Jan 6 Panel Reportedly Plans to Take Trump Communications With State Officials on 2020 Vote Public
© REUTERS / ELIZABETH FRANTZThe U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol votes to approve a report recommending the U.S. House of Representatives cite Jeffrey Clark for criminal contempt of Congress during a meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. December 1, 2021
The Democratic Party-controlled House select committee investigating the 6 January 2021 attack on the Capitol was formed last July, and has spent months investigating the events of that day, subpoenaing tens of thousands of pages of documents and demanding the testimony of dozens of Trump officials, many of whom have refused to comply.
The House select committee is ramping up its probe into a mammoth trove of emails, texts and telephone recordings between Trump administration officials and state administrators in key swing states to determine the extent of the president’s alleged effort to ‘subvert’ the November 2020 election by refusing to recognize Joe Biden’s victory, Politico reports, citing documents, sources and officials said to be familiar with the matter.
“We want to let the public see and head from those individuals who conducted elections in those states,” committee chair Bennie Thompson told the outlet.
The committee reportedly plans to make their findings public as soon as this spring, with the effort aimed at further undermining the former president’s efforts to argue that the 2020 race was “stolen” from him through widespread mail-in ballot manipulations, rigged voting machines, and other illegal means.
The panel has reportedly focused its activities on the Trump team’s communications with officials in Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Michigan, four of the six battleground states where the ex-president and his attorneys have alleged widespread systemic fraud.
According to Politico, the panel’s investigation has demonstrated thus far that state officials largely ignored the Republican’s fraud claims. In the state of Georgia, for example, Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows sent multiple messages to state secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in November and December, including to discuss an absentee ballot spoilage rate which the administration considered curiously low.
The panel was also provided with an audio recording of a phone call between Trump and Georgia secretary of state office investigator Frances Watson from 23 December 2020 urging the official to look for any signs of “dishonesty” in the ballots.
Trump supporters who gathered in front of and then stormed the Capitol complex on 6 January 2021 to try to prevent Congress’s rubber stamp certification of Biden’s victory were convinced that they were stopping an “electoral coup” by Democrats. Democrats and some Republicans described the Capitol violence itself to have constituted the “coup attempt,” with President Biden later labelling the rioters “domestic terrorists” and suggesting that their actions constituted the “worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War.”
Trump left office peacefully on 20 January 2021, but continues to claim that he won in 2020. State courts dismissed every effort by the Trump campaign’s attorneys to challenge the election results, and the Supreme Court shot down an attempt by the State of Texas in December 2020 to contest the vote in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, citing Texas’s lack of standing to bring the case.
The 6 January panel has spent months probing the violence on the Capitol, and has threatened to refer charges to the Justice Department if it finds any evidence of criminal wrongdoing by Trump.
So far, all other efforts against Trump by Democrats and Never-Trump Republicans to prosecute him or permanently bar him from office have failed, including two impeachments, an ongoing investigation into his business empire, and an attempt to declare him unfit for office citing the 14th or 25th amendments to the Constitution.
The former president has dismissed the 6 January probe as a part of the broader Democratic “witch hunt” against him, and has taken a battle with investigators trying to get their hands on his personal records to the Supreme Court.
Trump has hinted repeatedly that he may take another shot at the White House in 2024, a prospect abhorred by Democrats seeking to see him behind bars instead, and quietly discouraged by some GOP leaders who seek to run a fresh, more traditionally Republican and neoconservative face.