WASHINGTON, June 21 (Reuters) – State election officials recounted on Tuesday how supporters of Donald Trump threatened them and their families after they refused to help the former president reverse his 2020 election defeat .
The congressional committee investigating the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters focused Tuesday on the Republican’s pressure on state officials as he sought to stay in the White House despite its defeat.
It was the fourth of at least six public hearings the nine-member select committee is holding this month into its nearly year-long investigation into the attack on the Capitol by thousands of Trump supporters as the vice -President Mike Pence met with members of Congress to officially certify Trump. loss to Democrat Joe Biden.
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“We received…over 20,000 emails and tens of thousands of voicemails and text messages, which overwhelmed our offices and we were unable to work, at least communicate,” Rusty said. Bowers, Speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives. The United States House of Representatives Select Committee is investigating the attack on the Capitol.
He said the harassment continued, with protests at his home, clashes with neighbors and other threats and insults continuing even when his daughter was critically ill.
“It was disturbing, it was disturbing,” Bowers – who had campaigned for Trump in 2020 and said he had wanted him re-elected – testified, his voice cracking.
Bowers described conversations with Trump and his close aides, including his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and adviser John Eastman, who urged Bowers to reject the election results.
“You’re asking me to do something against my oath and I won’t break my oath,” Bowers said, recounting a conversation with Giuliani.
In a noisy rally on Jan. 6, Trump urged his supporters to march on Capitol Hill. He had seized on that date – when Pence was to certify the election – as a last chance to retain the White House despite his defeat at the polls.
“What happened to Mike Pence was not an isolated part of Donald Trump’s plan to void the election. In fact, pressuring officials to betray their oath was a fundamental part of the playbook,” said Democratic Representative Bennie Thompson, chairman of the committee. .
Thompson was referring to a hearing last week that focused on Trump and his associates pressuring Pence to oppose officially certifying the November 2020 presidential election result.
The committee also released audio and video recordings in which close associates of Trump — and the president himself — urged state officials to reject the election results.
Georgian Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and Gabriel Sterling, Director of Operations in the Office of the Georgian Secretary of State, were scheduled to testify.
The committee was also scheduled to hear from Wandrea ArShaye “Shaye” Moss, a former Georgia state election worker who filed a lawsuit over threats she allegedly faced after her state backed Biden, who won the presidential election. presidential election.
“I was threatened and harassed,” Moss said in prepared remarks released ahead of her testimony. “They went to get my child – my child. He heard horrible things about his mother, just because I did my job.”
The seven Democrats and two Republicans on the committee used the hearings to bolster their argument that Trump’s efforts to reverse his defeat amounted to unlawful conduct, far beyond normal politics.
Biden in November 2020 defeated Trump in Georgia and Arizona, toppling two states that had previously backed Republicans in presidential elections.
Trump called Raffensperger on January 2, 2021, telling Georgia’s top election official in a recorded conversation to “find” enough votes for him to win Georgia. Raffensperger remained a frequent target of criticism from Trump.
The secretary of state nonetheless last month held off a Trump-backed challenger, Republican House member Jody Hice, to win the Republican Party primary as he ran for re-election. Read more
Trump has denied wrongdoing, while repeating false charges he only lost due to widespread fraud that benefited Biden. Trump and his supporters — including many Republican members of Congress — dismiss the Jan. 6 panel as a political witch hunt, but the panel’s supporters say it’s a necessary investigation into a violent threat to democracy .
In his testimony, Bowers said he received a call from Rep. Andy Biggs, a Republican House member from Arizona, asking if he would support the effort to challenge the US election result. Arizona.
Biggs’ office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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Reporting by Patricia Zengerle, Richard Cowan and Doina Chiacu; additional reporting by Rose Horowitch and Linda So; edited by Scott Malone, Jonathan Oatis, Howard Goller and Cynthia Osterman
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