Jun 14, 2022
January 6th Committee Second Public Hearing 6/13/22 Transcript
The House committee looking into the Jan. 6 attack at the Capitol holds its second hearing with witness testimony to make public the committee’s findings after a year of investigations. Read the transcript here.
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Speaker 1: (06:18)
He’s so serious.
Speaker 2: (06:51)
And we’re live at the Cannon House Office Building waiting for the second January 6th Select Committee hearing to begin. Among the witnesses today, former Fox News political editor, Chris Stirewalt. Today’s hearing was supposed to start about 30 minutes ago, but one of the witnesses had to cancel due to a family emergency. That was former Trump campaign manager, William Stepien. Now expecting the hearing to start in about 15 minutes, 10:45 AM Eastern time. If you do step away from your TV today, you can continue watching the January 6th Committee Hearing on the go with the C-SPAN Now app. It’s our free mobile video app. And a reminder, the January 6th Committee Hearings and all of our C-SPAN programming is brought to you as a public service by these television companies, including Dish Network, Comcast and Charter.
Speaker 2: (19:04)
[inaudible 00:19:04] live coverage this morning from the Cannon House Office Building waiting for the second day of the January 6th Select Committee to begin. It’s the first of three hearings this week. Going to be hearing from witnesses today, tomorrow and Thursday. We’ll be showing each day’s hearing again in the evening on the C-SPAN networks, if you miss the live coverage during the day. Today testimony from former Fox News political editor, Chris Stirewalt. Due to a family emergency former Trump campaign manager, William Stepien will not be appearing as scheduled today. He was to testify under subpoena. Instead, his lawyer will be making a statement on his behalf. We’re expecting the hearing to get underway in about five minutes. If you do step away from your TV today, though, you can continue watching the January 6th Committee Hearing on the go with C-SPAN Now. It’s our free mobile video app. And a reminder, the January 6th Committee Hearings and all of C-SPAN’s programming is brought to you as a public service by these television companies, including Dish Network, Comcast and Charter.
Mr. Thompson: (25:27)
The Select Committee to investigate the January 6th attack on the United States Capital will be in order. Without objection, the chair’s authorized to declare the committee in recess at any point. Pursuant to House Deposition Authority Regulation 10, the chair announces the committee’s approval to release the deposition material presented during today’s hearing. Good morning. Last week, the Select Committee laid out a preview of our initial findings about the conspiracy overseen and directed by Donald Trump to overturn the results of the 2020 Presidential Election and block the transfer of power, a scheme unprecedented in American history. My colleagues and I don’t want to spend time talking about ourselves during these hearings, but as someone who’s run for office a few times, I can tell you at the end of a campaign, it all comes down to the numbers. The numbers tell you the winner and the loser. For the most part, the numbers don’t lie.
Mr. Thompson: (26:38)
But if something doesn’t add up with the numbers, you go to court to get resolution, and that’s the end of the line. We accept those results. That’s what it means to respect the rule of law. That’s what it means to seek elective office in our democracy because those numbers aren’t just numbers, they’re votes. They’re your votes. They’re the will and the voice of the people and the very least we should expect from any person seeking a position of public trust is the acceptance of the will of the people, win or lose. Donald Trump didn’t. He didn’t have the numbers. He went to court. He still didn’t have the numbers. He lost. But he betrayed the trust of American people. He ignored the will of the voters. He lied to his supporters and the country, and he tried to remain in office after the people had voted him out and the courts upheld the will of the people.
Mr. Thompson: (27:43)
This morning we’ll tell the story of how Donald Trump lost an election and knew he lost an election and as a result of his loss, decided to wage an attack on our democracy, an attack on American people, by trying to rob you of your voice in our democracy and in doing so, lit the fuse that led to the horrific violence of January 6th when a mob of his supporters stormed the Capital sent by Donald Trump to stop the transfer of power. Today, my colleague from California, Ms.Lofgren, and our witnesses will detail the Select Committee’s findings on these matters. But first, I will recognize our distinguished vice chair, Ms. Cheney of Wyoming for any opening statement she care to offer.
Ms. Cheney: (28:38)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Last week as the chairman noted, our committee began outlining a seven part plan overseen by President Trump to overturn the 2020 election. Today, we will begin looking at the initial part of that plan, President Trump’s effort 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. Eastman that there was no evidence of election fraud,” sufficient to overturn the 2020 Presidential Election. The court’s opinion methodically documents each of the principle reasons for that conclusion and I would urge all those watching to read it. Today we will begin to show the American people some of our evidence. Today you will hear much more from former Attorney General Bill Barr’s recorded testimony and you will hear in greater detail what others in the department told President Trump, that his claims of election fraud were nonsense.
Ms. Cheney: (29:59)
You will also hear much more from President Trump’s own campaign experts who had also concluded that his fraud claims could not be supported. Let me focus briefly on just three points now. First, you will hear firsthand testimony that the President’s campaign advisors urged him to await the counting of votes and not to declare victory on election night. The President understood even before the election, that many more Biden voters had voted by mail because President Trump ignored the advice of his campaign experts and told his supporters only to vote in person. Donald Trump knew before the election, that the counting of those mail-in ballots in several states would not begin until late in the day and would not be complete for multiple days. This was expected, reported, and widely known. You will also hear testimony that President Trump rejected the advice of his campaign experts on election night. And instead-
Ms. Cheney: (31:02)
… his campaign experts on election night and instead followed the course recommended by an apparently inebriated Rudy Giuliani, to just claim he won and insist that the vote counting stop, to falsely claim everything was fraudulent. He falsely told the American people that the election was not legitimate. In his words, quote, a major fraud. Millions of Americans believed him. Second, pay attention to what Donald Trump and his legal team said repeatedly about Dominion Voting machines, far flung conspiracies with a deceased Venezuelan communist allegedly pulling the strings. This was quote, complete nonsense as Bill Barr said. President Trump’s own campaign advisors, his Department of Justice and his cybersecurity experts all told him the same thing. Here, for example, is White House lawyer Eric Herschman. His view was shared by many of the Trump team whom we interviewed.
Eric Hershcman: (32:08)
I thought the Dominion stuff was… I never saw any evidence whatsoever to sustain those allegations.
Ms. Cheney: (32:17)
And third, as Mike Pence’s staff started to get a sense for what Donald Trump had planned for January 6th, they called the campaign experts to give them a briefing on election fraud and all the other election claims. On January 2nd, the general counsel of the Trump campaign, Matthew Morgan, this is the campaign’s chief lawyer, summarized what the campaign had concluded weeks earlier. That none of the arguments about fraud or anything else could actually change the outcome of the election.
Matthew Morgan: (32:53)
Generally discussed on that topic was whether the fraud, maladministration, abuse or irregularities, if aggregated and read most favorably to the campaign, would that be outcome determinative? And I think everyone’s assessment in the room, at least amongst the staff, Mark Short, myself, and Greg Jacob was that it was not sufficient to be outcome determinant.
Ms. Cheney: (33:24)
As is obvious, this was before the attack on the Capitol. The Trump campaign legal team knew there was no legitimate argument, fraud, irregularities, or anything to overturn the election. And yet President Trump went ahead with his plans for January 6th anyway. Mr. Chairman hundreds of our countrymen have faced criminal charges. Many are serving criminal sentences because they believed what Donald Trump said about the election and they acted on it. They came to Washington, D.C. At his request. They marched on the Capitol at his request. And hundreds of them besieged and invaded the building at the heart of our constitutional Republic. As one conservative editorial board put it recently, quote, Mr. Trump betrayed his supporters by conning them on January 6th and he is still doing it. Another conservative editorial board that has long supported President Trump said last week, Donald Trump, quote, won’t stop insisting that 2020 was stolen, even though he has offered no proof that is true. And this. Donald Trump now quote, clings to more fantastical theories, such as Dinesh D’Souza’s debunked 2000 Mules. Even as recounts in Arizona, Georgia, and Wisconsin confirm Trump lost.
Ms. Cheney: (34:57)
Those are the correct conclusions to draw from the evidence gathered by this committee. We have much more evidence to show the American people on this point than we can reasonably show in one hearing. But today we will begin. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back.
Mr. Thompson: (35:16)
Without objection the chair recognizes gentlewoman from California, Ms. Lofgren, for an opening statement.
Ms. Lofgren: (35:24)
Well thank you, Mr. Chairman, in our opening hearing, we gave an overview of our investigation into the January 6th attack. The plot to overthrow the election was complex and had many parts which we’ll explore in remaining hearings. But today we examine the false narrative that the 2020 election was quote, stolen. Former President Trump’s plan to overturn the election relied on a sustained effort to deceive millions of Americans with knowingly false claims of election fraud. All elements of the plot relied on convincing his supporters about these false claims.
Ms. Lofgren: (36:03)
Today we’ll demonstrate that 2020 election was not stolen. The American people elected President Joe Biden. We’ll present evidence that Mr. Trump’s claims of election fraud were false, that he and his closest advisors knew those claims were false, but they continued to pedal them anyway, right up until the moments before a mob of Trump supporters attacked the Capitol.
Ms. Lofgren: (36:29)
We’ll also show that the Trump campaign used these false claims of election fraud to raise hundreds of millions of dollars from supporters who were told their donations were for the legal fight in the courts. But the Trump campaign didn’t use the money for that. The big lie was also a big rip off. The former president laid the groundwork for these false claims well in advance of the election. As early as April, 2020, Mr. Trump claimed that the only way he could lose an election would be as a result of fraud.
Donald Trump: (37:06)
Do you know the things with bundling and all of the things that are happening with votes by mail, where thousands of votes are gathered, and I’m not going to say which party does it, but thousands of votes are gathered and they come in and they’re dumped in a location. And then all of a sudden you lose elections that you think you’re going to win.
Donald Trump: (37:25)
The only way we’re going to lose this election is if the election is rigged. Remember that. It’s the only way we’re going to lose this election.
