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Embattled Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is set to testify Tuesday before the Jan. 6 House Committee on the extraordinary pressure he has faced from former President Donald Trump to find “11,780” votes that could turn the state around, to prevent Joe Biden from winning the election
Raffensperger, along with his deputy Gabe Sterling and Arizona’s Rusty Bowers, are scheduled to be key witnesses when the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 riot resumes on Tuesday.
The focus will be on how the former president and his allies have aggressively pressured officials in key battleground states with plans to refuse ballots or entire state counts to reverse the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Additionally, the panel will underscore how Trump knew his unrelenting campaign of pressures could potentially cause violence against state and local officials and their families, but pursued them anyway, according to an adviser to the select committee.
“We’re going to show brave state officials who stood up and said they wouldn’t agree to this plan to either bring the legislature back into session or straighten the results for Joe Biden,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., one of the Democratic members of the committee told CNN on Sunday.
The hearing, the panel’s fourth this month, is the latest attempt to address Trump’s unprecedented bid to stay in power, a sweeping plan the Jan. 6 committee chairman likened to an “attempted coup.” Has. The committee will examine how Trump relied on Raffensperger to invalidate ballots voters cast for Biden. And then he tapped state legislatures in Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania and other contentious states to reject their own constituents’ election results.
While the committee cannot accuse Trump of crimes, the Justice Department is closely monitoring the panel’s work. Trump’s actions in Georgia are also the subject of a grand jury investigation, the results of which the prosecutor is expected to announce later this year.
Raffensperger, Georgia’s top election official, dismissed Trump’s request that he “find” enough votes to overturn Biden’s victory in the state — a request taped during a phone conversation days before the Jan. 6 attack.
During the call, Trump repeatedly cited refuted allegations of fraud and threatened a “criminal offense” if Georgia officials didn’t change the count. The state had counted its votes three times before confirming Biden’s victory by a margin of 11,779.
Sterling, Raffensperger’s chief operating officer, became a notable figure in Georgia’s long post-election presidential tally and recount, with his regular updates often broadcast live to a divided nation. At one point, the soft-spoken Republican begged Americans to tone down the heated rhetoric.
“Death threats, physical threats, intimidation — that’s too much, that’s not right,” Republican Sterling said.
Also testifying Tuesday is Wandrea “Shay” Moss, one of two Georgia poll workers who filed a defamation lawsuit against a conservative website in December 2020. Moss claimed One America News Network falsely circulated allegations that she and her mother committed voter fraud during the election.
The lawsuit, settled in April, also names Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani as a vocal supporter of the baseless allegation, which the mother and daughter say has led to intense harassment, both in person and online.
The select committee also plans on Tuesday to unravel the elaborate “wrong voter” scheme that aimed to halt Biden’s election victory. The plan had bogus voters on seven battlegrounds — Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Nevada and New Mexico — sign certificates falsely stating Trump, not Biden, had won their states.
Conservative law professor John Eastman, an attorney for Trump, pushed the wrong voters in the weeks following the election. Trump and Eastman called hundreds of voters on January 2, 2021, encouraging them to send alternative voters from their states where Trump’s team alleged fraud.
The fake ballot papers were manufactured and sent to the National Archives and Congress. But the effort ultimately foundered when Vice President Mike Pence rejected Trump’s repeated calls to stop certifying Biden’s victory on Jan. 6, 2021 — a power he did not wield in his purely ceremonial role.
The committee says it will also show Tuesday that it has amassed enough evidence through its more than 1,000 interviews and tens of thousands of documents to directly link the various efforts to overthrow the election to Trump.
At least 20 people have been subpoenaed by the House panel in connection with the bogus program, including former Trump campaigners, party officials and state legislators.
“During a hearing, we will show the President’s role in trying to get states to nominate alternative electoral lists, as this scheme originally depended on the hope that the Legislature would reconvene and bless it,” Schiff said .
Schiff told the Los Angeles Times Monday that the hearing will also address the “intimate role” that former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows had in conspiring to pressure Georgia state lawmakers and election officials .
Raffensperger’s public testimony comes weeks after he appeared before a special Georgia grand jury investigating whether Trump and others illegally attempted to interfere in the 2020 state election.
Though Raffensperger has been on the receiving end of the former president’s anger since the election, he defeated a Trump-backed challenger in last month’s Republican primary.