Politics

Capitol storming: Local elected officials recount Donald Trump’s pressure to invalidate 2020 election

Pressure, intimidation, threats … The boss of the elected Republicans of Arizona recounted on Tuesday the methods of Donald Trump and his lawyers to try to convince him to overturn the result of the American presidential election of November 2020 in this conservative state won by Joe Biden.

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The Republican billionaire justified his requests by his conviction that the election had been “stolen” from him by repeating accusations of fraud, which he never provided proof of and which were swept away by the courts.

But the billionaire's supporters stormed the US Congress on January 6, 2021, to try to prevent the validation of the Democratic candidate's victory, plunging the country into chaos for several hours.

Jan. 6 Hearings: Watch Live Coverage - The New York Times

Mr. Trump's claims about his victory in Arizona were “false”, assured Rusty Bowers, president of the House of Representatives of this state, before the commission of inquiry into this attack in Washington.

“Anyone who would say, anywhere and anytime, that I said the election was rigged, that would not be true,” added the elected official.

He also called “false” the allegations of the lawyer for the ex-president, Rudy Giuliani, evoking “hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants and thousands of dead who had voted” for Joe Biden.

Despite multiple requests, Bower said he “never” saw evidence of the allegations, citing a conversation with the former New York mayor.

“He said, ‘we have a lot of theories, we don't have any evidence. And I don't know if it was a blunder.

“Tragic Parody”

Mr. Bowers refused to summon the local assembly to invalidate the poll, then to replace the electors elected, responsible for certifying the result of the vote, by supporters of Mr. Trump.

In the American electoral system, it is these electors who designate the winner of the election 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 threatening, gathered outside his home to insult him, he said. told, with tears in his eyes.

Mr. Trump's legal team, however, went ahead with their plan. Supporters of the billionaire, chosen as parallel voters in the key states won by Joe Biden, had overturned the result of the ballot by means of false certificates.

But Vice President Mike Pence, who was presiding over 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 supported him in 2020.

Brad Raffensperger, Georgia's secretary of state, had received a phone call from Donald Trump in which the president asked him to “find” nearly 12,000 ballots in his name, enough to beat Joe Biden in this southern state controlled by the Republicans.

“No bulletins to be found”

He had again mentioned electoral fraud and ballot box stuffing, charges dismissed by the courts.

But Brad Raffensperger did not give in. “Numbers are numbers and we couldn't recount (votes) because we made sure we checked every allegation,” he told the committee on Tuesday.

“There were no ballots to be found, the account was accurate and it was certified,” he pointed out.

He has also been the target of harassment and threats, like Shaye Moss, a simple election agent from Atlanta who had participated in the counting of the ballots on election night with his mother.

Donald Trump had accused them by name of being “professional scammers”.

“It turned my life upside down,” she said Tuesday, recounting having received 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 children of the former president, to shed light on the actions of Donald Trump before, during and after the January 6 attack.

The committee's fifth hearing will take place on Thursday, and will look into the president's efforts to pressure the Justice Department to stay in power.

Donald Trump, who has never conceded his defeat in the presidential election, denounced Tuesday on social networks “political thugs who have criminalized justice on a level never seen before in our country”

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