Donald Trump: (37:33)
This is going to be a fraud like you’ve never seen. Did you see what’s going on? Take a look at West Virginia. Mailman selling the ballots. They’re being sold. They’re being dumped in rivers. This is a horrible thing for our country.
Joe Biden: (37:46)
There is no-
Donald Trump: (37:46)
This is not-
Joe Biden: (37:47)
There is no evidence of that.
Donald Trump: (37:47)
This is not going to end well.
Ms. Lofgren: (37:51)
Mr. Trump decided even before the election, that regardless of the facts and the truth, if he lost the election, he would claim it was rigged. Mr. Trump was right about one thing. It did not end well. On election night, Mr. Trump claimed even before the votes were counted, that his loss was a result of fraud. Now, Thursday, we had testimony from Attorney General Barr about the Department of Justice investigation of Mr. Trump’s fraud claims. Barr told Trump directly that his claims were BS, yet after hearing the truth and that warning from the AG, Mr. Trump continued to pedal the false claims of fraud. You’ll hear detailed testimony from Attorney General Barr describing the various election fraud claims the Department of Justice investigated. He’ll tell you how he told Mr. Trump repeatedly that there was no merit to those claims. Mr. Barr will tell us that Mr. Trump’s election night claims of fraud were made without regard to the truth and before it was even possible to look for evidence of fraud.
Ms. Lofgren: (39:03)
Attorney General Barr wasn’t alone. You’ll see and hear today other Department of Justice officials and senior advisors to Mr. Trump, that they told him that claims he was making were not supported by evidence. The election fraud claims were false. Mr. Trump’s closest advisors knew it. Mr. Trump knew it. That didn’t stop him from pushing the false claims and urging his supporters to quote, fight like hell to quote, take back their country.
Ms. Lofgren: (39:35)
After he lost the election, various legal challenges were made. You’ll hear testimony today from a renowned Republican election litigation lawyer who explained the normal process by which candidates challenge an election. Rather than accept the results of the election and the decisions of the courts, Mr. Trump pursued a different strategy. He tried to convince the American people the election had been stolen. Many of his supporters believed him and many still believe him today. The attack on January 6th was a direct and predictable result of Mr. Trump’s decision to use false claims of election fraud to overturn the election and to cling to power. Mr. Chairman, I yield back.
Mr. Thompson: (40:26)
Thank you very much. I now welcome our first witness. We’re joined today by former Fox News politics editor, Chris Stirewalt. Bill Stepien, President Trump’s former campaign manager was subpoenaed to be here and was in Washington this morning prepared to testify. Kevin Marino, Mr. Stepien’s attorney, is here with us today. Thank you, Mr. Marino for coming. And he has advised us that Mr. Stepien’s wife went into labor this morning. Mr. Stepien unexpectedly had to travel to be with his wife, and we wish him the best.
Mr. Thompson: (41:12)
Due to the depth and rigor of our investigation, we’ve several hours of Mr. Stepien’s testimony from when we interviewed him in February and we will be presenting that testimony today. I’ll now swear in our witness. The witness will please stand and raise his right hand. Do you swear or affirm under penalty of perjury that the testimony you’re about to give is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God. Thank you. You may be seated. Let the record reflect the witness answered in the affirmative. I now recognize myself for questions. I want to start by showing a video that tells the story of what was going on in the Trump White House on election night, in November of 2020.
Speaker 6: (42:10)
Do you remember where you were on the night of the election? November the third?
Ivanka Trump: (42:15)
I was at the White House.
Speaker 6: (42:17)
Do you know where specifically over the course of that night you spent your time within the White House?
Ivanka Trump: (42:24)
There was an event that was organized in the residence. So I moved between the residence, a room sort of off the residence, where some family members were.
Speaker 6: (42:40)
I take it the president was upstairs in the residence.
Jared Kushner: (42:43)
He was upstairs. We were kind of on the first floor. So not upstairs. We were with mostly with Ivanka and her brothers and a couple other people who’d be coming in and out.
Speaker 3: (42:53)
Can you just describe the atmosphere? What were people expecting that night when you got to the White House?
Jason MIller: (42:58)
I think that there was, typically for people who show up there on election night, it’s going to be a self-select, more positive environment. I think people were a little bit nervous not knowing what was going to happen with the red wave or the red mirage as the debate was being carried out.
Speaker 4: (43:20)
The Fox News decision desk is calling Arizona for Joe Biden. That is a big get for the Biden campaign.
Speaker 3: (43:29)
Arizona’s called. Do you remember that?
Bill Stepien: (43:31)
Speaker 3: (43:32)
What do you remember happening where you were when Arizona was called?
Bill Stepien: (43:42)
There was surprise at the call.
Speaker 3: (43:46)
Who was surprised?
Bill Stepien: (43:49)
Most everyone in the room.
Speaker 3: (43:50)
Were you being one of them?
Bill Stepien: (43:53)
Speaker 3: (43:53)
Did that shift the atmosphere or the attitude in the White House?
Jason MIller: (43:58)
Speaker 3: (44:00)
How so? Can you describe that?
Jason MIller: (44:02)
Because Fox News was the first one to go out and say that.
Speaker 3: (44:06)
So was it anger kind of directed towards Fox News for making a call more so than a disappointment that maybe the campaign lost Arizona?
Jason MIller: (44:17)
All the above.
Speaker 3: (44:19)
So both, and grand disappointment.
Jason MIller: (44:24)
Both disappointment with Fox and concerned that maybe our data or our numbers weren’t accurate.
Speaker 5: (44:33)
Were you in the White House residence during the, sort of past midnight into the early morning hours of November 4th?
Rudy Giuliani: (44:42)
Yes. Oh, sure. It went over beyond midnight. Yes.
Speaker 3: (44:45)
Do you remember Rudy Giuliani being at the White House on election night and into the early hours the next morning?
Bill Stepien: (44:52)
Speaker 3: (44:53)
What do you remember about when he came?
Bill Stepien: (44:55)
I had heard that he was upstairs in that aforementioned reception area. And he was looking to talk to the president and it was suggested instead that he’d come talk to several of us down off the map room.
Speaker 3: (45:28)
You said that you had heard that Mr. Giuliani wanted to talk to the president and then he was directed your way. Did you end up talking to Mr. Giuliani when he was directed [inaudible 00:45:36]?
Bill Stepien: (45:36)
Speaker 3: (45:36)
What was that conversation?
Bill Stepien: (45:38)
A lot of conversations were directed my way. A few of us, myself, Jason Miller, Justin Clark, and Mark Meadows gathered in a room off the map room to listen to whatever Rudy presumably wanted to say to the president.
Speaker 7: (46:03)
Was there anyone in that conversation who in your observation had had too much to drink?
Jason MIller: (46:12)
Speaker 7: (46:14)
Tell me more about that. What was your observation about his potential intoxication during that discussion about what the president should say when he’s addressed the nation on election night?
Jason MIller: (46:28)
The mayor was definitely intoxicated, but I do not know that his level of intoxication when he spoke with the president, for example.
Speaker 5: (46:37)
Were you part of any discussions with the people I mentioned, Mr. Stepien and Mr. Meadows or anyone else about whether the president should make any sort of speech on election night?
Rudy Giuliani: (46:53)
I mean, I spoke to the president. They may have been present, but spoke to the president several times that night.
Jason MIller: (47:03)
There were suggestions by, I believe was mayor Giuliani to go and declare victory and say that we’d won it outright.
Bill Stepien: (47:11)
It was far too early to be making any calls like that. Ballots were still being counted. Ballots were still going to be counted for days. And it was far too early to be making any proclamation like that.
Jason MIller: (47:29)
I remember saying that, to the best of my memory, I was saying that we should not go and declare victory until we had a better sense of the numbers.
Speaker 3: (47:41)
Okay. Can you be more specific about that conversation in particular, what mayor Giuliani said, your response, and then anybody else in the room’s response?
Jason MIller: (47:50)
I think effectively Mayor Giuliani was saying we want it. They’re stealing it from us. Where did all the votes come from? We need to go say that we won. And essentially that anyone who didn’t agree with that position was being weak.
Speaker 6: (48:08)
What was your view at the time as to what he should or shouldn’t say?
Ivanka Trump: (48:17)
I don’t know that I had a firm view as to what he should say in that circumstance. The results were still being counted. It was becoming clear that the race would not be called on election night.
Bill Stepien: (48:36)
My belief, my recommendation, was to say that votes were still being counted. It’s too early to tell, too early to call the race. But proud of the race we ran and we think we’re in good position. And we’ll have more to say about this the next day or the next day, whenever we had something to say.
Speaker 3: (49:12)
And did anybody who was a part of that conversation, disagree with your message?
Bill Stepien: (49:17)
Speaker 3: (49:18)
Who was that?
Bill Stepien: (49:20)
The president disagreed with that. I don’t recall the particular words. He thought I was wrong. He told me so. And he was going to go in a different direction.
Donald Trump: (49:35)
This is a fraud on the American public. This is an embarrassment to our country. We were getting ready to win this election. Frankly, we did win this election. [inaudible 00:49:48].
Mr. Thompson: (49:48)
Mr. Stirewalt, did President Trump have any basis to declare victory on November 4th, 2020? Thank you. Mr. Stepien also testified that President Trump had no basis for declaring victory at that point in time.
Bill Stepien: (50:24)
My belief, my recommendation was to say that votes were still being counted. It’s too early to tell, too early to call the race. But proud of the race we ran and we think we’re in good position. And we’ll have more to say about this the next day or the next day, whenever we had something to say.
Mr. Thompson: (51:04)
Thank you. Mr. Stirewalt, after the votes were counted, who won the presidential election of 2020?
Chris Stirewalt: (51:14)
Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. of the great state of Delaware.
