Jan. 6 hearing: Focus on Trump pressure on state officials

Tuesday’s hearing by the House panel investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol will zero in on Trump’s personal involvement in efforts to pressure state election officials to subvert the will of voters and to persuade lawmakers to submit false slates of electors backing him to Congress.

Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and Georgia Secretary of State Chief Operating Officer Gabriel Sterling, all Republicans, are scheduled to testify about the actions of Trump and those in his inner circle before the committee at its fourth hearing this month.

Bowers will testify about the calls he received from Trump and conservative California lawyer John Eastman, and 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.

Raffensperger was on the receiving end of Trump’s Jan. 2 request to help overturn President Biden’s win, in which Trump told him to “find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have because we won the state.”

Sterling made headlines on Dec. 1, 2020, when he pleaded in a news conference for Trump and his allies to stop spreading lies about the election results.

“Stop inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence,” Sterling said. “Someone’s going to get hurt. Someone’s going to get shot. Someone’s going to get killed.”

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

The House select committee is expected to highlight White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows’ “intimate role” in the pressure campaign, according to Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), who will help lead the hearing. 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 second part of the hearing will focus on the vitriol and attacks directed toward election workers. Former Georgia election worker Wandrea ArShaye “Shaye” Moss was the target of a right-wing smear campaign and accused of processing fake ballots. The Georgia secretary of state’s office conducted an investigation and found no wrongdoing on her part.