[News] January 6 hearings expose Donald Trump’s pressure campaign to get electoral officials to alter votes

“I did not want to be used as a pawn,” he told the panel, detailing how his refusal to do what Trump and Guiliani wanted meant he and his family were publicly harassed. He said trucks drove through his neighbourhood calling him a paedophile over loudspeakers.

Also taking the stand was Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger – who detailed Trump’s now infamous phone call of January 2 2021, where the then-president asked Raffenserger to help him “find 11,780 votes” to win Georgia.

“What I knew is that we didn’t have any votes to find,” he said. After refusing, Raffensberger told the committee, “my email and my cell phone was doxxed, so I was getting texts from all over the country and then eventually, my wife started getting texts that typically came in a sexualised form, which were disgusting”.

Wandrea “Shaye” Moss testified about the death threats she received after withstanding pressure from Trump’s team.

Wandrea “Shaye” Moss testified about the death threats she received after withstanding pressure from Trump’s team. Credit:AP

Perhaps the most powerful testimony came from former Georgia election worker Wandrea “Shaye” Moss, who recounted how she and her family faced death threats, racist taunts and were forced into hiding after Trump accused her and her mother, Ruby Freeman, of rigging the election for Joe Biden with “suitcases of ballots” on election night.

The bogus claims were pushed on a right-wing website called The Gateway Pundit, which is now being sued, after publishing articles with headlines such as “CROOKED GEORGIA ELECTIONS SUPERVISOR filmed pulling out suitcases of ballots from beneath table” and “NEW VIDEO shows anti-Trump Georgia ballot counter Ruby Freeman with piles of ballots”.

Moss and her mother were also featured in a video that Trump and Guiliani claimed was “a smoking gun”, however state and federal investigators who reviewed the video found the pair did nothing improper.

Asked by the committee how being targeted by Trump affected her life, she replied: “It’s turned my life upside down. I no longer give out my business card. I don’t transfer calls. I don’t want anyone knowing my name… I’ve gained about 60 pounds. I don’t do nothing any more, I don’t want to go anywhere, and second guess everything that I do. This has affected my life in a major way. Every way – because of lies.”

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Today’s hearing was the fourth in seven expected public hearings into the January 6 Capitol attacks, which last year left several people dead and about 150 police officers injured.

The hearings present a roll-call of people in the former president’s orbit who were either worried about what was happening or were seemingly fuelling the conspiracy.

Among the star witnesses is former attorney-general Bill Barr, who testified that he thought Trump’s claims of election fraud were “bullshit”, Trump’s campaign manager Bill Stepien and family members Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.

Today’s hearing laid out in detail how Trump was repeatedly told his pressure campaign could result in violence against local poll workers and their families, yet he continued to push his theory that the election was rigged and lashed out publicly and privately at those who disagreed.

Among them was Raffensberger’s deputy Gabe Sterling, who also appeared today. He was the election official who helped manage the recount of the votes in Georgia and ultimately found there was no widespread fraud.

Sterling became a well-known figure in the aftermath of the 2020 election for his regular press
conferences, one of which begged Trump to end the campaign to overturn the state’s election results and “stop inspiring people to commit acts of violence”.

“It’s all gone too far,” he said on December 1. “All of it.”

Today, Sterling testified that particular news conference was prompted by a death threat he viewed on Twitter that featured a GIF of a noose against a poll worker.

“That particular Tweet, for lack of a better word, was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” Sterling said. “It had a young man’s name… and said: you committed treason; may God have mercy on your soul, with a slowly twisting gifts of a noose. I just lost it.”

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