Latest Capitol riot hearings reveal Donald Trump’s push to overturn election.  Here are the key takeaways

Latest Capitol riot hearings reveal Donald Trump’s push to overturn election. Here are the key takeaways

A scheme to use “fake electors” and personal threats to public officials revealed in chilling, tearful testimony: these are the fresh details from the latest January 6 Capitol riot hearings in the US.

And these public testimonies have revealed more of Donald Trump’s plan to overturn the 2020 US election.

The committee’s chairman Bennie Thompson said pressing public servants into “betraying their oaths” was a crucial part of Mr Trump’s “playbook”.

Here are the key takeaways from the latest hearing.

‘It was disturbing’: Arizona Republican details threats

Arizona’s House speaker Rusty Bowers testified in person, saying he was pressured to overturn the key state’s election results, fielding calls from the former president and his legal team.

Mr Bowers said he repeatedly asked Mr Trump’s lawyers to show evidence of widespread fraud, but they never provided any. He said he told them he wouldn’t do anything illegal.

He recalled Trump team lawyer Rudy Giuliani at one point told him: “‘We’ve got lots of theories, we just don’t have the evidence.'”

Rusty Bowers in a suit and blue tie testifying at a microphone, with camera in background
Rusty Bowers repeatedly asked Mr Trump’s lawyers to show their evidence of vote fraud.(Reuters: Jonathan Ernst)

Mr Bowers said: “I did not feel that the evidence, in its absence, deserved a hearing and I didn’t want to be used as a pawn.”

In the days and weeks after the calls, he said he was subject to a smear campaign online and “it was disturbing”.

He told stories of people outside his house on loudspeakers and one man with a gun who verbally threatened his neighbour.

He teared up as he spoke of his wife and his daughter, who he said was “gravely ill,” becoming upset as people swarmed outside.

His daughter died in the weeks after the riots.

Close up of emotional Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers, with tears in his eyes
Mr Bowers was emotional when detailing the threats he and his family received.(Reuters/Pool: Doug Mills)

Before Mr Bowers’s testimony, Mr Trump released a statement about a November call between the pair, saying “he told me the election was rigged and I won Arizona”.

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In response, Mr Bowers said:

Hand-delivering fake voters

The committee was shown texts sent from an aide to Republican senator Ron Johnson to another aide for then vice-president Mike Pence.

They said the senator wanted to hand-deliver a fake voter certificate to Mr Pence.

Electors are part of the US political system’s electoral college—and 538 of them formally cast votes for the president.

Those votes are then counted in a joint session of Congress in January, and Mr Pence was in charge of announcing the winner.

Asked for a comment, Mr Johnson’s spokesperson Alexa Henning referred to a tweet, in which she wrote: “The senator had no involvement in the creation of an alternate slate of electors and had no foreknowledge that it was going to be delivered to our office.”

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Much of the latest testimony has tied Donald Trump directly to the pressure campaign, including an effort to replace state electors with officials expected to support Mr Trump’s efforts to reverse the election outcome.

Trump calls to ‘find those votes’

Mr Trump’s pressure was most intense in georgiawhere Joe Biden had narrowly won after years of Republican presidential victories in the state.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his deputy, Gabe Sterlingtested about becoming two of the former president’s top targets as he floated conspiracy theories, but they refused to back down to his pressure.

Brad Raffensperger in a red tie speaks at a desk while his deputy Gabe Sterling looks on
Brad Raffensperger and his deputy Gabe Sterling told of the stress they were under.(AP Photo: Jacquelyn Martin)

The committee played audio of the call where Mr Trump asked the officials there to “find” 11,780 votes that could flip the state to prevent Mr Biden’s election victory.

He also alleged thousands of dead people voted — but Mr Raffensperger said they found just four.

“There were no votes to find,” Mr Raffensperger said.

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