Despite the opposition of close supporters, former US President Donald Trump spread false claims of massive election fraud after his 2020 election defeat.
At the public hearings of the parliamentary investigative committee on the Capitol storming on January 6, 2021, corresponding videotaped statements by Trump’s former Attorney General and campaign chief were played on Monday. Trump himself described the event as a “comedy” and persisted in his claims.
“I told him it was crazy stuff,” ex-Attorney General Bill Barr said in testimony to the voter fraud allegations. Trump apparently “lost touch with reality”.
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Trump’s campaign manager at the time, Bill Stepien, said that on election night on November 3, 2020, he unsuccessfully advised the incumbent against prematurely declaring himself the winner. “He thought I was wrong, he told me that, and that they were going in a different direction,” Stepien said.
And Trump’s daughter and advisor Ivanka Trump also said in her recorded statement: “It became obvious that the election would not be decided that evening”.
Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, a member of the U Committee, said Trump didn’t listen to Stepien on election night, but to his “apparently drunk” attorney Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York. “Trump’s campaign legal team knew there was no legitimate argument – fraud or irregularities or anything – to overturn the election.”
The former president responded to the allegations for the first time on Monday evening (local time) with a twelve-page statement. In it he described the public hearings as a “parody of justice”. He also persisted in his allegations of voter fraud, reiterating that the U-Committee was only “attempting to divert public attention from the truth.”
On the night of November 4, 2020, Trump declared himself the winner of the presidential election against Democrat Joe Biden and at the same time raised allegations of election fraud. Months earlier, in April 2020, the right-wing populist had declared that he could only lose the election through massive voter fraud.
Democrats are calling this the “Big Lie,” which ultimately led to the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol by radical Trump supporters. “Donald Trump lost the election – and he knew he lost the election – and because of that loss decided to launch an attack on our democracy,” U Committee Chair Democrat Bennie Thompson said Monday .
Hundreds of Trump supporters had stormed the Capitol when Biden’s victory in the presidential election was to be certified there. The riots that left five dead caused horror around the world. Biden’s Democrats, in particular, believe there was a coordinated campaign to overturn the 2020 presidential election result and keep Trump in the White House.
The committee’s senior investigative adviser, Amanda Wick, said Monday Trump’s associates raised $250 million from the allegations between election night and the rioting. “The big lie was also a big rip-off,” she said.
The nine members of the investigative committee – seven Democrats and two Republicans – had started their work almost a year ago. Since then they have viewed around 140,000 documents and interviewed more than a thousand witnesses. The panel began a series of public hearings last week.
A year and a half after the storming of the Capitol, millions of Trump supporters remain adamant that the 2020 election was marred by voter fraud. So far, however, no evidence has been presented; on the contrary, allegations made are regularly refuted and refuted.
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