Witnesses Detail Threats of Violence for Rebuffing Trump’s Efforts to Overturn 2020 Election
Georgia election worker says attacks ‘affected my life in a major way, in every way, all because of lies’
- Published In: Politics
- Last Updated: Jun 22, 2022
The select committee presents its fourth Congressional hearing on the Jan. 6 insurrection. The next hearing will take place on June 23 at 3 p.m. Eastern. (Wyoming Truth Photo)
By Jacob Gardenswartz
Special to the Wyoming Truth
WASHINGTON — Over nearly three hours of emotional testimony Tuesday, witnesses before the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection detailed the extreme measures that former President Donald Trump and his allies took to pressure them to overturn the 2020 election.
In this fourth committee hearing, officials from key swing states recounted what they described as illegal actions they were asked to take to manufacture a Trump victory, and described in detail the threats of violence they and their families received for refusing to do so.
“It is a tenant of my faith that the Constitution is divinely inspired, one of my most basic foundational beliefs,” said Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers, a Republican who voted for Trump in 2020. Yet the request that he declare Trump the winner in Arizona would require him to deny his oath to that sacred document, Bowers said, and he refused.
As a result, Trump tweeted frequent attacks on Bowers to his millions of followers. Shortly thereafter, Bowers said individuals started showing up at his home and threatening his wife and daughter, with at least one threat coming from a man with a pistol.
“It was disturbing, just disturbing,” Bowers said, choking back tears.
Later on in the hearing, officials, including Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger and top election official Gabe Sterling, said Trump and top White House officials went to extraordinary lengths to fabricate Trump’s victory there, such as the call in which Trump pressured the officials to “find” votes that would enable him to win the state.
Trump’s team never provided any real evidence to support their claims of fraud, the officials said, as multiple hand and machine recounts affirmed Biden’s victory.
The Trump campaign and key allies in Republican leadership continued to spread unverified allegations of fraud, leading to threats against election workers and misinformation surrounding the election, officials testified. Combatting those election lies, Sterling said, was “like a shovel trying to empty the ocean.” An investigation into Trump’s post-election conduct in Georgia is ongoing.
Officials testified that Trump and his allies were warned repeatedly that their allegations of fraud were baseless — by state leaders, Trump campaign lawyers, Department of Justice officials, and even some in the White House Counsel’s office. Nevertheless, Trump insisted he was victorious, lambasting those who said otherwise.
“Donald Trump did not care about the threats of violence. He did not condemn them, he made no efforts to stop them,” said Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), vice chair of the committee and one of two Republicans serving on it. “We cannot let America become a nation of conspiracy theories and thug violence.”
Shaye Moss, who until recently served as a longtime election worker in Fulton County, Ga, said in gripping testimony that her life changed shortly after the 2020 election when Trump and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani accused her of “rigging” the election in President Joe Biden’s favor.
The two alleged Moss and her mother, Ruby Freeman, illegally counted suitcases full of fraudulent ballots for Biden, with Giuliani going so far as to suggest they were passing around USB devices like “vials of heroin or cocaine.”
Moss, who is Black, said that allegation was false; what they claimed to be a USB stick was a ginger candy. She said Trump’s public attacks drew the ire of his supporters, whose threats — many of which were racist in nature — were so severe that she and her mother were forced to temporarily flee their homes.
“It’s affected my life in a major way, in every way, all because of lies,” Moss said.
Bowers testified that Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) called him on the morning of Jan. 6 to ask him to support efforts to decertify the vote count in Arizona. The committee also displayed never-before-seen text messages from a top aide to Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), asking that the senator be allowed to hand-deliver documents from Trump-supporting electors in contested states to Vice President Mike Pence.
“Do not give that to him,” the Pence aide texted back.
Tuesday’s hearing comes as threats towards election workers persist, and as candidates who question the outcome of the 2020 election move closer to wielding power over future elections. Cheney’s chief opponent in her Aug. 16 Republican primary, Harriet Hageman, has thus-far refused to concede that Biden is the legitimately-elected president.
Over the weekend, Hageman appeared on Newsmax to again attack Cheney’s participation on the select committee. “We did not send her to Washington, D.C., to be the judge and jury against Donald Trump,” Hageman said.
Cheney closed Tuesday’s hearing by previewing the next public meeting of the panel, set to take place on June 23 at 3 p.m. Eastern. In that hearing, she said, the committee will explore the ways Trump pressured the Justice Department to support his claim to power.