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Trump aides tell Jan. 6 committee he ignored their doubts about election fraud

World Jun 13, 2022 10:27PM ET
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3/3 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a rally to boost Ohio Republican candidates ahead of their May 3 primary election, at the county fairgrounds in Delaware, Ohio, U.S. April 23, 2022. REUTERS/Gaelen Morse/File Photo 2/3

By Patricia Zengerle and Richard Cowan

WASHINGTON(Reuters) - Top advisers to then-President Donald Trump told him that his claims of widespread election fraud were unfounded and would not reverse his 2020 election loss, but he refused to listen, according to testimony on Monday at a hearing of the committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Close aides and family members said they told Trump that they found no merit in a wide range of often outlandish allegations that surfaced after his election defeat, including reports of a "suspicious suitcase" containing fake ballots, a truck transporting ballots to Pennsylvania and computer chips swapped into voting machines.

"I thought, boy, if he really believes this stuff he has lost contact with, he's become detached from reality," said William Barr, who served as Trump's attorney general and was long known as loyal to the Republican president. In video testimony, Barr bluntly dismissed claims of fraud as "bullshit" and "crazy stuff."

"There was never an indication of interest in what the actual facts were," he said.

The Democratic-led House of Representatives Select Committee investigating the assault on the U.S. Capitol by thousands of Trump supporters presented its findings at the second of an expected six this month on its nearly year-long investigation into the riot.

Monday's hearing sought to make the case that Trump ignored the advice of many of his own staffers when he claimed that the 2020 presidential election was "stolen" from him.

Committee members argue that Trump's repeated fraud claims, known by Democrats as "The Big Lie," convinced his followers to attack the Capitol.

"He and his closest advisers knew those claims were false, but they continued to peddle them anyway, right up until the moments before a mob of Trump supporters attacked the Capitol," said Democratic Representative Zoe Lofgren.

Democrats said Trump raised some $250 million from supporters to advance fraud claims in court but instead steered much of the money elsewhere.

"The 'Big Lie' was also a big ripoff," Lofgren said.

Trump has denied wrongdoing, and repeatedly insisted that he did not lose, dismissing the Select Committee investigation as a political witchhunt.

Opinion polls show that many of Trump's supporters still believe his false claims about the election. Some are now running for offices in which they would oversee future elections. Trump has hinted at running for president again in 2024 but has not announced any decision.

CAMPAIGN 'DID NOT MAKE ITS CASE'

Bill Stepien, Trump's campaign manager, said he recommended on election night that Trump steer clear of any pronouncement of victory and instead say votes were still being counted.

"He thought I was wrong. He told me so, and that they were going to go, that he was going to go in a different direction," Stepien said in videotaped testimony. Stepien was slated to testify in person, but cancelled at the last minute when his wife went into labor.

Trump went on television to preemptively declare victory at the urging of Rudy Giuliani, a former New York City mayor. Campaign advisor Jason Miller testified that Giuliani was not sober at the time.

"The mayor was definitely intoxicated but I, um, did not know his level of intoxication when he spoke with the president, for example," Miller said in video testimony.

Byung J. "BJay" Pak, who resigned as U.S. attorney in Atlanta as Trump's camp questioned Georgia's election results, said he found no evidence of fraud in that state.

Referring to the suspicious suitcase that supposedly contained fake or altered ballots, Pak said, sitting at the witness table: "The alleged black suitcase being pulled from under the table was an official lock box."

Monday's session followed a blockbuster hearing on Thursday night featuring testimony showing that close Trump allies - even Trump's daughter Ivanka - rejected his false claims of voting fraud. Nearly 20 million Americans watched the hearing aired in the primetime peak television viewing hours.

Four people died the day of the attack, one fatally shot by police and the others of natural causes. Some 140 police officers were injured, and one died the next day. Four officers later died by suicide.

Nearly 850 people have been arrested for crimes related to the riot, including more than 250 charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement.

(This story refiles to add attribution, paragraph 8)

