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Trump pushed fraud claims publicly after his staff dismissed claims : live updates


JUNE 13, 2022

Benjamin Ginsberg a Republican election lawyer testifies to the select committee to investigate the January 6th attack on the US Capitol on June 13, 2022 in Washington.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following Thursday’s prime-time introduction to the Jan. 6 committee investigating the Capitol attack’s findings, the second of eight hearings will dig into the details of former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

The latest:

    • A hopeless challenge: Trump campaign officials say they told Trump that challenging the 2020 election results based on theories about election fraud almost certainly would be unsuccessful.

  • Who was Trump listening to? Testimony from campaign insiders suggested Trump listened to Rudy Giuliani, who witnesses said was drunk, about how to react to the election results instead of advisers who told him he lost.

  • 📅Trump’s former campaign manager cancels testimony: The committee said Bill Stepien will no longer be testifying because of a family emergency.

  • Advisers caution against declaring victory: Some of Trump’s top campaign advisers told the committee during depositions that they discouraged the president from declaring victory prematurely on election night 2020.

Barr expected to get fired for saying election was legitimate

Then-President Donald Trump summoned his attorney general Bill Barr up to his office after Barr told a news reporter there was no amount of fraud in the 2020 election that would have changed the outcome.

“The president was as mad as I’d ever seen him and he was trying to control himself,” Barr, who had told his secretary she may have to pack up if he gets fired, told the House committee investigating Jan. 6. “The president said, ‘Well this is killing me. You didn’t have to say this. You must have said this because you hate Trump. You hate Trump.’”

Then the president went into a conspiracy theory about votes in Detroit, at which point Barr debunked his theory and pointed out that Trump did better in Detroit in 2020 than in 2016.

“I told him that the stuff that his people were shoveling out to the public was bull—,” Barr said. “He was indignant about that.”

– Erin Mansfield

Former AG Barr: “If he really believes this stuff, he’s become detached from reality.” 

Former Attorney General Bill Barr told the January 6 committee that Trump was convinced of a conspiracy theory that voter fraud was conducted through Dominion voting machines. If Trump truly believed the theory, Barr said “he’s become detached from reality.”

Trump “went off on a monologue saying that there was now definitive evidence involving fraud through the Dominion machines,” he said.

Trump also told Barr that the Dominion report was “absolute proof that the Dominion machines were rigged. The report means I am going to have a second term.” Looking through the report, Barr said “it looked very amateurish to me” and he “didn’t see any real qualifications.”

“I was somewhat demoralized, because I thought, boy if he really believes this stuff, he’s become detached from reality, if he really believes this stuff,” Barr said.

– Kenneth Tran

More BS: Panel reprises Bill Barr’s use of barnyard epithet to describe Trump’s claims of voter fraud

The committee replayed then-Attorney General Bill Barr’s pungent description of Trump’s false claims of voter fraud.

“The stuff that his people were shoveling out to the public was bull—-, that the claims of fraud were bull—- and he was indignant about that,” Barr said in video testimony.

Barr used the same term in his book and the committee played a clip of him on Thursday night using the traditional barnyard epithet.

– David Jackson

Who is Dan Scavino, in charge of Trump’s social media accounts?

In video testimony, Former Attorney General William Barr said he asked Dan Scavino, “How long is (Trump) going to carry on with this stolen election stuff?”

Scavino served in the Trump administration as White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications from 2017 to 2021. As director of social media, Scavino was the man behind many of Trump’s tweets.

– Katherine Swartz

Meadows and Kushner told Barr they thought Trump would end talk of stolen election

Former Attorney General William Barr recounted a conversation in the days after the election that he had with Jared Kushner and Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who were both convinced that Trump was ready to tamp down his wild claims of a stolen election.

“Look, I think that he’s becoming more realistic and knows that there’s a limit to how far he can take this,” Meadows told Barr, according to videotaped testimony from Barry.

