The House select committee investigating the Jan 6 attack on the Capitol heard riveting and emotional testimony from state election officials Tuesday on how defeated president Donald Trump personally and his allies pressured them to reverse the 2020 election results.
Arizona Republican House Speaker Russell "Rusty" Bowers, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, the office's chief operating officer Gabe Sterling, Wandra "Shaye'' Moss, a former election registration officer in Fulton County, Georgia, and her mother, Ruby Freeman, testified in the committee's fourth public hearing.
Bowers, who campaigned for Trump in 2020, gave moving testimony explaining why he refused to go along with requests by Trump and his attorney, Rudy Giuliani, to convene a state committee to investigate alleged voter fraud and replace duly chosen electors with a false slate favorable to Trump.
Speaking haltingly, Bowers recalled telling Trump and Giuliani, "I will not break my oath."
"I didn't want to be used as a pawn," Bowers said. "I said, 'Look, you are asking me to do something that is counter to my oath, when I swore to the Constitution to uphold it.'"
Bowers said Trump pressed him, suggesting he expected a better response from a fellow Republican. But Bowers testified that because of his faith, what the president was asking him to do was "foreign to my very being".
Bowers recalled a phone call in which Trump claimed thousands of illegal immigrants and "dead people" had voted in Arizona. He said Giuliani claimed that 200,000 unauthorized immigrants and "5,000 or 6,000 dead people" had voted in the election.
Bowers said that after asking "multiple times" for evidence, Trump interrupted in a call and said, "Give the man what he needs, Rudy!" But Giuliani never produced the evidence, he added. Bowers recalled Giuliani at one point told him, "'We've got lots of theories, we just don't have the evidence.'"
Bowers said protests by Trump supporters outside his home continued until recently, with groups accusing him of pedophilia and perversion, and arguing with his neighbors.
During his testimony, Bowers was asked by committee member California Representative Adam Schiff , who oversaw the day's hearing, about a statement Trump released earlier Tuesday claiming that Bowers "told me the election was rigged and that I won Arizona".
"I did have a conversation with the president,'' Bowers told the committee. "That certainly isn't it. Anywhere anyone, anytime has said that I said the election was rigged — that would not be true."
Raffensperger testified about a phone conversation in which Trump urged him to "find" him 11,780 votes — enough to win the election in Georgia.
But "we didn't have any votes to find", he said, adding that votes had been counted accurately and that the vote totals had been certified.
"After the election, my email and cell phone were doxxed. I was getting texts from all over the country," he said. "And so eventually my wife started getting the texts and hers came in as sexualized texts which were disgusting. So they started going after her to put pressure on me," Raffensperger added.
"Some people broke into my daughter-in-law's home. My son has passed. She's a widow. She has two kids. So we're very concerned about her safety also," he concluded.
Georgia election worker Shaye Moss testified last before the committee. She recalled threats she and her mother Ruby Freeman faced after Trump and Giuliani accused them by name of election tampering.
Moss said she had first heard about the accusations against her and her mother shortly after Giuliani appeared at the state legislative hearing and compared the two women to drug dealers. She told the committee that when she looked at her Facebook messages, there were death threats and other "horrible things".
"How has this experience of being targeted by the former president and his allies affected your life?" Schiff asked Moss, who eventually left her job.
Wiping away tears, she responded: "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 don't want to go anywhere with my mom because she might yell my name out over the grocery aisle or something. I don't go to the grocery store at all. I haven't been anywhere at all. I gained about 60 pounds. I don't do nothing anymore. I don't want to go anywhere. I second-guess everything that I do.''
Moss' mother later said in a videotaped deposition that around the week of Jan 6, 2021, the FBI told her she had to leave her home for two months due to threats against her.
"It was horrible. I felt homeless. I felt, you know — I can't believe this person has caused this much damage to me and my family. To have to leave my home that I've lived there for 21 years,'' she said.
"There is nowhere I feel safe, nowhere," she said in the recording. "Do you know how it feels to have the president of the United States target you? The president of the United States is supposed to represent every American, not to target one."