Mr. Thompson: (51:19)
Thank you. That’s the bottom line. We’ve had an election. Mr. Trump lost. But he refused to accept the results of the democratic process pursuant to section 5C8 of House Resolution 503. I now recognize the gentlewoman from California, Ms. Lofgren, for questions.
Ms. Lofgren: (51:40)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Stirewalt, I’d like you to explain a term that was thrown around a lot during the election and that’s the so-called red mirage. What does that mean?
Chris Stirewalt: (51:56)
So in the 40 or 50 years, let’s say, that Americans have increasingly chosen to vote by mail or early or absentee, Democrats prefer that method of voting more than Republicans do. So basically in every election Republicans win election day and Democrats win the early vote. And then you wait and start counting. And it depends on which ones you count first, but usually it’s election day votes that get counted first. And you see the Republican shoot ahead. And then the process of bailing and binding and unbinding all those mail-in votes. And some states like Pennsylvania refuse to count the votes first. So you have to wait for all of that to come in. So in every election, certainly a national election, you expect to see the Republican with a lead, but it’s not really a lead. When you put together a jigsaw puzzle, it doesn’t matter which piece you put in first. It ends up with the same image.
Chris Stirewalt: (52:52)
So for us, who cares? But that’s because no candidate had ever tried to avail themself of this quirk in the election counting system. We had gone to pains and I’m proud of the pains we went to, to make sure that we were informing viewers that this was going to happen because the Trump campaign and the president had made it clear that they were going to try to exploit this anomaly. And we knew it was going to be bigger because the percentage of early votes was higher, right? We went from about 45% of the votes being early and absentee to, because of the pandemic, that increased by about 50%. So we knew it would be longer. We knew it would be more. So 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.”
Ms. Lofgren: (53:39)
So this red mirage, that’s really what you expected to happen on election night?
Chris Stirewalt: (53:44)
Happens every time.
Ms. Lofgren: (53:46)
Thank you, Mr. Stirewalt. I’d like to play a clip of Attorney General Bill Barr, who also explains what was expected to happen on election night.
Bill Bar: (53:59)
Right out of the box on election night, the president claimed that there was major fraud underway. I mean, this happened as far as I could tell, before there was actually any potential of looking at evidence. And it seemed to be based on the dynamic that at the end of the evening, a lot of Democratic votes came in, which changed the vote counts in certain states. And 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.
Ms. Lofgren: (54:41)
Mr. Stepien obviously could not be with us today and it’s proper for him to be with his wife as they welcome their child. But he also had discussions with the president about the red mirage. That is that it would be a long night and that early votes would favor him, but lots more votes would be counted over the course of the night and the days after. So let’s play clip one from our interview with Mr. Stepien.
Bill Stepien: (55:17)
I recounted back to that conversation with him in which I said, just like I said in 2016 was going to be a long night. I told him in 2020 that it was going to be a process again, as the early returns are going to be positive and we’re going to be watching the returns of ballots as they rolled in thereafter.
Speaker 3: (55:45)
Is it fair to say, you’re trying to present what you thought would be a realistic picture of what might happen over the course of that night being election night?
Bill Stepien: (55:54)
That night and the days that followed. Yeah. I always told the president the truth and I think he expected that from me and I told him it was going to be a process. It was going to be… We had to wait and see how this turned out. So just like I did in 2016, I did the same thing in 2020.
Ms. Lofgren: (56:26)
So let’s watch a short clip of President Trump speaking after he received that information from his campaign advisors.
Donald Trump: (56:38)
We want all voting to stop. We don’t want them to find any ballots at four o’clock in the morning and add them to the list.
Ms. Lofgren: (56:49)
So when former President Trump said that, it contradicted what his advisors had warned would happen. We all know that mail-in ballots played an important role in the 2020 election. However, President Trump continuously discouraged mail-in voting. Mr. Stepien was so concerned about the president’s position on mail-in voting that in the summer of 2020, he met with President Trump, along with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Let’s play clip four.
Bill Stepien: (57:23)
… meeting that was had in particular. I invited Kevin McCarthy to join the meeting. He being of like mind on the issue with me in which we made our case for why we believed mail-in balloting, mail-in voting not to be a bad thing for his campaign. But the president’s mind was made up. And he understands how many times to go to the well on a particular topic.
Speaker 7: (58:12)
Yeah, I understand. Tell me a little bit more about the argument that you and Mr. McCarthy made to the president in that meeting as to why it wasn’t a bad thing that mail-in voting was available.
Bill Stepien: (58:26)
Largely two pillars to that argument, both of which I’ve previously mentioned. One leaving a good deal to chance. Pushing or urging your voters to vote only on election day leaves a lot to chance. That’s A. And B, also previously mentioned, the fact that the Trump campaign, Republican National Committee, Republican Party had an advantage of grassroots workers and volunteers on the ground that would allow an advantage to enhance return rates of ballots that were mailed. Those were the two pillars of the argument.
Speaker 7: (59:10)
I see. And what, if anything, do you recall Representative McCarthy saying during that meeting?
Bill Stepien: (59:17)
We were echoing the same argument. His words echoed mine and vice versa on those two topics.
Ms. Lofgren: (59:27)
Mr. Stirewalt, you were at the decision desk at Fox News on election night, and you called Arizona early for President Biden, which was controversial. How did you make that call and where did you think the race stood in the early hours of the next day?
Chris Stirewalt: (59:45)
Well, it was really controversial to our competitors who we beat so badly by making the correct call first. Our decision desk was the best in the business, and I was very proud to be a part of it because we had partnered with the Associated Press and the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago thanks to my colleague and friend [inaudible 01:00:08] had built a wonderful device for forecasting the outcomes of elections. So we had a different set of data than our competitors did. We had more research and we had a better system and we had a great team. So what you’re waiting to see is do the actual votes match up with the expectations in the poll? The real votes are testing the quality of your poll in targeted precincts and in targeted places. And let me tell you, our poll in Arizona was beautiful and it was doing just what we wanted it to do, and it was cooking up just right.
Chris Stirewalt: (01:00:39)
And at some point, and I forget exactly who, but at some point it became clear that Arizona was getting ready to make a call. So we around, my boss, Bill salmon said we’re not making any call until everybody says yes. Because that was always our policy, unanimity. And you have to understand in this room, you have the best. People from academia, Democrats, Republicans, a broad cross section of people who had worked together for a decade who were really serious about this stuff.
Chris Stirewalt: (01:01:12)
So we knew it would be a consequential call because it was one of five states that really mattered, right? Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona were the ones that we were watching. We knew it would be significant to call any one of those five, but we already knew Trump’s chances were very small and getting smaller, based on what we had seen.
Chris Stirewalt: (01:01:29)
So we were able to make the call early. We were able to beat the competition. We looked around the room. Everybody says yay. And on we go. And by the time we found out how much everybody was freaking out and losing their minds over this call, we were already trying to call the next state. We had already moved on. We were into Georgia. We were into North Carolina. We were looking at these other states. So we thought it was… We were pleased, but not surprised.
Ms. Lofgren: (01:01:56)
I see. After the election, as of November 7th in your judgment, what were the-
Ms. Lofgren: (01:02:03)
… Or seventh. In your judgment, what were the chances of President Trump winning the election?
Chris Stirewalt: (01:02:07)
After that point?
Ms. Lofgren: (01:02:08)
Chris Stirewalt: (01:02:09)
None. I mean, I guess it’s always possible that you could have a truckload of ballots be found somewhere, I suppose. But once you get into this space… Ahead of today, I thought about what are the largest margins that could ever be overturned by a recount and the normal kind of stuff that we heard Mike Pence talking about, sounding like a normal Republican that night when he said, “We’ll keep every challenge.” Nothing like that… In a recount, you’re talking about hundreds of votes. When we think about calling a race, one of the things that we would think about is it outside the margin of a recount?
Chris Stirewalt: (01:02:47)
And when we think about that margin, we think about… In modern history, you’re talking about a thousand votes, 1,500 votes at the way, way outside. Normally you’re talking about hundreds of votes, maybe 300 votes that are going to change. So the idea that through any normal process in any of these states… Remember he had to do it twice, right? He needed three of these states to change. And in order to do that, I mean, you’re better off to play the Powerball than to have that come in.
Ms. Lofgren: (01:03:18)
On November 7th, the other major news outlets called the race for President Biden. Now, Mr. Stepien told the Committee that he thought the odds were, and this is a quote, “Very, very, very bleak,” and held a meeting with the President that same day. Let’s show clip eight, video clip eight.
Bill Stepien: (01:03:41)
With each day that wore on, I mean, the trajectory of the race on election night, Trump ahead in many states… And as that week wore on, as the third became the fourth became the fifth and so on and so forth, and the vote by mail ballots were tabulated, Trump’s lead grew more narrow and in some places Biden surpassed Trump in the vote totals. So as the week wore on, as we paid attention to those numbers multiple times a day, internally I was feeling less confident for sure.
Speaker 8: (01:04:24)
What was your view on the state of the election at that point?
Bill Stepien: (01:04:29)
You know, very, very, very bleak. We told him, the group that went over there outlined my belief in chances for success at this point. And then we pegged it at 5%, maybe 10%, based on recounts that either were automatically initiated or could be initiated based on realistic legal challenges, not all the legal challenges that eventually were pursued. But my belief is that it was a very, very… I mean, 5% to 10%, it’s not a very good optimistic outlook.
Ms. Lofgren: (01:05:19)
Now, as President Trump and others continued to claim that the election was stolen, there were lawyers who were a part of the campaign, campaign lawyers, who were responsible for investigating the fraud claims. That includes Alex Cannon, who could not validate the claims that were being made including those being made by the P)resident. Let’s roll video 15… 13.