Kushner told Barr: “Yeah, we’re working on this.”

– Joey Garrison

Kushner, Barr thought Giuliani’s approach to spread voter fraud theories was a bad idea

Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and one of his top advisors, testified Monday that Rudy Giuliani’s approach to claim victory in the 2020 presidential elections and promote voter fraud conspiracy theories was a bad idea.

Former Attorney General Bill Barr and Bill Stepien, Trump’s former campaign manager, also said they expressed that they were against Giuliani’s approach. Barr said he didn’t want to be part of that approach and attributed it as to one of the reasons he decided to leave the administration.

Kushner said he told Trump that it is “not the approach I would take if I was you.”

“‘I have confidence in Rudy,’” Kushner recalled Trump saying.

— Rebecca Morin

Stepien fine being called part of ‘Team Normal’ for Trump

Bill Stepien, former President Donald Trump’s campaign manager, told the House Jan. 6 committee he had no trouble with his team being labeled separately from Trump’s legal team led by Rudy Giuliani challenging election results.

“I didn’t mind be characterized as being part of Team Normal,” Stepien said in a videotaped deposition.

 In contrast, Stepien said Giuliani pursued complaints about thousands of illegal immigrants casting votes when the contested ballots were actually mailed from citizens overseas. Stepien said he earned a reputation for honesty and professionalism during 25 years of representing candidates as varied as Trump, John McCain, George W. Bush and Chris Christie.

“I didn’t think what was happening was necessarily honest or professional at that time,” Stepien said.

– Bart Jansen

Why did Arizona matter in the 2020 election?

With 11 electoral votes, Arizona is a key swing state with the power to push a close election in one direction or another.

Trump won Arizona in the 2016 election by just 4 percentage points. But Democratic candidates broke through later in key statewide elections, including Sen. Kyrsten Sinema in 2018. Democrat Mark Kelly also won a special election in 2020 after the death of Senator John McCain, defeating Republican Martha McSally.

Biden won Arizona by a slim margin, coming down to Maricopa county — home to Arizona’s largest city Phoenix — which leans bluer than more rural areas of the state which Trump carried.

– Katherine Swartz

Trump replaced campaign team out of frustration due to debunked claims of fraud

Bill Stepien, former campaign manager to Trump, told the January 6 committee that Trump grew increasingly frustrated with debunked claims of election fraud to the point of replacing his campaign’s legal team, which “paved the way . . . for Mayor Giuliani to be moved in.”

Trump’s campaign team was forwarded a claim that “illegal citizens” were voting in Arizona’s election. After the investigation, the team found no evidence of fraud and informed Trump. After continually finding no tangible evidence of voter fraud, Trump “was growing increasingly unhappy with his team,” said Stepien.

– Kenneth Tran

Former Fox News editor: No chance that Trump would have won in a recount

Former President Donald Trump had no chance of winning the election in a recount, even in the most generous of circumstances, according to Chris Stirewalt, the former political editor for Fox News who led the team that called Arizona for Biden before any other major news organization.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., asked Stirewalt Monday morning the chances, after Nov. 7, that Trump could have won the election.  Stirewalt responded, “After that point? None.”

Stirewalt said recounts traditionally tend to uncover hundreds of ballots, and at times may even uncover thousands, but he said the history of recounts show a recount would not have changed the outcome.

– Erin Mansfield

‘Very bleak:” Witnesses say it was obvious from Election Night that Trump had lost

A slew of witnesses are backing the committee’s claim that Trump protested the 2020 election even though he was shown plenty of data that he had in fact lost – one of them being Trump’s own campaign manager.

In his videotaped testimony, Stepien said that Trump’s chances of victory were “very, very, very bleak” in the hours after Election Day ended – and that Trump knew it.

Yet Trump persisted in claiming election fraud, a campaign that ended with the Jan. 6 insurrection, committee members said – his self-knowledge is a key legal point should the former president be prosecuted for inciting a riot.

