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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

“I will not break my oath,” Bowers said, adding that “it is a tenet of my faith that the Constitution is divinely inspired.”

Bowers said he was called the morning of Jan. 6 by Arizona Republican Rep. Andy Biggs, who asked him to support decertification of the state’s electors.

“I said that I would not,” Bowers said.

The committee showed a video detailing how Trump’s plan depended on legislatures in multiple states adopting alternate electors. The then-president leaned heavily on state and local officials to take action while his team of lawyers, including Eastman and Giuliani, relied on untested theories about the power legislatures have to override voters. State Republican leaders, Trump campaign lawyers and even the Republican National Committee were asked to persuade people to sign certificates to legitimize the false electors backing the president.

“We were useful idiots, or rubes,” Robert Sinners, a former Trump aide, said of pushing the phony elector scheme in Georgia. He told Jan. 6 investigators he’s now “angry” he was misled.

“No one really cared if people were potentially putting themselves in jeopardy,” Sinners said.

 

The committee also played a clip of a deposition from RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel, who indicated that Trump himself called her and connected her to Eastman “to talk about the importance of the RNC helping the campaign gather these contingent electors.”

“The campaign took the lead and we just were helping them in that role,” she said.

Ultimately, Republicans in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin sent alternaive slates to Congress.

The committee also showed a text message from an aide for Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson to an aide for Vice President Mike Pence asking whether he could physically hand a copy of the fake electors certificates from Michigan and Wisconsin to the vice president about 20 minutes before he presided over the electoral vote count on Jan. 6, 2021. Johnson’s spokeswoman tweeted during the hearing that the senator wasn’t involved in the creation of the certificates and didn’t know they were going to be brought to his office.

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