Speaker 8: (01:05:50)
This is an email. It’s two emails, actually. The first is from Alex Cannon to you and Faith McPherson. And then you forward that email onto Mark Meadows, Justin Clark, and Jason Miller, the subject being AZ Federal ID voters. If you look at the original email there, it says, “Bill, we completed the AZ analysis you requested,” I assume that’s about Arizona, “And because of the substantial uncertainty surrounding the databases, this is a highly unreliable way to identify ineligible voters.” Can you explain the task that you gave to Ms. Cannon for this Arizona analysis?
Bill Stepien: (01:06:34)
Sure. Previously, I described some of my frustration with some of the claims that people would throw at President Trump regarding, “Need to look at this. This happened in this state or that happened in that state.” And those would flow to us to look into. I talked about that before, I think.
Speaker 8: (01:07:00)
Bill Stepien: (01:07:01)
You know, this is an example of that. I recall in Arizona, someone had thrown out, I believe this to be the claim, that there were thousands of illegal citizens, people not eligible to vote, having cast their balance in Arizona. Someone had thrown out that claim to President Trump. And with the margins being as close as they were, as I previously described, that could potentially matter. So this wild claim is thrown out, which on its face didn’t seem realistic or possible to me. I asked Alex to look at the claim. And I haven’t read this full email, but I recall the response to that, the reality of that was not illegal citizens voting in the election. I think it was overseas voters voting in the election, so obviously, people who were eligible to vote.
Ms. Lofgren: (01:08:17)
When these findings were passed up the chain to President Trump, he became frustrated and he replaced the campaign’s legal team. Let’s play clip 14.
Bill Stepien: (01:08:34)
I think the president, it was during the second week, where things you displayed were occurring where he was growing increasingly unhappy with his team. Me less so because I was less involved at this point, but still me. Growing increasingly unhappy with Justin Clark and that paved the way for Justin to be moved out and Mayor Giuliani to be moved in as the person in charge of the legal side of the campaign, and for all intents and purposes, the campaign at that point.
Ms. Lofgren: (01:09:14)
Now, when Mr. Stepien became campaign manager, he was the second Trump campaign manager for the 2020 race and there were only about 115 days until election day. So let’s play the video.
Bill Stepien: (01:09:36)
I inherited a campaign that was… The day I was hired was, I believe, President Trump’s low point in the 2020 daily average polling against President Biden. It was a campaign at a low point in the polls. It was structurally and fiscally deficient. There was a great deal wrong with the campaign in both of those areas. So most of my day spent fixing what… And I think I took over with 115 days left in the campaign… Most of my time spent fixing the things that could be fixed with 115 days left in the campaign.
Ms. Lofgren: (01:10:26)
Now, Mr. Stepien has been in the campaign field for a long time, and he worked for lots of different candidates and campaigns. He testified to this Committee about his concerns given the claims that Mr. Giuliani and Ms. Powell and their team were making publicly. Let’s play clip 15.
Speaker 9: (01:10:53)
Okay. And was it important for you Mr. Stepien to pull back just for your own professional reputation? You didn’t want to be associated with some of what you were hearing from the Giuliani team and others that stepped in the wake of your departure?
Bill Stepien: (01:11:09)
I didn’t mind being categorized. There were two groups of them. We called them my team and Rudy’s team. I didn’t mind being characterized as being part of team normal as reporters started to do around that point in time. I said hours ago early on that I’ve been doing this for a long time, 25 years. And I’ve spanned political ideologies from Trump to McCain to Bush to Christie. And I can work under a lot of circumstances for a lot of varied candidates and politicians. But a situation where… And I think along the way, I’ve built up a pretty good, I hope a good, reputation for being honest and professional. And I didn’t think what was happening was necessarily honest or professional at that point in time. So yeah, that led to me stepping away.
Ms. Lofgren: (01:12:11)
So the President did get rid of team normal, and I’d like to play a clip showing that the President found the people he needed to perpetuate his claims of fraud.
Rudy Giuliani: (01:12:27)
They saw a big truck bringing in 100,000 ballots in garbage cans, in waste paper baskets, in cardboard boxes and in shopping baskets. And every single one of them was provided, because they were being notified by Smartmatic in Frankfurt that Biden was way behind and they better come up with a lot more ballots. And we can prove every single thing I just said.
Rudy Giuliani: (01:12:56)
If you gave me the paper ballots, I could probably turn around each one of these states. I’m absolutely convinced if you let me examine each one of those ballots, I’d pull out enough that were fraudulent, that it would shake the hell out of the country.
Sidney Powell: (01:13:13)
It can set and run an algorithm that probably ran all over the country to take a certain percentage of votes from President Trump and flip them to President Biden, which we might never have uncovered had the votes for President Trump not been so overwhelming in so many of these states that it broke the algorithm.
Sidney Powell: (01:13:33)
I remember that one of the things Mark said at some point was you can’t show an actual vote was flipped, which I found at the time to be a remarkable assertion because you don’t have to have the gun to see the body lying on the floor, bleeding out with five bullet holes in it, was killed by a gun.
Eric Herschmann: (01:14:07)
What they were proposing, I thought, was nuts. And the theory was also completely nuts, right? I mean, it was a combination of Italians, Germans. I mean, different things have been floating around as to who was involved. Remember Hugo Chavez and Venezuela and she has an affidavit from somebody who says they wrote a software in and something with the Philippines and… Just all over the radar.
Speaker 9: (01:14:31)
Did you ever share, Mr. Kushner, your view of Mr. Giuliani? Did you ever share your perspective about him with the president?
Jared Kushner: (01:14:42)
I guess… Yes.
Speaker 9: (01:14:50)
Tell me what you said.
Jared Kushner: (01:14:51)
Basically, “Not the approach I would take if I was you.”
Speaker 9: (01:14:54)
Okay. And how did he react? How did President Trump react when you shared that view with him?
Jared Kushner: (01:14:58)
He said, ” I have confidence in Rudy.”
Matt Morgan: (01:15:04)
I think I had conversations with probably all of our council who were signed up to assist on election day as they disengaged with the campaign.
Matt Morgan: (01:15:14)
The general consensus was that the law firms were not comfortable making the arguments that Rudy Giuliani was making publicly.
Matt Morgan: (01:15:28)
I seem to recall that I had a similar conversation with most all of them.
William Barr: (01:15:33)
I made it clear I did not agree with the idea of saying the election was stolen and putting out this stuff which I told the President was bull shit and I didn’t want to be a part of it. And that’s one of the reasons that went into me deciding to leave when I did.
Ms. Lofgren: (01:15:53)
Even Sidney Powell defending herself in a defamation lawsuit brought by Dominion Voting Systems argued that quote, “No reasonable person would conclude that her statements were truly statements of fact.” Mr. Chairman, I yield back.
Bennie Thompson: (01:16:13)
I thank the witness for joining us today. The first panel is now dismissed. Without objection, the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from California, Ms. Lofgren.
Ms. Lofgren: (01:16:42)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Last week we presented the testimony of former Attorney General Bill Barr, who testified before this committee. Today, we present additional evidence, including his testimony that former President Trump started making claims of election fraud immediately after the election and that Barr concluded the claims were untrue. Now, due to the length of Attorney General Barr’s testimony, we’re only going to include relevant portions at the hearing today. So let play the video.
William Barr: (01:17:23)
The department, in fact… When we received specific and credible allegations of fraud, made an effort to look into these to satisfy ourselves that they were without merit. And I was in the posture of trying to figure out… There was an avalanche of all these allegations of fraud that built up over a number of days. And it was like playing Whac-A-Mole because something would come out one day and then the next day it would be another issue. Also, I was influenced by the fact that all the early claims that I understood were completely bogus and silly and usually based on complete misinformation. And so I didn’t consider the quality of claims right out of the box to give me any feeling that there was really substance here.
Ms. Lofgren: (01:18:16)
For the first time since the election, the Attorney General spoke personally with the President on November 23rd. And this was at the White House. Let’s play the video please.
William Barr: (01:18:29)
So on November 23rd, I hadn’t spoken to the President since the election and in fact, as I said, since the middle of October roughly. And it was getting awkward because obviously he had lost the election and I hadn’t said anything to him. And so Cipollone said, “I think it’s time you come over here.” And so I came over to meet with the President in the Oval Office and Meadows and Cipollone were there. And the President… And this is leading up to this conversation with Kushner. The President said there had been major fraud and that as soon as the facts were out, the results of the election would be reversed. And he went on this for quite a while, as he is prone to do. And then he got to something that I was expecting, which is to say that apparently the Department of Justice doesn’t think that it has a role of looking into these fraud claims.
William Barr: (01:19:32)
So I said that has to be the campaign that raises that with the state. The Department doesn’t take side in elections and the Department is not an extension of your legal team. And our role is to investigate fraud. And we’ll look at something if it’s specific, credible, and could have affected the outcome of the election. And we’re doing that, and they’re just not meritorious, they’re not panning out. And as I walked out of the Oval Office, Jared was there with Dan Scavino who ran the president’s social media and who I thought was a reasonable guy and believe is a reasonable guy. And I said, “How long is he going to carry on with this stolen election stuff? Where’s this going to go?” And by that time, Meadows had caught up with me leaving the office and caught up with me and said, “Look, I think that he’s becoming more realistic and knows that there’s a limit to how far he can take this.” And then Jared said, “Yeah, we’re working on this. We’re working on it.”
Ms. Lofgren: (01:20:52)
Even after his Attorney General told him his claims of election fraud were false, President Trump continued to promote these claims.
William Barr: (01:21:06)
I felt that things continued to deteriorate between the 23rd and the weekend of the 29th. And then on November 29th, he appeared on Maria Bartiromo’s show, Sunday Futures, I believe it was. And he said that the Department was missing in action.
Donald Trump: (01:21:24)
No, we had glitches where they moved thousands of votes from my account to Biden’s account. And these are glitches. So they’re not glitches, they’re theft. They’re fraud, absolute fraud. This election was over. And then they did dumps. They call them dumps, big, massive dumps in Michigan, in Pennsylvania and all over. How the FBI and Department of Justice… I don’t know, maybe they’re involved. But how people are allowed to get away with this stuff is unbelievable.