– David Jackson

Trump cried election fraud ‘out of the box’ in anticipation of shift for Biden, Barr says

Trump’s Attorney General William Barr told the committee that the president started falsely claiming voting fraud early on election night.

“Right out of the box on election night, the president claimed that there was major fraud underway,” Barr said in videotaped testimony. “I mean, as far as I could tell, before there was actually any potential evidence.”

Barr said Trump’s claims seemed to hinge on the fact that mail ballots that would be counted later would favor Biden – a dynamic called the “blue shift” and “red mirage.”

“That seemed to be the basis for this broad claim that there was major fraud. And I didn’t think much of that because people had been talking for weeks and everyone understood for weeks that that was going to be what happened on election night,” he said.

– Joey Garrison

Former Fox News political editor says Trump tried to exploit ‘red mirage’

Chris Stirewalt, a former Fox News political editor, said he felt it was necessary to be honest with viewers about the “red mirage,” which was showing Trump ahead of votes on election day, but began to drop behind as mail-in votes came in.

Stirewalt explained that Republican candidates typically have a higher voter count from same day election votes, while Democrats typically vote early or by mail. He said “the Trump campaign and the President had made it clear that they were going to try to exploit this anomaly.”

“We wanted to keep telling viewers, ‘hey, look, the number that you see here is sort of irrelevant, because it’s only a small percentage of these votes,’” Stirewalt said.

– Rebecca Morin

Trump campaign aides said election night too uncertain to declare victory

Former President Donald Trump’s campaign officials told the House Jan. 6 committee that 2020 election results were too uncertain to declare victory that night, but that Trump and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani each sought to claim they won.

Jason Miller, a campaign spokesman, said in a videotaped deposition it was too early to declare victory. Bill Stepien, Trump’s final campaign manager, said in a videotaped deposition he recommended for any speech that night Trump should say votes were still being counted and it was too early to call, but that the campaign was proud of the race.

“The president disagreed with that. He thought I was wrong. He told me so. He was going to go in a different direction,” Stepien said.

“This is a fraud on the American people,” Trump said that night. “Frankly, we did win this election.”

– Bart Jansen

Ivanka says she did not say whether to concede or challenge election results

Ivanka Trump said she did not press her father to concede or to declare victory on election night, even if other people on the former president’s team were forming strong opinions on the matter.

“I don’t know that I had a firm view as to what he should say in that circumstance,” Ivanka Trump said. “The results were still being counted. It was becoming clear that the race would not be called on election night.”

– Erin Mansfield

What happened with Arizona and Fox News in the 2020 election? 

On election night 2020, Fox News called Arizona for Joe Biden ahead of any other network, with Biden ahead by 7 percentage points in the race.

Fox White House correspondent John Roberts noted there were hundreds of thousands of votes left to be counted when Fox made the call.

After Fox made the call, Arizona still was one of the closest states on election night, and one later targeted by Trump and his supporters demanding a recount. An audit conducted actually increased Biden’s margin of victory in the state.

– Katherine Swartz

‘The mayor was definitely intoxicated’: says senior adviser to Trump

In opening the hearing, Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said “Trump rejected the advice of his campaign experts on election night and instead followed the course recommended by an apparently inebriated Rudy Giuliani to just claim he won.”

And in deposition to the January 6 Committee, Senior Adviser to Trump’s re-election campaign Jason Miller said Trump lawyer and former mayor of New York City Rudy Giuliani was “definitely intoxicated” on the night of the election.

“The mayor was definitely intoxicated, but I do not know his level of intoxication when he spoke with the president for example,” said Miller. “There were suggestions by I believe it was Mayor Giuliani to go and declare victory and say we’d won it outright.”

– Kenneth Tran

Witnesses talk about Trump’s anger over Fox News projecting his loss in Arizona

The committee heard video from witnesses about the anger from Trump and top aides over the fact that Fox News called Arizona for Joe Biden well in advance of other networks.