Trump aides tell Jan. 6 committee he ignored their doubts about election fraud
 

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Comments (22)
gab nea
gab nea Jun 14, 2022 8:18AM ET
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if you think trump is great, then you must be what the GOP calls mentally sick with an AR15.
Co Gonz
Co Gonz Jun 14, 2022 8:18AM ET
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You must be the one that wuld follow germany in the 40s
gab nea
gab nea Jun 14, 2022 8:15AM ET
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he keeps duping his donors for money he uses personally. what saps!
Brad Albright
Brad Albright Jun 14, 2022 8:15AM ET
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After the election, Trump sent out fundraising emails for The Election Defense fund. Although tens of millions were donated, there was no such fund and the money was funneled to political cronies, including $60,000 to Don Jr's girlfriend for making Don't Jr's introduction at the January 6th rally. A conman and his saps.
Co Gonz
Co Gonz Jun 14, 2022 8:15AM ET
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Brad Albright you mean hunter and the big guy don’t get their cut? Hmm maybe we should send koney to Ukraine because we owe them for giving us all that $$$$
Ken Roth
Ken Roth Jun 14, 2022 5:28AM ET
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Poor suckers that paid money to his fake election fund that only pays his rent.
Alan Greenleaf
Alan Greenleaf Jun 13, 2022 9:52PM ET
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Barr is  no friend of Trump, and hardly qualifies as a top aid, except as a failed one.  They have videos of al this stuff!  If they charge him, they will embarrass themselves.  Didn't Hillary say the same thing?
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Jun 13, 2022 9:52PM ET
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"Barr is  no friend of Trump, and hardly qualifies as a top aid"  -- the Attorney General he appointed wasn't qualified?  so whose fault was that?  let me guess, it's Biden's fault!
Brad Albright
Brad Albright Jun 13, 2022 9:52PM ET
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The committee had Republican officials address the "videos of all this stuff." They were investigated. There was no wrong doing. Perfectly good explanations for the videos that people misinterpreted. My friend, you can lock yourself into misunderstanding or you can watch yesterday's hearing to see what the FBI, Republican election officials and, yes, even Trump administration officials have to say about those videos.
Brad Albright
Brad Albright Jun 13, 2022 5:45PM ET
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Another thing I found interesting from today's hearing was that Trump sent out fundraising emails claiming the election was stolen and asking for donations to an Election Defense Fund to which poor schmucks donated 10s of millions of dollars. It turns out, that fund did not exist and the money was funneled to Trump cronies. Wow!
Brad Albright
Brad Albright Jun 13, 2022 5:37PM ET
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The most impressive new information to come from today's hearing fore was the extent to which Trump's staff, DOJ, FBI, state election officials (of both parties), state law enforcement, and judges, including many appointed by Trump, investigated Trump's election fraud claims. Trump complains that nobody looked into it, but reality is the exact opposite. The examination was exhaustive and northing, not the thousands of dead people voting, the ballot drops, the ballots trucked in, the suitcase of ballots, the "over votes" - none of it had any truth to it.
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Chris Cummins
Chris Cummins Jun 13, 2022 5:37PM ET
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Tom Woosley  Link please! Most of the "fake" ballots I have read about were actually for the dumpster fire.
Chris Cummins
Chris Cummins Jun 13, 2022 5:37PM ET
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Tom Woosley  Link please. (to a legitimate site not some Q stuff)
Chris Cummins
Chris Cummins Jun 13, 2022 5:37PM ET
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Tom Woosley  Link please
Co Gonz
Co Gonz Jun 13, 2022 5:37PM ET
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Brad Albright i guess asking questions makes you ignorant- not according to brilliant people.. pa also allows illegals to vote and this is an ongoing court case
Co Gonz
Co Gonz Jun 13, 2022 5:37PM ET
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Chris Cummins pa kicked out poll watchers and over 600k votes during this time. Under pa laws those votes don’t count- source pa constitution and you can look up that they kicked the poll watchers out
First Last
First Last Jun 13, 2022 5:29PM ET
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"pipeline was in production"  --  A pipeline is not a rig; a pipeline transport, not produce.  I can't believe I have to explain that to carlos.
First Last
First Last Jun 13, 2022 5:29PM ET
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There's a big difference between saying "shutting down ... pipeline" and "shutting down production of pipeline".  Again, "instead of just admitting being wrong or misspeaking," ...
First Last
First Last Jun 13, 2022 5:29PM ET
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Even better is saying "shutting down construction of pipeline".  It's a civil engineering project, not something off a factory mass production line.
Nils Hullmann
Nils Hullmann Jun 13, 2022 4:42PM ET
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national leftwing tv sharade to distract from Dems booming Economy and soon mass unemployment
Madskie Marcelo
Madskie Marcelo Jun 13, 2022 4:42PM ET
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thanks god emperor trump for fukin up rona and bailing out big corporates with tax payer money which created this inflation today. then there is the prolonged rona outbreak leading to zero demand of oil creating negative oil prices which killed small oil companies which made big oil oligarch monopolies stronger today which is what controling the price today by them limiting their production and increasing the prices
Ken Roth
Ken Roth Jun 13, 2022 4:42PM ET
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We dont need your russian opinion
Brad Albright
Brad Albright Jun 13, 2022 3:53PM ET
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What is this all about? I've been having a yard sale to raise more money to send to Trump, so I haven't heard about it. Did they prove the election was stolen? Did they look at Mike Pillow's spreadsheet!
Brad Albright
Brad Albright Jun 13, 2022 3:53PM ET
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Hillary Clinton conceded graciously..
JIM VETTER
JIM VETTER Jun 13, 2022 3:53PM ET
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What's with all the liberal trash talk?
Co Gonz
Co Gonz Jun 13, 2022 3:53PM ET
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Brad Albright is that a joke… google that and you’ll see she never actually conceded but still says to this day there was voter fraud.. can’t take the fact that the entire world hates her.. biden only got around 50m votes.. proof is in the numbers and numbers don’t lie bro
Co Gonz
Co Gonz Jun 13, 2022 3:53PM ET
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JIM VETTER probably just 13 year olds or bots
First Last
First Last Jun 13, 2022 3:15PM ET
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Going from "shutting down" to " stopped the domestic US pipeline from being up and running" is moving the goal post.  carlos do that a lot instead of just admitting being wrong or misspeaking.  Fragile ego.
 
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