Raffensperger of Georgia among witnesses for upcoming 6/1 hearing | National government and new policies

By FARNOUSH AMIRI – Associated Press

Georgian Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is due to testify before the House committee on Tuesday January 6 about the extraordinary pressure he came under from former President Donald Trump to “find 11,780” votes that could swing the state to prevent Joe Biden’s election victory

Raffensperger, along with his deputy Gabe Sterling and Arizona State House Speaker Rusty Bowers, are expected to be key witnesses when the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, uprising resumes on Tuesday.

The focus will be on how the former president and his allies vigorously lobbied officials in key battleground states with plans to reject ballots or tallies from entire states to overturn the results. of the 2020 presidential election.

Additionally, the panel will highlight how Trump knew his relentless pressure campaign could potentially provoke violence against state and local officials and their families, but pursued it anyway, according to a select committee aide.

“We will show brave state officials who stood up and said they would not go along with this plan to recall legislatures in session or uncertify the results for Joe Biden,” Rep. Adam Schiff said. D-Calif., one of the Democratic members of the committee, told CNN on Sunday.

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The hearing, the panel’s fourth this month, is the latest effort to delve into Trump’s unprecedented bid to stay in power, a sprawling ploy that the Jan. 6 committee chairman likened to an “attempt to Rebellion”. look at how Trump relied on Raffensperger to invalidate ballots voters cast for Biden.And then he appealed to state lawmakers in Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania and other disputed states to reject the election results of their own constituents.

Although the committee cannot charge Trump with any crime, the Justice Department is closely monitoring the panel’s work. Trump’s actions in Georgia also come under scrutiny. grand jury investigationand the district attorney is expected to announce his findings this year.

Raffensperger, Georgia’s top election official, rejected Trump’s request that he “find” enough votes to overturn Biden’s victory in the state – a request recorded in a phone call days before the Jan. 6 attack.

During the call, Trump repeatedly cited refuted fraud allegations and raised the prospect of a “criminal offense” if Georgian officials did not change the vote count. The state had counted its votes three times before certifying Biden’s victory by a margin of 11,779.

Sterling, Raffensperger’s chief operating officer, has become a notable figure in Georgia’s lengthy post-election count and presidential ballot recount, with his regular updates often broadcast live in a divided nation. At one point, the soft-spoken Republican implored Americans to tone down the heated rhetoric.

“Death threats, physical threats, intimidation – it’s too much, it’s not right,” said Sterling, a Republican.

Bowers is expected to discuss the pressure he faced to overturn the Arizona results – demands from Trump advisers that the Republican head of state called Monday “juvenile.”

In a interview with the Associated Press after arriving in Washington ahead of the hearing, Bowers said he should be asked about a call with Trump in which attorney Rudy Giuliani floated the idea of ​​replacing Arizona voters with those who would vote for Trump.

Bowers also revealed a second phone call with Trump in December 2020 which he said was mostly a casual conversation, although Trump also referenced their first conversation.

On Tuesday, Wandrea “Shay” Moss, one of two Georgian election workers who also testified sued for defamation in December 2020 against a conservative site. Moss claimed One America News Network falsely spread allegations that she and her mother engaged in voter fraud during the election.

The trial, which was settled in Aprilalso names Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani as a strong supporter of the baseless claim, which the mother and daughter say has led to intense harassment, both in person and online.

The select committee also plans on Tuesday to unravel the elaborate “fake voters” scheme that was intended to halt Biden’s election victory. The plan saw fake voters in seven battlegrounds – Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Nevada and New Mexico – sign certificates falsely stating that Trump, not Biden, had won their states.

Conservative law professor John Eastman, Trump’s attorney, pushed fake voters in the weeks following the election. Trump and Eastman summoned hundreds of voters in a January 2, 2021 call, encouraging them to send alternative voters from their states where Trump’s team alleged fraud.

The fake voter certificates were produced and mailed to the National Archives and Congress. But the effort ultimately failed, as Vice President Mike Pence refused repeated requests from Trump to stop certifying Biden’s victory on January 6, 2021 – a power he did not possess in his purely ceremonial role. .

The committee says it will also show on Tuesday that it has gathered enough evidence through its more than 1,000 interviews and tens of thousands of documents to link the various efforts to overturn the election directly to Trump.

At least 20 people linked to the fake voter scheme have been subpoenaed by the House panel, including former Trump campaign staff, state party officials and state lawmakers.

“We will show in a hearing what the role of the president was in trying to get states to nominate alternative voter lists, how this scheme initially depended on the hope that the legislatures would reconvene and bless him” , Schiff said.

Schiff told the Los Angeles Times on Monday that the hearing will also delve into the “intimate role” former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows had in the plot to pressure lawmakers and election officials. of the state of Georgia.

Raffensperger’s public testimony comes weeks after he appeared before a special grand jury in Georgia, which is investigating whether Trump and others unlawfully tried to interfere in the state’s 2020 election.

In retaliation for Raffensperger’s refusal to support his election lies, Trump recruited a primary challenger in an effort to impeach him. But Raffensperger narrowly withheld the threat in the primary last month, leaving him in a position to compete with a Democrat in the general election.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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