Adviser Jason Miller quoted Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani as saying “we won it, they’re stealing it from us.”

The Arizona call – which held up – began promotion of what committee members called the “Big Lie” of voter fraud, leading to the Jan. 6 insurrection.

– David Jackson

Trump aides told him that Dominion claims were nonsense

Liz Cheney said Trump’s campaign experts repeatedly told him that his claims about irregularities in voting machines from Dominion Voting Systems were false but that he pushed the lies nonetheless.

“I never saw any evidence whatsoever to sustain those allegations,” Trump attorney Eric Herschmann said in a videotaped deposition presented by the committee.

Trump Attorney General William Barry called the allegations “complete nonsense.”

– Joey Garrison

Cheney says hearing will focus on Trump’s initial plan to convince Americans the ‘election was stolen’

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., vice chair of the Jan. 6 committee, said Monday’s hearing will look at the initial part of former President Donald Trump’s plan to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

Cheney said Trump’s effort was “to convince millions of Americans that the election was stolen from him by overwhelming fraud.”

“A federal court has already reviewed elements of the committee’s evidence on this point, and said this: ‘In the months following the election, numerous credible sources from the President’s inner circle to agency leadership and statisticians informed President Trump and Dr. (ohn) Eastman that there was no evidence of election fraud,’ sufficient to overturn the 2020 presidential election.”

– Rebecca Morin

Thompson: Trump “betrayed the trust of the American people’

The chairman of the committee, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said Monday’s hearing would show how former President Donald Trump lost the 2020 election, knew he lost and “as a result decided to wage an attack on our democracy.”

“He betrayed the trust of the American people,” Thompson said. “He lied to his supporters and the country.”

“In doing so, he lit the fuse that led to the horrific violence of Jan. 6 when a mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol, sent by Donald Trump the transfer of power,” Thompson said.

– Bart Jansen

Former U.S. attorney to testify about Trump pressure in Georgia

BJay Pak, a former U.S. attorney in northern Georgia, is expected to testify Monday about former President Donald Trump pressuring Georgia state officials to overturn 2020 election results.

Trump urged Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger during a Jan. 2 call to “find” 11,780 votes he needed to beat Joe Biden in the state. Pak, who had already announced his departure as U.S. attorney but was still in office, sped up his departure after Trump called him a “never Trumper” during the call.

Richard Donoghue, the former acting deputy attorney general, told the committee Trump wanted to fire Pak during a Jan. 3 Oval Office meeting, but that Pak had been vetted and was doing his job. White House counsel Pat Cipollone called the proposal “ridiculous” because Pak was already leaving, according to Donoghue.

– Bart Jansen

Who is Al Schmidt? Former Philadelphia city commissioner testifying at Jan. 6 hearing

Al Schmidt, a former city commissioner in Philadelphia, is testifying before the Jan. 6 committee Monday.

Schmidt, the only Republican city commissioner overseeing the 2020 presidential election in Philadelphia, defended the 2020 presidential election results. Former President Donald Trump criticized Schmidt days after the election for his stance, calling him a RINO —  Republican in name only — who was “being used big time by the Fake News Media to explain how honest things were with respect to the Election in Philadelphia.”

Susan Walsh, AP Former Washington Metropolitan Police Department officer Michael Fanone talks with U.S. Capitol Police Sgt. Harry Dunn before the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol continues to reveal its findings of a year-long investigation, at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, June 13, 2022.

Schmidt resigned as city commissioner in November 2021 and currently serves as CEO of the Committee of Seventy, an independent and nonpartisan advocate for better government in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania.

— Rebecca Morin

Stepien lawyer says Trump campaign manager’s wife went into labor this morning

Kevin Marino, Bill Stepien’s lawyer, is appearing in his place at the Capitol after Stepien’s wife went into labor this morning.

