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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

The Justice Department is also examining the fake electors scheme, as are prosecutors in Georgia.

The House select committee highlighted Meadows’ “intimate role” in the pressure campaign. Meadows handed over a trove of emails and text messages to the committee before abruptly refusing to further comply with their subpoenas. The House voted to hold him in contempt of Congress, but the Justice Department has declined to prosecute him.

The committee hearing began with footage of a Michigan state senator saying he received 4,000 text messages in just a few minutes after Trump published his cellphone number on Facebook. Pennsylvania House Speaker Bryan Cutler, who received daily phone calls from Giuliani and Trump attorney Jenna Ellis in the last week of November 2020, recalled protests at his home led by Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon. The committee also showed footage of armed protests outside state capitol buildings, which Schiff called “a dangerous precursor to the violence we saw on Jan. 6.”

Bowers told the committee he got 20,000 emails and tens of thousands of voicemails and texts pushing him to overturn the results and noted he still has groups protesting outside his home on Saturdays, calling him a pedophile, pervert and corrupt politician.

Raffensperger said that though he and his wife had their private information published on the internet, and that people broke into his daughter-in-law’s home, he couldn’t back down in the face of the threats.

“I knew that we had followed the law and followed the Constitution,” Raffensperger said. “I think sometimes moments require you to stand up and just take the shots when you’re doing your job, and that’s all we did.”

The second part of the hearing focused on the vitriol directed toward Moss, the former Georgia election worker, and her mother, Ruby Freeman. They were attacked by name by Trump and Giuliani, who falsely claimed that video had captured the women using a USB thumb drive to change votes.

“What was your mom actually handing you in that video?” Schiff asked.

“A ginger mint,” Moss replied.

The Georgia secretary of state’s office conducted an investigation and found no wrongdoing on her part.


Moss said she wanted to work in elections to help people vote, and loved being able to assist voters in accessing a right her ancestors didn’t have. Moss said Freeman was instructed by the FBI to leave her home for her own safety for at least two months. Moss also said that people attempted to conduct a citizens arrest at her grandmother’s home.

“I felt horrible, I felt like it was all my fault,” said Moss, who noted that she and her mother no longer use their names in public and said she rarely leaves the house. “Like, if I wouldn’t have decided to be an elections worker, I could have been anything else. But that’s what I decided to do, and now people are lying and spreading rumors and lies and attacking my mom.”

Schiff said in response: “If the most powerful person in the world can bring the full weight of the presidency down on an ordinary citizen who was merely doing her job with a lie as big and heavy as a mountain, who among us is safe? None of us is.”

Also on Tuesday, British filmmaker Alex Holder complied with a subpoena to turn over to the committee documentary footage he filmed during the final six weeks of Trump’s reelection campaign and video of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. The footage includes exclusive interviews with then-President Trump, his children Ivanka, Eric and Don Jr., and son-in-law Jared Kushner as well as Pence. Holder said in a statement he will sit for a deposition Thursday.

On Thursday, the committee is expected to focus on Trump’s attempts to persuade the Department of Justice to claim fraud occurred in the election and to install a supporter as acting attorney general when those leading the agency refused to comply with his demands.

Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., said he expects the hearings to continue throughout the summer, rather than ending Thursday as expected, because people are coming forward with new information.

“We are picking up new evidence on a daily basis with enormous velocity, and so we’re constantly incorporating and including the new information that’s coming out,” Raskin said. “Certainly the hearings will conclude before the end of the summer, but I don’t know that we’re going to make it by the end of June.”

The committee will continue making the case that if certain elected officials, public employees and judges hadn’t resisted pressure from Trump to overturn the election results, the future of American democracy might have been at stake, Schiff said.

“The system held, but barely,” Schiff said. “And the question remains, will it hold again?”

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