Pressure, intimidation, threats… The leader of Arizona’s Republican-elect on Tuesday told Joe Biden about the methods used by Donald Trump and his lawyers to persuade him to overturn the November 2020 US presidential election result in that conservative state .
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The Republican billionaire justified his demands by saying his election was “stolen” by repeated allegations of fraud that he never proved and which have been swept away by the courts.
But the billionaire’s supporters stormed the US Congress on January 6, 2021 to try to prevent confirmation of the Democratic nominee’s election victory, plunging the country into chaos for several hours.
Mr. Trump’s claims about his victory in Arizona were “false,” Rusty Bowers, President of that state’s House of Representatives, told the investigative commission into the attack in Washington.
“Anyone who would say, anywhere, anytime, that I said the election was rigged would not be true,” the elected official added.
He also called the allegations of ex-president’s attorney Rudy Giuliani “false” and conjured up “hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants and thousands dead who voted for Joe Biden.”
Despite multiple inquiries, Bower said he “never” saw evidence of the allegations, citing a conversation with the former New York City mayor.
“He said, ‘We have many theories, we have no evidence. And I don’t know if it was a mistake.
Mr Bowers refused to call the local assembly to invalidate the election and then replace the elected voters responsible for confirming the voting result with supporters of Mr Trump.
In the American electoral system, these voters determine the victors in their states.
He was then inundated with “more than 20,000 emails and tens of thousands of phone calls and text messages” as protesters, sometimes threateningly, gathered outside his home to insult him, he said tearfully.
However, Mr Trump’s legal team went ahead with his plan. Supporters of the billionaire, elected as parallel voters in the key states won by Joe Biden, had overturned the election result using forged certificates.
But Vice President Mike Pence, who chaired the vote, resisted pressure from the White House to declare Donald Trump the winner.
“I just thought it was a tragic parody,” commented Rusty Bowers, who voted for the billionaire in 2016 and endorsed him in 2020.
Brad Raffensperger, Georgia Secretary of State, received a call from Donald Trump asking the President to locate nearly 12,000 ballots in his name, enough to beat Joe Biden in that Republican-controlled South state.
“No bulletins found”
He had again mentioned voter fraud and the filling of ballot boxes, charges that the courts dismissed.
But Brad Raffensperger didn’t give up. “Numbers are numbers and we couldn’t count (votes) because we made sure we checked every allegation,” he told the committee on Tuesday.
“No ballots were found, the account was correct and it was verified,” he said.
He was also the target of harassment and threats, like Shaye Moss, a low-level election agent from Atlanta, who had attended the ballot count with his mother on election night.
Donald Trump had accused them by name of being “professional scammers”.
“It turned my life upside down,” she said Tuesday, recalling receiving racist messages and death threats.
For more than a year, the commission of inquiry — made up of seven Democrats and two Republicans — has heard more than 1,000 witnesses, including two of the former president’s children, to shed light on Donald Trump’s actions before, during and after the US presidential campaign January 6 attack.
The committee’s fifth hearing is scheduled for Thursday and will address the president’s efforts to pressure the Justice Department to stay in power.
Donald Trump, who never admitted defeat in the presidential election, took to social media on Tuesday to denounce “political thugs who have criminalized the judiciary to an extent unprecedented in our country.”