Jan. 6 committee links Trump’s election claims to violent threats
The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack linked former President Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud in 2020 to violent threats and harassment that his supporters directed at state officials and local election workers.
The select committee spent much of a Tuesday hearing highlighting how Trump’s effort to stay in office by casting doubt on the integrity of state election processes created a risk of violence even before the attack on the Capitol.
Shaye Freeman Moss, a Georgia election worker seen on a widely-circulated video that Trump and his allies falsely claimed to show election fraud, testified that the unfounded allegations upended her life, making her and her mother targets for some of Trump’s supporters.
“It’s 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,” Moss told lawmakers. “I don’t go anywhere with my mom. I don’t go to the grocery store at all. I haven’t been anywhere at all. I’ve gained about 60 pounds.”
Rusty Bowers, the Republican speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives, testified that Trump and his legal adviser Rudy Giuliani tried to pressure him into convening a panel of state lawmakers to investigate and act on allegations of election fraud that had supposedly delivered the state to Biden.
When he refused their request, Bowers said his office and home were inundated by threats, harassment and protests.
“At home up until even recently, it is the new pattern or a pattern in our lives to worry what will happen on Saturdays,” Bowers testified. “Because we have various groups come by and they have had video panel trucks with videos of me, proclaiming me to be a pedophile and a pervert and a corrupt politician, and blaring loudspeakers in my neighborhood and leaving literature both on my property and arguing and threatening with neighbors and with myself.”
He added that one man was verbally threatening one of Bowers’s neighbors while carrying a pistol. Bowers said the man was sporting “three bars” on his clothing, an apparent reference to the logo of the far-right Three Percenters militia group.
“It was disturbing,” Bowers said of the protests outside his home.
And Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia secretary of state who also rebuffed Trump’s pressure to overturn his state’s results, told of how his cell phone and email were flooded with angry messages, while his wife was targeted with “sexualized” messages.
“You have to understand that Trish and I, we met in high school, we’ve been married for 40 years now,” Raffensperger said. “And so they started going after her I think just to probably put pressure on me.”
The committee underscored the abuse that Moss and her mother, Ruby Freeman, faced in Georgia. Neither were public figures before a lawyer for the Trump campaign in December of 2020 showed video of them at a vote counting site and claimed that it showed them producing fake ballots from a suitcase.
While the “evidence” was quickly debunked by investigators, including federal law enforcement, Giuliani and other Trump allies continued to tout the footage as proof of their claims.
“If the most powerful person in the world can bring the full weight of the presidency down on an ordinary citizen, who was merely doing our job, with a lie as big and heavy as a mountain, who among us is safe,” Schiff said.
Freeman, who said she goes by ‘Lady Ruby,’ told the committee that she had to flee her home for months on the advice of the FBI as a result of all the threats against her and her daughter.
“There is nowhere I feel safe. Nowhere,” she said in videotaped testimony that was played Tuesday. “Do you know how it feels to have the president of the United States to target you? The president of the United States is supposed to represent every American, not to target one. But he targeted me, Lady Ruby, a small business owner, a mother, a proud American citizen, who stands up to help Fulton County run an election in the middle of the pandemic.”
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