Ms. Lofgren: (01:21:57)
Now spurred by what he saw, Barr told the Associated Press on December 1st that there was no evidence of election fraud. And immediately after Attorney General Barr’s statement went public, Mr. Trump berated and nearly fired Barr. But Barr persisted in telling the President that there was no evidence to support the fraud claims.
William Barr: (01:22:20)
This got under my skin, but I also felt it was time for me to say something. So I set up a lunch with the AP reporter, Mike Balsamo, and I told him at lunch… I made this statement that, “To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election.” I had a later meeting scheduled at the White House at three o’clock with Meadows. This was previously scheduled, so I knew this was going to come up. And I went over there and I told my secretary that I thought I would probably be fired and told him not to go home… I mean, not to go back to my office. So I said, “You might have to pack up for me.”
William Barr: (01:23:10)
And so when I got over there, I met with the Chief of Staff. He said the president was angry, he didn’t really get into the issue of the fraud. And then I went up to Pat Cipollone’s office and we were talking with each other and the word came down that he wanted us both to go to the Oval. And the President was as mad as I’ve ever seen him and he was trying to control himself. And 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.” And then he raised the big vote dump, as he called it, in Detroit, and that… He said, “People saw boxes coming into the counting station at all hours of the morning,” and so forth.
William Barr: (01:23:58)
And I explained to him that… At that point, I knew the exact number of precincts in Detroit. I think it was 630 something. I said, “Mr. President, there are 630 precincts in Detroit. And unlike elsewhere in the state, they centralize the counting process so they’re not counted in each precinct. They’re moved to counting stations. And so a normal process would involve boxes coming in at all different hours. So there’s nothing…” And I said, “Did anyone point out to you? Did all the people complaining about it point out to you you actually did better in Detroit than you did last time?” I mean, there’s no indication of fraud in Detroit. And I told him that the stuff that his people were shoveling out to the public was bull shit… I mean, that the claims of fraud were bull shit. And he was indignant about that.
William Barr: (01:24:52)
And I reiterated that they’d wasted a whole month on these claims on the Dominion voting machines, and they were idiotic claims. And I specifically raised the Dominion voting machines, which I found to be among the most disturbing allegations, disturbing in the sense that I saw absolutely zero basis for the allegations. But they were made in such a sensational way that they obviously were influencing a lot of people, members of the public, that there was this systemic corruption in the system and that their votes didn’t count and that these machines controlled by somebody else were actually determining it, which was complete nonsense. And it was being laid out there. And I told them that it was crazy stuff and they were wasting their time on that, and was doing a great, grave disservice to the country.
Ms. Lofgren: (01:25:52)
Okay. So the very next day, the President released a video rehashing some of the very same claims that his chief law enforcement officer had told him were, quote, “Nonsense.”
Donald Trump: (01:26:07)
Here’s an example. This is Michigan. At 6:31 in the morning, a vote dump of 149,772 votes came in unexpectedly. We were winning by a lot. That batch was received in horror.
Donald Trump: (01:26:35)
We have a company that’s very suspect. Its name is Dominion. With the turn of a dial or the change of a chip, you could press a button for Trump and the vote goes to Biden. What kind of a system is this?
Ms. Lofgren: (01:26:55)
Barr again told the President that there was nothing to these claims on December 14th.
William Barr: (01:27:05)
When I walked in, sat down, he went off on a monologue saying that there was now definitive evidence involving fraud through the Dominion machines, and a report had been prepared by a very reputable cybersecurity firm, which he identified as Allied Security Operations Group. And he held up the report and then he asked that a copy of it be made for me. And while a copy was being made, he said, “This is absolute proof that the Dominion machines were rigged. The report means that I’m going to have a second term.” And then he gave me a copy of the report. And as he talked more and more about it, I sat there flipping through the report and looking through it. And to be frank, it looked very amateurish to me, didn’t have the credentials of the people involved, but I didn’t see any real qualifications. And the statements were made very conclusory, like, “These machines were designed to engage in fraud,” or something to that effect. But I didn’t see any supporting information for it.
William Barr: (01:28:24)
And I was somewhat demoralized because I thought, “Boy, if he really believes this stuff, he has lost contact with, with… He’s become detached from reality if he really believes this stuff.” On the other hand, when I went into this and would tell them how crazy some of these allegations were, there was never an indication of interest in what the actual facts were. And my opinion then and my opinion now is that the election was not stolen by fraud. And I haven’t seen anything since the election that changes my mind on that, including the 2000 Mules movie.
Speaker 10: (01:29:16)
Maybe you can assess that 2000 Mules, since people are talking about that.
William Barr: (01:29:22)
Well, I mean, just in a nutshell, the GBI was unimpressed with it. And I was similarly unimpressed with it because I was holding my fire on that to see what the photographic evidence was, because I thought, “Well, hell if they have a lot of photographs of the same person dumping a lot of ballots in different boxes, that’s hard to explain.” So I wanted to see what the photographic evidence was. But the cell phone data is singularly unimpressive. I mean basically, if you take two million cell phones and figure out where they are physically in a big city like Atlanta or wherever, just by definition, you’re going to find many hundreds of them have passed by and spent time in the vicinity of these boxes. And the premise that if you go by five boxes or whatever it was, that it’s a mule is just indefensible. By definition, you’re going to have a lot, hundreds of this.
William Barr: (01:30:27)
I mean, I saw one contractor said, ” We figured out that our truck alone would account for six cell phone signals,” this was some kind of contractor, “And our route would take us by these things on a regular basis.” But then when the movie came out, I think the photographic evidence in it was completely lacking… I mean, there was a little bit of it, but it was lacking. It didn’t establish widespread illegal harvesting. The other thing is people don’t understand is that it’s not clear that even if you can show harvesting that that changes the results of the election. The courts are not going to throw out votes and then figure out what votes were harvested and throw them out. You instill the burden on the challenging party to show that illegal votes were cast, votes were the result of undue influence or bribes or the person was non compos mentis. But absent that evidence, I just didn’t see courts throwing out votes anyway.
William Barr: (01:31:42)
I felt that before the election, it was possible to talk sense to the President. And while you sometimes had to engage in a big wrestling match with him, that it was possible to keep things on track. But I felt that after the election, he didn’t seem to be listening. And I didn’t think that I was inclined not to stay around if he wasn’t listening to advice from me or his other cabinet secretaries.
Ms. Lofgren: (01:32:18)
So on December 14th, Barr quit. Now the Attorney General wasn’t the only person who told the President that his claims were false. Other officials and close advisors told him the same thing.
Jeffrey Rosen: (01:32:35)
Other than try to address a counterfactual or a hypothetical, let me just say there were instances where the President would say, “People are telling me this, or I’ve heard this, or I saw on television this impropriety in Atlanta or Pennsylvania or something.” And we were in a position to say how people have already looked at that and we know that you’re getting bad information, that’s not correct. It’s been-
Speaker 11: (01:33:02)
…that information, that that’s not correct. It’s been demonstrated to be incorrect, from our point of view, and been debunked.
Derek Lyons: (01:33:10)
A month and a half or so after the election day, and at that meeting various allegations of fraud were discussed. And Eric and Pat told the group, the president included, that none of those allegations had been substantiated to the point where they could be the basis for any litigation challenge to the election.
Ms. Lofgren: (01:33:49)
President Trump’s own vice president, and his top advisors also knew that there wasn’t evidence to support the claims that the president was making.
Speaker 12: (01:34:02)
Anyone else other than Mr. Meadows, who asked you about the status, outside of your legal group, Mr. Morgan and the others you mentioned, anyone else who asked you the status of what you were finding in your assessment of it?
Alex Cannon: (01:34:16)
Speaker 12: (01:34:18)
Alex Cannon: (01:34:19)
Speaker 12: (01:34:22)
When did you talk to Mr. Navarro?
Alex Cannon: (01:34:26)
Speaker 12: (01:34:29)
Around the same time as Mr. Meadows?
Alex Cannon: (01:34:32)
Speaker 12: (01:34:37)
And tell me about that conversation.
Alex Cannon: (01:34:40)
I recall him asking me questions about Dominion and maybe some other categories of, allegations of voter fraud. And I remember telling him that I didn’t believe the Dominion allegations because I thought the hand recount in Georgia would resolve any issues with a technology problem with Dominion, or Dominion flipping votes. And I mentioned at that time that the CISA, Chris Krebs had recently released a report saying that the election was secure. And I believe Mr. Navarro accused me of being an agent of the deep state, working with Chris Krebs against the President, and I never took another phone call from Mr. Navarro.
Speaker 12: (01:35:34)
Anyone else besides Mr. Meadows, Mr. Navarro, Mr. Hertzman, that you had discussions with inquiring about what you were finding in your review of the allegations that were pouring in?
Alex Cannon: (01:35:54)
I believe I had about a 15 second conversation with the Vice President about it as well.
Speaker 12: (01:35:59)
When was that?
Alex Cannon: (01:36:02)
During one of the visits to the White House, I don’t know which one. I think it was the first one in November. I had met him briefly at the campaign and he remembered me and saw me. And he asked what I was doing on the campaign and I told him that we were looking into some of the issues related to voter fraud. And he asked me, I don’t remember his exact words, but he asked me if we were finding anything, and I said that I was not personally finding anything sufficient to alter the results of the election. And he thanked me, and that was our interaction.
Ms. Lofgren: (01:36:54)
At a later hearing, you’ll hear live testimony from the former acting Deputy Attorney General of the Department of Justice, Rich Donoghue, but now I’d like to play a portion of his testimony.
