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'A tragic parody': State officials detail frantic pressure campaign to keep Trump in office

Sarah D. Wire, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

WASHINGTON — Republican state legislators and elected officials detailed Tuesday the intense pressure they faced from President Donald Trump and his lawyers to subvert the will of voters and submit to Congress false slates of electors backing him.

Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and Georgia Secretary of State Chief Operating Officer Gabriel Sterling, all Republicans, testified at the fourth hearing of the House select committee investigating Jan. 6, 2021, about numerous lengthy phone calls and in-person meetings from Trump and those in his inner circle pushing them to act to keep him in office despite being repeatedly informed the effort was illegal or unconstitutional.

“Pressuring public servants into betraying their oath was a fundamental part of the playbook,” committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said. “A handful of election officials in several key states stood between Donald Trump and the upending of American democracy.”

The elected officials detailed in their testimony the retaliation they faced for not complying, as did Wandrea ArShaye “Shaye” Moss, a former Georgia election worker who gave a wrenching account of racist death threats she and her mother faced after being accused by Trump of processing fraudulent ballots.

“It’s turned my life upside down,” Moss told the committee. “I don’t want anyone knowing my name.”

Bowers testified about the calls he received from Trump and conservative California lawyer John Eastman, and about a meeting with Trump attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani in which the former New York City mayor asked him to overturn the state election results after Joe Biden won and instead submit a slate of electors for Trump.


The legislator said Giuliani pointed out in multiple phone calls that they were both Republicans and said that Bowers had legal authority in Arizona to remove Biden electors and replace them. Giuliani asked Bowers for a committee hearing to do that, and Bowers said he didn’t have such authority.

Giuliani never provided proof supporting his allegations of fraud in the state’s elections, which included claims that hundreds of thousands of immigrants in the country illegally had voted in the election, Bowers said.

“We got lots of theories, we just don’t have the evidence,” Bowers said Giuliani told him.

When Giuliani continued to press him, Bowers told the president’s attorney that he was “asking me to do something that is counter to my oath when I swore it to the Constitution to uphold it, and I also swore to the Constitution and the laws of the state of Arizona.”


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