In its second public hearing, the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol delivered a comparatively focused message on Monday: that Trump knew his claims of a stolen election were false but continued to push them widely, raking in lots of of thousands and thousands of dollars while looking for to overturn the outcomes of the 2020 election.
“This morning, we’ll tell the story of how Donald Trump lost an election and knew he lost an election, and in consequence of his loss, decided to wage an attack on our democracy,” Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) told the audience in opening remarks.
Thompson characterised the trouble to discredit the 2020 election as a “conspiracy” and a “scheme” that Trump oversaw and directed and that’s “unprecedented in American history.”
Listed below are seven key moments from the hearing:
Senior staffers said Trump rejected their advice and listened to a drunk Rudy Giuliani as a substitute.
Quite a few Trump campaign staffers testified that Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, was inebriated at Trump’s election night watch party and insisted on telling Trump to declare victory regardless of the particular data coming in.
Trump’s campaign manager, Bill Stepien, told investigators that Giuliani appeared to have had an excessive amount of to drink. Former Trump adviser Jason Miller also said the previous Recent York City mayor “was definitely intoxicated.”
While Stepien, Miller and others, including Trump’s daughter Ivanka, apparently believed it was too early to declare victory on election night, Trump ended up listening to a tipsy Giuliani and falsely declared victory anyway.
Stepien said he’d told Trump to deliver a speech “that the votes were still being counted, it’s too early to inform, too early to call the race, but that we were happy with the race we ran” and that he’d “have more to say about this the subsequent day.”
“The president disagreed with that,” Stepien said. “He thought I used to be incorrect; he told me so and that they were going to go in a distinct direction.”
As Giuliani’s schemes to undercut the 2020 election results became apparent, Stepien said, an internal schism formed and Stepien’s group lost Trump’s ear.
“There have been 2 groups: my team, and Rudy’s team,” he said. “I didn’t mind being categorized as ‘team normal.’”
“I’ve been doing this for a very long time, 25 years, and I’ve spanned political ideologies from Trump to Christie to Bush,” Stepien continued, “and I feel along the way in which, I built up a fairly good fame for being honest, and I didn’t think what was happening was either honest or skilled at that time, so I stepped away.”
Former Fox News political editor: Trump claimed victory based on a “red mirage.”
Chris Stirewalt, a former political editor at Fox News, testified that Trump sold voters on a “red mirage” on election night before the entire votes had been counted.
Stirewalt, whom Fox News fired after he appropriately called Arizona for Joe Biden, explained that early votes typically skew Republican, while others, like mail-in ballots, typically don’t. So it was very premature for Trump to declare victory based only on the early returns.
“As of Nov. 7, in your judgment, what were the probabilities of President Trump winning the election?” Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) asked Stirewalt.
“After that time? None,” he said, shaking his head.
Stirewalt also threw cold water on the notion that any outcomes in battleground states would have been reversed in a recount.
“Normally, you’re talking about lots of of votes, perhaps 300 votes which might be going to alter” in a recount, he said. “So the concept that through any normal process, in any of those states ― remember, he needed to do it thrice, right? ― he needed three of those states to alter.”
“With a view to do this, I mean, you’re at an infinite ― you’re higher off to play the Powerball.”
William Barr: Claims about defective voting machines were “complete nonsense.”
Former Attorney General William Barr told the committee that Trump was increasingly “detached from reality” as he asserted, many times, that the election was stolen.
Barr said the Department of Justice investigated any “specific and credible allegations” of fraud, however the claims “were completely bogus and silly and frequently based on complete misinformation.”
Barr reserved particular scorn for the conspiracy theory pushed by Trump, Giuliani and others that Dominion Voting Systems, a voting machine company, had altered its machines to falsely tabulate votes.
“They were idiotic claims,” he said, but “they were made in such a sensational way they were influencing members of the general public” and “doing a grave disservice to the country.”
“My opinion then and my opinion now could be that the election was not stolen by fraud, and I haven’t seen anything for the reason that election that modified my mind on that,” Barr said.
Bill Stepien: Trump ran a “structurally and fiscally deficient” reelection campaign.
Stepien, Trump’s campaign manager, sharply criticized the state of the then-president’s 2020 reelection effort when he was hired to switch outgoing campaign manager Brad Parscale just 115 days before Election Day.
“I inherited a campaign that was, the day I used to be hired, was President Trump’s low point within the each day average polling against Biden,” Stepien said. “It was structurally and fiscally deficient. There was an amazing deal incorrect with the campaign in each those areas.”
Trump’s mind was “made up” on mail-in ballots, whatever the evidence, Stepien said.
Stepien said he and House Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) each agreed that Trump should embrace mail-in voting in the course of the 2020 election and encourage his supporters to do likewise, especially in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
The campaign manager said he told Trump that specializing in in-person turnout on Election Day risked “leaving a superb deal to probability” in comparison with the mail-in alternative.
Trump ignored the recommendation and as a substitute attacked mail-in votes as fraudulent.
Investigators said the “Big Lie” was an enormous windfall for Trump.
Along with attempting to overturn the outcomes of the election, investigators say Trump used his election fraud lies to reap a financial windfall from aggrieved voters.
Senior investigative counselor Amanda Wick said the Trump campaign raised $250 million between Election Day and the Jan. 6 Capitol attack via thousands and thousands of fundraising emails alleging voter fraud.
“The Trump campaign knew these claims of voter fraud were false, yet they continued to barrage small-dollar donors with emails encouraging them to donate to something called ‘The Official Election Defense Fund,’” Wick said.
Based on the select committee, no such fund existed.
The Justice Department looked into Giuliani and Trump’s fraud allegations in swing states and located nothing.
Trump allies’ allegations of vast conspiracies in swing states so as to add to Biden’s vote tally were all, without fail, completely baseless, quite a few Justice Department officials told the committee.
In Pennsylvania, for example, Giuliani told state legislators that 8,000 “dead people” had voted for Biden.
“Not only was there not evidence of 8,000 dead voters voting in Pennsylvania, there wasn’t evidence of eight,” said Al Schmidt, a Republican former Philadelphia city commissioner. Schmidt noted that he and his family were subjected to disturbing threats after Trump personally named him on Twitter.
Wealthy Donoghue, the previous acting deputy U.S. attorney general, also recalled the problem of briefing Trump on the particular findings within the states.
“Sir, we’ve done dozens of investigations, lots of of interviews,” he recalled telling Trump. “The foremost allegations aren’t supported by the evidence developed. We’ve looked in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Nevada. We’re doing our job. Much of the information you’re getting is fake.”
“There have been so a lot of these allegations that while you gave him a really direct answer on one in every of them, he wouldn’t fight us on it, but he would move to a different allegation,” Donoghue said.
“I told him flat-out that the majority of the evidence he’s getting is fake.”