Rich Donoghue: (01:37:09)
I tried to, again, put this in perspective and to try to put it in very clear terms for the president. And I said something to the effect of, “Sir, we’ve done dozens of investigations, hundreds of interviews, the major allegations are not supported by the evidence developed. We’ve looked in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Nevada, we’re doing our job, much of the info you’re getting is false.” And then I went into, “For instance, this thing from Michigan, this report about 68% error rate, the reality is it was only 0.0063% error rate, less than one in 15,000.”
Rich Donoghue: (01:37:50)
So the president accepted that, he said, “Okay, fine, but what about the others?” And again, this gets back to the point that there were so many of these allegations that when you gave him a very direct answer on one of them, he wouldn’t fight us on it, but he would move to another allegation. So then I talked a little bit about the Pennsylvania truck driver, this was another allegation that had come up. And this claim was by a truck driver who believed, perhaps honestly, that he had transported an entire tractor trailer truck full of ballots from New York to Pennsylvania. And this was, again, out there in the public and discussed. And I essentially said, “Look, we looked at that allegation, we looked at both ends, both the people who load the truck and the people unload the truck,” and that that allegation was not supported by the evidence.
Rich Donoghue: (01:38:52)
Again, he said, “Okay.” And then he said, “Note, I didn’t mention that one. What about the others?” And I said, “Okay, well, with regard to Georgia, we looked at the tape. We interviewed the witnesses. There is no suitcase.” The president kept fixating on this suitcase that supposedly had fraudulent ballots and that the suitcase was rolled out from under the table. And I said, “No, sir, there is no suitcase. You can watch that video over and over, there is no suitcase. There is a wheel bin where they carry the balances and that’s just how they move ballots around that facility. There’s nothing suspicious about that at all.” I told him that there was no multiple scanning of the ballots. One of the one part of that allegation was that they were taking one ballot and scanning it through three or four or five times to rack up votes, presumably for Vice President Biden. I told him that the video did not support that. Then he went off on double voting at the top of the next page. He said, “Dead people are voting. Indians are getting paid to vote.” He meant people on Native American reservations. He said, “There’s lots of fraud going on here.” Hold him flat out that much of the information he’s getting is false and/or just not supported by the evidence. We look at the allegations, but they don’t pan out.
Ms. Lofgren: (01:40:20)
Mr. Barr and his advisors were not the only ones who determined that the President’s allegations regarding Dominion voting machines were false. So Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent to include in the record of this hearing reports issued by the Department of Homeland Securities, Cyber Security and Infrastructure Security Agency, otherwise known as CISA, that addressed and rejected the claims of manipulation of voting machines in the 2020 election.
Mr. Thompson: (01:40:51)
Without objection, so ordered.
Ms. Lofgren: (01:40:53)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I also ask unanimous consent to include in the record, a report prepared by the Michigan Senate Oversight Committee that disproved claims of election fraud in Michigan, as well as a statement by 59 of the country’s leading election security scientist noting the absence of any credible evidence that the 2020 election had been altered through technical compromise, and five other reports from organizations and individuals confirming there was no widespread fraud in the 2020 election, or describing the spread of the former president’s lies.
Mr. Thompson: (01:41:34)
Without objections, sorted.
Ms. Lofgren: (01:41:36)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I yield back.
Mr. Thompson: (01:41:42)
Pursuant to the order of the committee for the day, the Chair declares the committee in recess for a period of approximately 10 minutes.
Speaker X: (01:41:52)
[inaudible 01:41:52]. I did. [inaudible 01:42:19]. Okay. [inaudible 01:42:32], you guys [inaudible 01:42:39] down. [inaudible 01:42:42].
Speaker 13: (01:42:46)
I’m going to stay, I’m just going to go to use the restroom. [inaudible 01:42:52].
Speaker X: (01:43:09)
Thank you for coming. [inaudible 01:43:09].
Speaker 14: (01:44:31)
Yeah. Yeah, no, I know. He called me. [inaudible 01:44:31].
Speaker 15: (01:46:39)
And the January 6th Select Committee taking a short break. Committee member, Zoe Lofgren, taking the lead today as they look at election fraud claims. Today’s the first of three hearings this week with others scheduled Wednesday and Thursday. We’ll also be showing the hearings in their entirety each night on the CSPAN networks. And if you have to be away from your TV during our live coverage, you can follow all of today’s hearing with our free video app, CSPAN Now. It’s available to download wherever you get your apps. And a reminder, the January 6th Committee hearing and all CSPAN programming is brought to you as a public service by these television companies, including Sparklight, WOW! And Verizon Fios.
Speaker X: (01:47:20)
Speaker 2: (01:47:20)
[inaudible 01:47:20] US Attorney of North Georgia, BJay Pak. He resigned his post January of 2021, after being told that the President was going to fire him [inaudible 01:48:10].
Speaker 15: (01:51:27)
And the second panel coming together now as the January 6th Committee hearings continue, we’ll also show you the hearings in their entirety each night. Tonight that’ll be at 9:00 PM Eastern on CSPAN. [inaudible 01:51:47].
Mr. Thompson: (01:55:29)
The committee will be in order. I now welcome our second panel of witnesses. We’re joined today by BJay Pak, Al Schmidt and Ben Ginsberg. Mr. Pak is a former United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia. Mr. Schmidt is a former city commissioner for the city of Philadelphia, where he served for more than 10 years. Mr. Ginsberg is one of the leading election law attorneys in the country and has represented Republican presidential candidates in election litigation dating back to 2000, where he represented George W. Bush in the Bush V. Gore litigation. I will now swear in our witnesses. Please stand and raise your right hand. Do you swear or affirm on the penalty of perjury that the testimony you’re about to give is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God? Thank you, please be seated. Let the record reflect the witnesses answered in the affirmative. Pursuant to section 5C8 of House Resolution 503, I now recognize the Gentlewoman from California, Ms. Lofgren for questions.
Ms. Lofgren: (01:57:01)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Before the break, I think you all heard Mr. Barr and Mr. Donoghue talk about the false claims that Mr. Trump and his supporters made about suitcases of fake ballots in Georgia. We have a witness here today who thoroughly investigated that issue. Mr. Pak, I want to thank you for appearing before us today. You are appointed by President Trump to serve as a US attorney for the Northern District of Georgia and you serve from 2017 until January of 2021. You were the lead federal prosecutor there and worked for the Department of Justice under then Attorney General Bill Barr. Now, were you ever asked by Attorney General Barr to investigate claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election? And if so, what were those claims?
BJay Pak: (01:57:53)
Thank you, Congressman Lofgren. Thank you for the question. Approximately December 4th, I believe, of 2020, Attorney General Barr and I had a conversation about an unrelated case to the case at issue. At the end of the conversation, Mr. Barr had asked me if I had seen a certain videotape that was being reported in the news where Mr. Giuliani in a Senate subcommittee hearing that was held the day before, May 3rd, showed a videotape of a, purportedly, a security tape at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, which is also in Fulton county in the city of Atlanta. I’m sorry, city of… Yes.
BJay Pak: (01:58:41)
At the time Mr. Barr asked me that he had made a public statement that he had not seen any widespread election fraud that would question the outcome of the election, and because of the videotape and the serious allegation that Mr. Giuliani was making with respect to the suitcase full ballots purported in the video, he asked me to find out what I could about it because he had envisioned that in some days after our call that he was going to go to the White House for a meeting and then that issue might come up. He asked me to make it a priority to get to the bottom of, just try to substantiate the allegation made by Mr. Giuliani.
Ms. Lofgren: (01:59:29)
Thank you. I understand that the Georgia Secretary of State’s office investigated those State Farm Arena allegations and didn’t find any evidence of fraud. What did you find when your office conducted its own investigation?
BJay Pak: (01:59:46)
We found that the suitcase full of ballots, the alleged black suitcase that was being seen pulled from under the table was actually an official lockbox where ballots were kept safe. We found out that there was a mistake in terms of it was misunderstanding that they were done counting ballots or tallying ballots for the night and the partisan watchers that was assigned by each of the respective parties were announced and sent home. But once they realized the mistake, someone from the Secretary of State’s Office had indicated that “No, no, no, we’re not done for the night. You need to go ahead and continue counting.” So once they packed up the lock box full of ballots, they brought back the official ballot box again and continued to tally the ballots from the lock box.
BJay Pak: (02:00:36)
Unfortunately, during the Senate hearing Mr. Giuliani only played a clip that showed them pulling out the official ballot box from under the table ,and referring to that as a smoking gun of fraud in Fulton County. But in actuality, in review of the entire video, it showed that that was actually an official ballot box that were kept underneath the tables and then we saw them pack up, because of the announcement that they thought they were done for the night, and then once the announcement was made that you should continue counting, they brought the ballot box back out and they continued to count. We interviewed, the FBI interviewed the individuals that are depicted in the videos that purportedly were double, triple counting of the ballots, and determined that nothing irregular happened in the counting and the allegations made by Mr. Giuliani were false.
Ms. Lofgren: (02:01:34)
Thank you very much. I’d like to play again a testimony from Mr. Donoghue, who appeared before the committee before today.
Speaker 16: (02:01:46)
Mr. Donoghue, we talked at some like about whether or not the White House or the President was informed about the Antrim report. On the results of the investigations, the interviews that had gone on, on Fulton County, how would those results have been communicated to the White House, to the President?
Rich Donoghue: (02:02:10)
I don’t know how they were initially communicated, I do know that they came up in subsequent conversations with the President and DAG Rosen and I essentially told him, we looked into that and it’s just not true.
Speaker 16: (02:02:21)
Okay, so he was informed?
Rich Donoghue: (02:02:24)
I told the President myself that several times in several conversations that these allegations about ballots being smuggled in a suitcase and run through the machines several times, it was not true. That we had looked at it, we looked at the video, we interviewed the witnesses, it was not true.
