Here are the three things you need to know from Monday’s second January 6th hearing.
1). Trump Knew He Was Lying About The Election Being Stolen
The committee examined the false narrative that the election was stolen and established that Donald Trump knew he was lying when he claimed it was stolen.
Rep. Lofgren (D-CA) said, “Former President Trump’s plan to overturn the election relied on a sustained effort to deceive millions of Americans with knowingly false claims of election fraud. All elements of the plot relied on convincing his supporters about these false claims.”
The committee’s witnesses ultimately made the case that Trump knowingly lied to his supporters about the 2020 election, and millions of Americans believed him.
In her opening statement on the second day of the January 6th Select Committee hearings, Republican Rep. Liz Cheney said (emphasis mine):
First, you will hear firsthand testimony that The president’s campaign advisers urged him to await the counting of votes and not to declare victory on election night. The president understood, even before the election, that many more Biden voters had voted by mail. Because President Trump ignored the advice of his campaign experts. And told his supporters only to vote in person. Donald Trump knew, before the election, that the counting of those mail-in ballots, and several states, would not begin until late in the day and would not be complete for multiple days. This was expected, reported, and widely known.
You will also hear that President Trump rejected the advice of his campaign experts on election night. And, instead, follow the course recommended, by an inebriated Rudy Giuliani, to just claim he won. And insist that the vote counting stop. To falsely claim everything was filed — fraudulent. He falsely told the American people that the election was not legitimate. In his words, quote, a major fraud. Millions of Americans believed him.
Second, pay attention to what Donald Trump and his legal team said, repeatedly about Dominion voting machines. Farflung conspiracies, with a retired Venezuelan communist allegedly the strings. This was, quote, “complete nonsense,” as Bill Barr said.
President Trump’s own campaign advisers, his Department of Justice, and its cybersecurity experts all told him the same thing. Here, for example, White House lawyer, Eric Hirschmann. His view was shared by many of the Trump team with whom we interviewed. “I thought the Dominion stuff, I never saw any evidence whatsoever to sustain these claims.”
2). DOJ Investigated Trump’s Stolen Election Conspiracy Theories, And They Were Debunked
Former US Attorney Bjay Pak testified that the DOJ investigated Rudy’s Giuliani’s claims about ballots:
Unfortunately, during the Senate hearing, Mr. Giuliani only played a clip showing the ballot box being pulled out and referring to that as a smoking gun of fraud and actually, when you look at the entire video, it showed that it was an official ballot box kept under the tables and then we saw them pack up because the aid announced they thought they were done for the night and once the announcement was made they brought it back out and continued to count.
We interviewed the FBI and individuals depicted in the videos, and they were double and triple counting the ballots and determined that nothing irregular happened in the counting and the claims made by Mr. Giuliani were false.
Video of Pak:
Former US Attorney Bjay Pak, “We interviewed the FBI and individuals depicted in the videos and they were double and triple counting the ballots and determined that nothing irregularities happened in the counting and the allegations made by Mr. Giuliani were false.” pic.twitter.com/NL8LonY4Yj
— Sarah Reese Jones (@PoliticusSarah) June 13, 2022
3). Trump Knowingly Defrauded His Supporters And May Have Committed A Crime
The Big Lie was also the “Big Ripoff”: Trump and his advisers knew the claims were false, but he and his closest advisors continued to push them up until the violence on January 6th. The Trump campaign also pushed these lies after that to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for the legal fight, but they didn’t use the money for that purpose. “The big lie was also the big ripoff,” Lofgren said.
Rep. Lofgren told CNN that the committee has evidence that Trump paid his family with legal fund donations, “For example, we know that Guilfoyle was paid for the introduction she gave at the speech on January 6th. She received compensation for that…$60,000 for two and a half minutes. You had money going to Mark Meadows’ foundation and to another foundation that hired the Trump supporters who lost their jobs. So it wasn’t what he said to his donors, this is to defend the election. It was an entirely different purpose. I think that was deceptive and not right.”
The hearing laid out the evidence that the 1/6 attack was rooted in the lie that the election was stolen and that evidence shows that Trump knew it was a lie. He also used the lie to defraud his supporters and as the basis for his plot to stay in power.
It was a damning day in the hearing room for Donald Trump and his Republican enablers.