Marino said “Mr. Stepien was in town preparing for his testimony here today in response to the subpoena,” before his wife went into labor.

Marino said it was his understanding that there would be video testimony from Stepien showed during the hearing.

— Dylan Wells

Fox News exec expected to testify about Trump loss in Arizona

Chris Stirewalt, a former Fox News political editor, is expected to testify Monday at the House Jan. 6 committee hearing about how he helped the network become the first to declare former President Donald Trump’s loss in Arizona in the 2020 election.

Arizona, which President Joe Biden won, was one of seven states that Trump contested after the election and that submitted alternate slates of fake electors to deny Biden the White House.

Chris Stirewalt, Former Fox Political Editor, arrives for a hearing on the January 6th investigation in the Cannon House Office Building on June 13, 2022 in Washington, DC. – Drew Angerer, Getty Images

Stirewalt was let go after the controversial election call and Bill Sammon, managing editor of Fox’s Washington bureau, retired. Two days after the call, Stirewalt said in his last appearance on air that “Arizona is doing just what we expected it to do and we remain serene and pristine.”

– Bart Jansen

Start of Jan. 6 hearing delayed

The committee said the hearing would start a half-hour later than the 10 a.m. scheduled time.

– Bart Jansen

Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien won’t testify Monday

Bill Stepien, who was former President Donald Trump’s final campaign manager, won’t be testifying Monday as scheduled at the latest House Jan. 6 committee hearing.

“Due to a family emergency, Mr. William Stepien is unable to testify before the Select Committee this morning. His counsel will appear and make a statement on the record,” the committee announced.

– Bart Jansen

What does Bill Stepien know about Trump’s fraud claims?

The committee was expected to ask Bill Stepien, former President Donald Trump’s final campaign manager, about evidence Trump knew he lost the 2020 election and pursued baseless claims of election fraud anyway. Stepien will not testify Monday.

The committee sought Stepien’s testimony about converting the election campaign to focus on “Stop the Steal” messaging and related fundraising, according to other witnesses. The messaging included false claims about unreliable voting machines and an internal campaign memo in which campaign staffers determined the claims were false, according to the committee.

“President Trump invested millions of dollars of campaign funds purposely spreading false information, running ads he knew were false, and convincing millions of Americans that the election was corrupt and he was the true President,” the committee vice chair, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said Thursday. “As you will see, this misinformation campaign provoked the violence on Jan. 6.”

– Bart Jansen

Jan. 6 hearings schedule: When are the next Jan. 6 hearings?

Monday’s hearing is set to begin at 10 a.m. ET.

There are two more hearings this week: Wednesday at 10 a.m. ET and Thursday at 1 p.m. ET.

The remaining four hearings have not yet been scheduled.

– Ella Lee

Who are Monday’s witnesses at the Jan. 6 hearing?

The first panel of witnesses Monday features Bill Stepien, Trump’s former campaign manager, and Chris Stirewalt, a former Fox News political editor. In testimony revealed Thursday, a campaign spokesman and Trump campaign lawyer each said Trump was told election results showing he lost. The spokesman, Jason Miller, later said Trump didn’t believe his aides.

Stirewalt helped Fox News declare Trump’s loss in Arizona. The committee request for testimony from Stepien said the campaign reportedly urged state and party officials to delay or deny certification of election results by sending alternates slates of electoral votes to Congress.

The second panel of witnesses features Benjamin Ginsberg, an election attorney; BJay Pak, a former U.S. attorney for northern Georgia; and Al Schmidt, a former city commissioner in Philadelphia.

Pak reportedly expedited his departure from the U.S. attorney’s office after Trump complained during his Jan. 2 call with Georgia state officials he considered Pak a “never Trumper” who opposed his efforts to overturn the election.

– Bart Jansen

Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., speaks as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol holds its first public hearing to reveal the findings of a year-long investigation, on Capitol Hill, Thursday, June 9, 2022, in Washington. – Andrew Harnik, AP

Who is on the Jan. 6 committee?