Ms. Lofgren: (02:02:42)
Mr. Pak, after you left the US Attorney’s Office on January 4th, 2021, did the next US Attorney there, I think Mr. Trump’s personal pick, Bobby Christine, did he investigate any remaining claims of fraud? And if so, did he find any evidence that supported the President’s claims of voter fraud?
BJay Pak: (02:03:04)
It is my understanding that Mr. Christine continued any investigations that were pending at the time of my departure, but he was unable to find any evidence of fraud that affected the outcome of the election.
Ms. Lofgren: (02:03:16)
So after investigating the Presidents and Mr. Giuliani’s claims about voter fraud in Georgia, is it your view today that there was no evidence of widespread fraud sufficient to undermine confidence in the outcome of the election in Georgia?
BJay Pak: (02:03:34)
That is correct.
Ms. Lofgren: (02:03:35)
Thank you, Mr. Pak. And I want to thank you also for the service that you’ve given to our country. We appreciate that. Next I’d like to turn to President Trump’s false allegations about election integrity in Philadelphia, the Attorney General discussed these allegations at some length.
Bill Barr: (02:03:56)
The idea the President has repeatedly suggested that there was some kind of out pouring off…
William Barr: (02:04:03)
He suggested that there was some kind of outpouring of unexpected votes in inner city areas, like Philadelphia, as recently as January 13th, when he walked off the NPR set. He was asked by the interviewer, “What’s your evidence of fraud?” He said, “More people voted in Philadelphia than there were voters.” That was absolute rubbish. The turnout in Philadelphia was in line with the state’s turnout. In fact, it was not as impressive as many suburban counties. There was nothing strange about the Philadelphia turnout. It wasn’t like there was all these unexpected votes that came out in Philadelphia.
William Barr: (02:04:46)
I think once you actually look at the votes and then there’s an obvious explanation, he, for example, in Pennsylvania, Trump ran weaker than the Republican ticket generally. He ran weaker than two of the state candidates. He ran weaker than the Congressional delegate, delegation running for federal Congress. He ran weaker than the Republic-, I think I haven’t looked at this recently, but he generally was a weak element on the Republican ticket, so that does not suggest that the election was stolen by fraud.
Speaker 17: (02:05:23)
How about Pennsylvania and Bill McSwain? You were talking to the US attorney in Philadelphia about an alleged discrepancy between the number of absentee ballots issued and the number of ballots cast.
William Barr: (02:05:33)
Right. That was one of the big ones for a period of time. I think that was raised in Gettysburg by Giuliani or something like that. But it kept on being repeated and I found it annoying because it didn’t seem that it was right. I called McSwain and he got back to me. He said, “No, the problem is that Mastriano threw out this number and what he did was he mixed apples and oranges. He took the number of applications for the Republican primary and he compared it to the number of absentee votes cast in the general election. But once you actually go and look and compare apples to apples, there’s no discrepancy at all.” I think at some point I covered that with the president.
Ms. Lofgren: (02:06:28)
We have another witness here today who has detailed knowledge about the election process in Philadelphia. Mr. Schmidt, at the time of the 2020 presidential election, you were serving as the only Republican member of Philadelphia’s three member city commission, which is responsible for overseeing elections throughout the city. Is that correct?
Al Schmidt: (02:06:51)
That’s correct, Congressperson.
Ms. Lofgren: (02:06:53)
President Trump made numerous claims regarding fraudulent voting practices in Philadelphia, including the claim that dead people were voting. In fact, Mr. Giuliani told Pennsylvania state legislators that 8,000 dead people voted in Pennsylvania. You investigated those claims of voter fraud, can you tell us what you found?
Al Schmidt: (02:07:16)
Not only was there not evidence of 8,000 dead voters voting in Pennsylvania, there wasn’t evidence of eight. We took seriously every case that was referred to us, no matter how fantastical and no matter how absurd and took every one of those seriously, including these.
Ms. Lofgren: (02:07:37)
As it turns out, even Mr. Trump’s campaign lawyers knew that the dead voter claims weren’t valid.
Rudy Giuliani: (02:07:46)
I guess the crooks in Philadelphia are disappointed in this. They only submitted 8,021 ballots from dead people. Male in ballots for dead people. It’s probably easier for dead people to submit mail-in ballots than it is to vote in person.
Eric Herschmann: (02:08:01)
Rudy was at this stage of his life and the same ability to manage things at this level or not. Obviously, I think Bernie Kerick publicly said it, they never proved the allegations that they were making and they were trying to develop.
Ms. Lofgren: (02:08:21)
Mr. Schmidt on November 11th, 2020 President Trump tweeted about you saying, and here’s a quote: “A guy named Al Schmidt, a Philadelphia commissioner and so-called Republican or rhino, is being used big time by the fake news media to explain how honest things were with respect to the election in Philadelphia. He refuses to look at a mountain of corruption, dishonesty. We win.” As a result of that tweet and the CNN interview you gave where you stated the dead voter claims in Pennsylvania were false, you and your staff were subjected to disturbing threats. Can you tell us about that?
Al Schmidt: (02:09:06)
The threats prior to that tweet, and on some level it feels almost silly to talk about a tweet, but we can really see the impact that they have because prior to that, the threats were pretty general in nature: “Corrupt election officials in Philadelphia are going to get what’s coming to them.” “You’re what the second amendment is for.” “You’re walking into the lion’s den.” All sorts of things like that.
Al Schmidt: (02:09:29)
After the president tweeted at me by name, calling me out the way that he did, the threats became much more specific, much more graphic and included not just me by name, but included members of my family by name, their ages, our address, pictures of our home. Just every bit of detail that you could imagine. That was what changed with that tweet
Ms. Lofgren: (02:09:59)
Behind me are redacted threats that you received, that you provided to the committee. Now we redacted portions of the text to protect your family.
Ms. Lofgren: (02:10:10)
Mr. Schmidt, I think I speak for all of my colleagues when I say we are deeply sorry for what you and your loved ones have been through. I also want to thank you for your service to your country and for standing up for the rule of law.
Ms. Lofgren: (02:10:27)
I want to thank both Mr. Pak and Mr. Schmidt for their service, their testimony, and for standing up for the rule of law.
Ms. Lofgren: (02:10:36)
Now I’d like to turn to another subject. The courts in our country provide a legitimate venue for campaigns to challenge what they view as IREG election practices. Now, courts have the final say on how the law applies to those challenges. We have a renowned legal expert here to address the Trump campaigns activities in court.
Ms. Lofgren: (02:11:06)
Mr. Ginsburg, you spent your entire career representing Republicans in election-related litigation. You served as the national council on Republican presidential campaigns in 2000, in 2004, and in 2012. You played a key role in the 2000 Florida recount that led to the Supreme Court’s decision in Bush v. Gore. You served as the co-chair of the presidential commission on election administration. I think it’s fair to say you’re the most prominent Republican lawyer who’s litigated in the election field.
Ms. Lofgren: (02:11:44)
Now you’ve analyzed the Trump campaigns litigation pretty carefully. What’s the normal process for post-election litigation? How is the Trump campaigns different from the kinds of post-election litigation you’ve been involved in and know about?
Ben Ginsberg: (02:12:03)
In the normal course of things, any campaign on the night of the election and in the days after, we all do a couple of different things. One is that they’ll analyze precinct results to look for abnormalities in the results and they’ll send people to those precincts to ask more questions. Secondly, all campaigns will have poll watchers and poll workers and observers in the polling place. Campaigns will talk to those people if they saw any irregularities that could cause problems in the election.
Ben Ginsberg: (02:12:42)
Now, the Trump campaign talked preelection about having 50,000 poll workers, so presumably they did have eyes on the ground in all these places. In the normal course of things, a campaign will analyze the reports that come in. Trump campaign had a couple of basic problems however. Number one, the 2020 election was not close. In 2000, that was 537 and close. In this election, the most narrow margin was 10,000 and something in Arizona. You just don’t make up those sorts of numbers in recounts.
Ben Ginsberg: (02:13:22)
When the claims of fraud and irregularities were made, you’ve heard very compelling testimony from Mr. Stepien, from Matt Morgan, from Alex Cannon about those claims and how they didn’t believe them. That put the Trump campaign on sort of a process of bringing cases without the actual evidence that you have to have and which the process is designed to bring out.
Ms. Lofgren: (02:13:54)
Are you aware of any instance in which a court found that Trump campaigns fraud claims to be credible?
Ben Ginsberg: (02:14:02)
No. There was never that instance in all the cases that were brought, and I’ve looked at the more than 60 that include more than 180 counts. No, the simple fact is that the Trump campaign did not make its case.
Ms. Lofgren: (02:14:19)
The select committee has identified 62 post-election lawsuits filed by the Trump campaign and his allies between November 4th, 2020 and January 6th, 2021. Those cases resulted in 61 losses and only a single victory, which actually didn’t affect the outcome for either candidate. Despite those 61 losses, President Trump and his allies claim that the courts refused to hear them out and, as a result, they never had their day in court.
Ms. Lofgren: (02:14:52)
Mr. Ginsburg, what do you say about the claims that Mr. Trump wasn’t given an opportunity to provide the evidence they had of voter fraud? In fact, did they have their day in court?
Ben Ginsberg: (02:15:03)
They did have their day in court. About half of those cases that you mentioned were dismissed at the procedural stage for a lack of standing, the proper people didn’t bring the case, or there wasn’t sufficient evidence and it got dismissed on a motion to dismiss. But in the other, there was discussion of the merits that was contained in the complaints. In no instance did a court find that the charges of fraud were real.
Ben Ginsberg: (02:15:35)
It’s also worth noting that even if the Trump campaign complain that it did not have its day in court, there have been post-election reviews in each of the six battleground states that could have made a difference and those ranged from the somewhat farcical Cyber Ninjas’ case in Arizona to the Michigan Senate report that was mentioned earlier, the hand recount in Georgia that Mr. Pak addressed. In each one of those instances, there was no credible evidence of fraud produced by the Trump campaign or his supporters.
