In Georgia, Trump urged Raffensberger in a Jan. 2, 2021, phone call to “find” enough votes to make him the winner, though Raffensperger repeatedly rebuffed the president’s efforts and refuted claims of widespread voter fraud in Georgia.
Both Raffensperger and Sterling defended the integrity of Georgia’s election and faced intense criticism for their actions, receiving death threats and, in the case of Raffensperger, a censure by the state Republican Party. Despite the backlash, Raffensperger defeated Trump-backed Rep. Jody Hice and two other candidates who challenged him in the Republican primary last month for secretary of state.
Moss, the Fulton County election worker, sued One America News Network and Rudy Giuliani in December for defamation, alleging the network aired stories that falsely accused her and another election worker of committing ballot fraud to alter the outcome of the 2020 election, according to the lawsuit. Although the two reached a settlement with One America News in April (although Giuliani is still a defendant),
In Arizona, Bowers, who backed Trump in 2020, received a call from Trump and Giuliani, the former president’s lawyer, in late November 2020 urging him to have the state legislature substitute a slate of presidential electors, overriding Mr. Biden’s win in the state, according to the Arizona Republic.
Bowers also received an email from Ginni Thomas, a conservative activist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, in early November 2020 urging him to select a “clean slate of electors,” according to the Washington Post. The committee has asked to speak with Thomas, and she told The Daily Caller she looks forward to talking with House investigators.
Tuesday’s hearing will kick off the third week of proceedings for the Jan. 6 select committee, which is laying out for Americans how Trump mounted a multi-pronged campaign to overturn the outcome of the 2020 presidential election and stop the peaceful transfer of power, culminating in the violent attack on the Capitol building.
Earlier hearings have focused on the violence that took place at the Capitol on Jan. 6 as law enforcement struggled to control the mob of Trump’s supporters descending on the complex to stop Congress’s counting of state electoral votes; Trump’s decision to declare victory on election night even though his closest aides knew there was no evidence to support his claims the election was stolen from him; and the former president’s efforts to strong-arm Vice President Mike Pence to reject state electoral votes and unilaterally declare him the winner of the election.
In its third hearing last week, aides to the former vice president said Trump’s repeated lies about the election pushed the country to the brink of a constitutional crisis and put Pence in harm’s way when a mob of Trump supporters breached the Capitol building.
“Approximately 40 feet. That’s all there was, 40 feet between the vice president and the mob,” Rep. Pete Aguilar, a Democrat from California, said last week. “Make no mistake about the fact that the vice president’s life was in danger.”
Rep. Adam Schiff, a Democrat hailing from California, will play a key role in the fourth hearing. He stated to CNN that the panel would show how Trump mounted a pressure campaign against officials in state and local elections that threatened their lives and provide evidence of Trump’s involvement in a scheme to convince other states to name pro Trump alternate slates.
“The system held because a lot of state and local election officials upheld their oath to the Constitution,” Schiff told CNN.
Since its creation nearly one year ago, the select committee has conducted more than 1,000 interviews — including with former White House and Trump campaign officials, and members of the former president’s family — and collected more than 140,000 documents.
Trump, meanwhile, has continued to attack the committee and falsely claim he won the 2020 election. Trump claimed that the committee was doctoring deposition video and accused its members as “liars” and “con artists” during remarks Saturday in Memphis as part the “American Freedom Tour”. “
How to watch Tuesday’s hearing
- What: The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol holds its fourth public hearing
- When: Tuesday, June 21, 2022
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- Location: Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
- On TV: CBS television stations — find your local station here
- Online stream: Live on CBS News in the player above or on your mobile or streaming device
Day 3 of hearings shifts Trump’s pressure campaign against Pence
With testimony from two former vice president aides, the committee focused its attention on Trump’s attempts to pressure Pence into rejecting state electors votes unilaterally and declaring Trump the winner.
The effort hinged on a strategy pushed by John Eastman, a conservative lawyer who claimed the vice president had the constitutional and legal authority to reject or replace slates of electors. Michael Luttig was a respected conservative and retired federal judge who advised Pence.
The panel demonstrated through testimony from Pence’s chief of staff Marc Short and other aides that they repeatedly told Trump and his allies that Eastman’s plan had no basis under the Constitution or federal law. According to evidence presented by committee, Eastman knew that the plan was illegal. Rudy Giuliani received an email from Eastman requesting a presidential pardon. This was granted by the committee.
During the third hearing, Americans also learned of a heated phone call Trump had with Pence the morning of Jan. 6, before the joint session of Congress convened to tally state electoral votes, and saw new photos of the vice president hunkered down in a secure location in the Capitol complex, which he refused to leave despite the Secret Service directing him to.
Luttig closed the hearing with a stark warning: “Donald Trump and his allies and supporters are a clear and present danger to American democracy. “
Day 2 of hearings zeroes in on Trump’s false election claims
In its second public hearing, the select committee focused on President Trump’s decision to declare victory late in the night after polls closed on Election Day, even though his closest aides warned him it was too early to deem himself the winner.
Trump then used his premature declaration of victory to push his baseless claims that the election was stolen — claims even his top administration officials knew were not supported by evidence, the committee showed.
“Bogus,” “silly,” and “amateurish” were some of the words used by former Attorney General Bill Barr in testimony to House investigators to describe the claims of fraud. Barr also criticized Trump for being the “weak” element of the Republican ticket. “
The former attorney general recalled being “demoralized” by Trump believing machines from Dominion Voting Systems were rigged, “because I thought, ‘Boy if he really believes this stuff, he has you know, lost contact with — he’s become detached from reality, if he really believes this stuff. ‘”
The panel also detailed a scheme in which Trump’s campaign and related entities raised money off of the former president’s false election claims, telling supporters their donations would be used to fund litigation challenging the election results. In all, the committee said $250 million was raised for an “Election Defense Fund,” which a Trump campaign staffer said she didn’t believe existed.
The money instead went to Trump’s Save America PAC, which then donated “millions” to entities and vendors with ties to Trump, according to the committee.
On Day 1 of hearings, Capitol Police officer described “carnage” and “chaos” of assault
One of two witnesses to testify in-person during the prime-time hearing on June 9, the committee’s first of the month, was Capitol Police officer Caroline Edwards, who suffered a traumatic brain injury on Jan. 6. Edwards described Capitol Hill on the day of the attack as a “war scene”.
“It was something like I had seen out of the movies,” Edwards said. “I couldn’t believe my eyes. There were officers on ground. They were bleeding. They were throwing up. I saw friends with blood all over the faces. I was slipping in peoples’ blood. I was catching people falling. It was chaos. It was chaos.
Watch her testimony in the video below.
I’m a journalist who specializes in investigative reporting and writing. I have written for the New York Times and other publications.