  • Chairman, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss.
  • Vice chair, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo.
  • Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va.
  • Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md.
  • Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla.
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill.
  • Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-Calif.
  • Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif.
  • Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.

Why is Pence central to the Jan. 6 investigation

The House committee investigating the attack will focus during its June hearings on Pence’s key role presiding over the Electoral College vote count.

Rather than single-handedly rejecting electors from states then-President Donald Trump lost, as the president and his allies urged, Pence refused to interfere with or delay the count certifying President Joe Biden’s victory while a mob ransacked the Capitol and threatened the vice president’s life.

Thompson said lawmakers discussed having Pence testify, but that it might not be necessary because of cooperation from his top advisers. Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, and counsel, Greg Jacob, were among more than 1,000 witnesses, including more than a dozen from the White House, who met with the committee.

– Bart Jansen

Here’s who testified about the Jan. 6 Capitol attack Thursday

Thursday’s hearing featured two witnesses: a U.S. Capitol Police officer who was injured during the riot and a documentarian who filmed parts of the violence.

U.S. Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards was the “first law enforcement officer injured by rioters storming the Capitol grounds on January 6, 2021,” according to the committee. She told lawmakers Thursday that she was called “Nancy Pelosi’s dog” and “a traitor to my country, my oath and my constitution” during the violence, describing the Capitol grounds as an “absolute war zone.”

British documentarian Nick Quested filmed the leaders of two far-right groups, Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio and Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, meeting in a parking garage near the Capitol. He told lawmakers Thursday that he met up with hundreds Proud Boys at about 10:30 a.m. on Jan 6, noting he was “confused to a certain extent” why they were walking away from the president’s speech because “that’s what I felt we were there to cover.”

-Marina Pitofsky, Ella Lee

What Bill Barr, Ivanka Trump told the Jan. 6 committee

  • Former Attorney General William Barr told the House panel investigating the Capitol attack he resigned in December 2020 from the Trump administration rather than challenge the election results.
  • Ivanka Trump, the former president’s daughter and senior adviser, said she accepted the Justice Department’s finding of no fraud sufficient to overturn the 2020 – in contrast to her father.
  • Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards described how she suffered a concussion while grappling with rioters over bike racks. “I was slipping in people’s blood,” she said. “I was catching people as they fell. It was carnage.” She also recalled seeing Officer Brian Sicknick, who died the next day, turn ghostly white after being sprayed with chemicals.

What it was like in the room during Thursday’s Jan. 6 hearing

During first of eight hearings held by the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, the room remained mostly quiet, the crowd engaged, aside from reporters’ rapid typing on computers during moments of new information. Revelations evoked murmurs and sometimes tears from the audience.

Audience members’ moods abruptly shifted when a video chronicling the events of Jan. 6, 2021, played, many shifting in their seats and visibly on edge. During the video, Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn embraced the widows of two officers who died as a result of the attack, who used tissues to wipe tears from their eyes.

In gripping testimony often stifled by emotion, Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards recalled navigating a “war zone” that day, slipping on the blood of fellow officers and catching them as they fell while the rioters stormed the Capitol.

– Ella Lee

Takeaways from the Jan. 6 committee’s first hearing on its findings

Members of a House Committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol began Thursday outlining their case that the insurrection was the final act of an intricate scheme orchestrated by former President Donald Trump to overturn the 2020 election.

The committee said that Trump knew he lost the 2020 presidential election, and despite that, enacted a “sophisticated seven-part plan” to overturn the election results. But not all Trump loyalists – or family – went along with Trump’s plans, the committee said.

The committee also sought to tie Trump to the actions of the Proud Boys, framing the extremist organization as a vehicle for Trump that was inspired to attack the Capitol by the former president.

– Joey Garrison, Ella Lee

Courtesy/Source: This article originally appeared on USA TODAY