Ms. Lofgren: (02:16:11)
Thank you. As Mr Ginsburg has explained, there are no cases where the Trump campaign was able to convince a court that there was widespread fraud or irregularities in the 2020 election. Over and over, judges appointed by Democrats and Republicans alike directly reviewed this false narrative. They called out the Trump campaign’s lack of evidence for its claims. The judges did that even in cases where they could have simply thrown out the lawsuit without writing a word.
Ms. Lofgren: (02:16:50)
You can see behind me a few excerpts from the decisions in these 62 cases. The Trump campaign’s lack of evidence was criticized by judges across the political spectrum. In Pennsylvania, a Trump-appointed judge concluded, quote: “Charges require specific allegations and proof. We have neither here.” Another Trump-appointed judge warned that if cases like these succeeded quote: “Any disappointed loser in a presidential election able to hire a team of clever lawyers could flag claimed deviations from election results and cast doubt on election results.”
Ms. Lofgren: (02:17:31)
The list goes on and on. Allegations are called, quote: “An amalgamation of theories, conjecture and speculation.” In another: “Strained legal arguments without merit, unsupported by evidence, derived from wholly unreliable sources, a fundamental and obvious misreading of the Constitution.”
Ms. Lofgren: (02:17:56)
The rejection of President Trump’s litigation efforts was overwhelming. 22 federal judges appointed by Republican presidents, including 10 appointed by President Trump himself, and at least 24 elected or appointed Republican state judges dismissed the president’s claims. At least 11 lawyers have been referred for disciplinary proceedings due to bad faith and baseless efforts to undermine the outcome of the 2020 Presidential election. Rudy Giuliani had his license to practice law suspended in New York; and just this week, a newly filed complaint will potentially make his suspension from practicing law in DC permanent.
Ms. Lofgren: (02:18:43)
As we’ve just heard from perhaps the most preeminent Republican election lawyer in recent history, the Trump campaign’s unprecedented effort to overturn its election laws in court was a deeply damaging abuse of the judicial process as stated by US District Court Judge David Carter. This was, quote: “A coup in search of legal theory.”
Ms. Lofgren: (02:19:11)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back.
Mr. Thompson: (02:19:15)
I want to thank our witnesses for joining us today. The members of the select committee may have additional questions for today’s witnesses, and we ask that you respond expeditiously in writing to those questions. Without objection, members will be permitted 10 business days to submit statements for the record, including opening remarks and additional questions for the witnesses. The second panel of witnesses is now dismissed. Without objection, the Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from California, Ms. Lofgren for a closing statement.
Ms. Lofgren: (02:20:21)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Now that we understand the litigation efforts by President Trump and his allies, I’d like to present additional actions taken by the Trump campaign during this time.
Ms. Lofgren: (02:20:33)
President Trump continued to push the stolen election narrative, even though he and his allies knew that their litigation efforts making the same claim had failed. It’s worth pointing out that litigation generally does not continue past the safe harbor date of December 14th. But the fact that this litigation went on, well, that decision makes more sense when you consider the Trump campaign’s fundraising tactics, because if the litigation had stopped on December 14th, there would’ve been no fight to defend the election and no clear path to continue to raise millions of dollars.
Ms. Lofgren: (02:21:15)
Mr. Chairman, at this time, I’d asked for unanimous consent to include in the record a video presentation describing how President Trump used the lies he told to raise millions of dollars from the American people. These fundraising schemes were also part of the effort to disseminate the false claims of election fraud.
Mr. Thompson: (02:21:37)
Without objection, it is so ordered.
Amanda Wick: (02:21:40)
My name is Amanda Wick and I’m senior investigative council with the House select committee to investigate the January 6th attack on the United States capital.
Amanda Wick: (02:21:46)
Between election day and January 6th, the Trump campaign sent millions of fundraising emails to Trump supporters, sometimes as many as 25 a day. The emails claimed the, quote: “Left wing mob” was undermining the election, implored supporters to, quote: “Step up to protect the integrity of the election,” and encouraged them to, quote: “Fight back.” But as the select committee has demonstrated, 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. The select committee discovered no such fund existed.
Hanna Allred: (02:22:26)
I don’t believe there is actually a fund called the Election Defense Fund.
Speaker 18: (02:22:29)
Is it fair to say that the Election Defense Fund was another, I think we called it a marketing tactic?
Gary Coby: (02:22:35)
Speaker 18: (02:22:35)
Tell us about these funds as marketing tactics.
Gary Coby: (02:22:39)
Just topic matter. Where money could potentially go to be, how money could potentially be used.
Amanda Wick: (02:22:47)
The claims that the election was stolen were so successful president Trump and his allies raised $250 million, nearly $100 million in the first week after the election.
Amanda Wick: (02:22:59)
On November 9th, 2020, President Trump created a separate entity called the Save America PAC. Most of the money raised went to this newly-created PAC, not to election related litigation. The select committee discovered that the Save America PAC made millions of dollars of contributions to pro-Trump organizations, including one million dollars to Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows’ charitable foundation; one million dollars to the America First Policy Institute, a conservative organization which employs several former Trump administration officials; $ 204,857 to the Trump Hotel Collection; and over five million dollars to event Strategies Inc, the company that ran President Trump’s January 6th, rally on the ellipse.
Donald Trump: (02:23:41)
All of us here today do not want to see our election victory stolen by embolden radical left Democrats, which is what they’re doing.
Amanda Wick: (02:23:50)
The evidence developed by the select committee highlights how the Trump campaign aggressively pushed false election claims to fundraise, telling supporters it would be used to fight voter fraud that did not exist.
Amanda Wick: (02:24:02)
The emails continued through January 6th, even as president Trump spoke on the ellipse. 30 minutes after the last fundraising email was sent, the capital was breached.
Ms. Lofgren: (02:24:28)
Every American is entitled and encouraged to participate in our electoral process. Political fundraising is part of that. Small-dollar donors use scarce disposable income to support candidates and causes of their choosing to make their voices heard. Those donors deserve the truth about what those funds will be used for.
Ms. Lofgren: (02:24:50)
Throughout the committee’s investigation, we found evidence that the Trump campaign and its surrogates misled donors as to where their funds would go and what they would be used for. Not only was there the Big Lie, there was the big ripoff. Donors deserve to know where their funds are really going. They deserve better than what President Trump and his team did.
Ms. Lofgren: (02:25:15)
Mr. Chairman, I yield back.
Mr. Thompson: (02:25:16)
Without objection, the Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from Wyoming, Ms. Cheney, for a closing statement.
Rep. Liz Cheney: (02:25:26)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, I would like to thank all of our witnesses today, and I’d also like to in particular wish Mr. Stepien and his family all the best on the arrival of a new baby.
Rep. Liz Cheney: (02:25:42)
Today’s hearing, Mr. Chairman, was very narrowly focused. In the coming days, you will see the committee move on to President trump’s broader planning for January 6th, including his plan to corrupt the Department of Justice and his detailed planning with lawyer John Eastman to pressure the vice president, state legislatures, state officials and others to overturn the election.
Rep. Liz Cheney: (02:26:08)
Let me leave you today with one clip to preview what you will see in one of our hearings to come. This is the testimony of White House lawyer Eric Herschmann. John Eastman called Mr. Herschmann the day after January 6th. Here is how that conversation went.
Eric Herschmann: (02:26:30)
I said to him, “Are you out of your F-ing mind?” Right? I said, “I only want to hear two words coming out of your mouth for now on: orderly transition.”
Rep. Liz Cheney: (02:26:48)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back.
Mr. Thompson: (02:26:55)
At the conclusion of last week’s hearing, we showed you a video of rioters explaining why they had come to Washington on January 6th. It was because Donald Trump told them to be here. Today, we heard about some of the lies Donald Trump embraced and amplified when it became clear he didn’t have the numbers of votes to win the election. We heard about how officials at different levels of government explored claims of fraud and found no evidence, yet the former president continued to repeat those false claims over and over again.
Mr. Thompson: (02:27:38)
Today, we’ll end things where we did on Thursday, back on January 6th, hearing words of individuals who wanted to stop the transfer of power. We know they were there because of Donald Trump. Now we hear some of the things they believed. Without objection, I enter into the record a video presentation.
Speaker 19: (02:28:06)
I know exactly what’s going on right now, fake election. They think they’re going to fucking cheat us out of our vote and put communist fucking Biden in office. It ain’t fucking happening today, buddy.
Speaker 20: (02:28:15)
Speaker 21: (02:28:18)
Speaker 20: (02:28:20)
How’d it go?
Speaker 21: (02:28:20)
I voted early. It went well, except for can’t really trust the software, Dominion software all over.
Speaker 22: (02:28:28)
We voted and right in the top right hand corner of the Dominion voting machine that we used, there was a WiFi symbol with five bars. That most definitely connected to the internet. Without a doubt. They stole that from us twice. We’re not doing it anymore. We’re not taking it anymore. We’re standing up. We’re here. Whatever happens, we’re not laying down again.
Speaker 23: (02:28:53)
I’m from Pennsylvania.
Speaker 24: (02:28:56)
It didn’t work. It worked.
Speaker 25: (02:28:56)
It didn’t work.
Speaker 26: (02:28:57)
Speaker 23: (02:28:57)
Speaker 27: (02:28:57)
Trust the system.
Speaker 23: (02:29:01)
200 thousand people that weren’t even register voted. 430 thousand votes disappeared from President Trump’s tally. You can’t stand there and tell me that it worked.
Speaker 28: (02:29:12)
I don’t want to say that what we’re doing is right. But if the election’s being stolen, what is it going to take?
Mr. Thompson: (02:29:29)
The Chair requests those in the hearing room remain seated until the Capitol Police have excluded members from the room. Without objection, the committee stands adjourned.