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House Jan. 6 committee zeroes in on Trump's false election claims in public hearing

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Barr rejects Trump's election claims
Barr: Trump's election claims "detached from reality" 03:01

The House Jan. 6 committee focused its second public hearing on those closest to former President Donald Trump who said they told him it was too premature to declare victory on election night in 2020 — and how Trump used his premature declaration of victory to push baseless claims that the election was stolen.

The committee showed video testimony from top officials in the Trump administration who said former Vice President Mike Pence and White House were aware there was no evidence to support Trump's claims of voter fraud.

Former Attorney General William Barr said in recorded video testimony that he knew early claims that Trump had won the election were "bogus" and "silly."

"The department, in fact, when we received specific and credible allegations of fraud, made an effort to look into these to satisfy ourselves that they were without merit," Barr said in recorded testimony that was shown Monday. 

Committee chair U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson said in his opening statement that they would "tell the story of how Donald Trump lost an election, and knew he lost an election  and as a result of his loss decided to wage an attack on our democracy, an attack on the American people, by trying to rob you of your voice in our democracy — and in doing so, lit the fuse that led to the horrific violence of Jan. 6, when a mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol." 

Bill Barr video testimony in Capitol Riot investigation
Former Attorney General William Barr is seen in a video as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol continues to reveal its findings at a hearing on Monday, June 13, 2022. Susan Walsh / AP

At the conclusion of the hearing, Thompson played video of Trump supporters on Jan. 6 repeating the former president's false claims that the election had been stolen. 

In addition to the video testimony of Trump officials and some footage from Jan. 6, Monday's hearing also featured several witnesses. The first witness to testify was former Fox News political editor Chris Stirewalt, who defended the Fox News Decision Desk's controversial early call on election night that President Joe Biden had won Arizona – a call that was ultimately correct. 

Thompson asked Stirewalt if Trump had any basis to declare victory on Nov. 4, 2020, and Stirewalt responded "no." Some of Trump's top advisers testified that the former president was angry when that call was made. 

The witness who was supposed to testify with Stirewalt, Trump's former campaign manager William Stepien, did not end up appearing because his wife went into labor. The committee played video of Stepien's earlier interview by the committee, when he said he had been part of "Team Normal," unlike "Rudy's team," meaning Rudy Giuliani, who pushed the false election claims.

"I didn't think what was happening was necessarily honest or professional at that point in time," Stepien said of Trump allies raising unfounded claims the election had been rigged. "That led to me stepping away."

Committee vice chair Liz Cheney said in her opening remarks that Trump decided not to heed the advice of some of his closest advisers but instead decided to listen to an "apparently inebriated" Giuliani. The committee also played video of former Trump adviser Jason Miller saying that Giuliani was "definitely intoxicated" on election night. 

Giuliani's lawyer issued a statement Monday afternoon pushing back on that the claim that Giuliani was intoxicated. "The Mayor suggests that you speak to others who were with him as they will undoubtedly corroborate the Mayor's denial," said Giuliani's attorney, Robert Costello, in a statement. 

Committee member Rep. Zoe Lofgren also said that Trump continued to fundraise on false election claims well past Dec. 14, the date when litigation over the election generally ends.  Lofgren then introduced a video presentation describing how Trump used his lies about the integrity of the election to raise "millions" from the American people and spread his false claims.

According to Amanda Wick, senior investigative counsel, the committee estimated that between Nov. 3 and Jan. 6, the Trump campaign sent scores of fundraising emails — as many as 25 per day — that claimed a "left-wing mob" was undermining the election and pushed small-dollar donors to "fight back" by contributing to the so-called "Election Defense Fund." The video featured testimony from Hanna Allred, a former Trump campaign staffer who told investigators, "I don't believe there is actually a fund called the Election Defense Fund."

The other witnesses appeared in a panel: former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia BJay Pak, former Philadelphia city commissioner Al Schmidt, and conservative election attorney Benjamin Ginsberg. 

Pak, who resigned on Jan. 4, 2021, said he had been asked to look into several of the baseless claims of the stolen election. One of the claims he was asked to investigate originated with former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, who alleged a suitcase of ballots had been illegally added to count. Pak said that was false. 

"We found that the suitcase full of ballots, the alleged black suitcase that was being seen pulled from under the table, was actually an official lockbox where ballots were kept safe," Pak testified.

Schmidt was targeted by Trump in a tweet after the election, accused by him of being a tool of the media who "refuses to look at a mountain of corruption & dishonesty." He rejected Giuliani's claim that there were dead voters in Pennsylvania. "Not only was there not evidence of 8,000 dead voters voting in Pennsylvania, there wasn't evidence of eight," Schmidt said. 

The committee has two more hearings scheduled this week on Wednesday and Thursday. 

 

Thompson says committee will not issue criminal referral on Trump

Thompson told reporters Monday night that the committee will not be issuing criminal referals on Trump or anyone else. 

"We're going to tell the facts," Thompson said. "If the Department of Justice looks at it, and assumes that there's something that needs further review, I'm sure they'll do it."

He continued that it was not their job — and they don't the authority — to make criminal referrals. 

"Our job is to look at the facts and circumstances around January 6, what caused it and make recommendations after that," Thompson said. 

He said the report at the end will be a "public document," the Justice Department will have access to it and if they want to speak to the committee or the staff, they can. Before leaving, Thompson said the Justice Department had already asked for some materials, but "they have not had access to any of the material."

Ellis Kim and Caroline Linton  

 

Analysis of Day 2 of the House Jan. 6 committee hearings

Analysis of Day 2 of the House Jan. 6 committee hearings 12:04

The House committee investigating Jan. 6 heard taped testimony Monday from former Attorney General BIll Barr, Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien and others who said the former president knew there was no evidence to support his claims of election fraud. "CBS Evening News" anchor and managing editor Norah O'Donnell discusses the key takeaways with a panel of CBS News correspondents and analysts.  

 

Trump issues 12-page statement on hearing

Several hours after the hearing ended, Trump issued a statement on TRUTH Social. In the four-paragraph introduction, Trump highlighted inflation, supply chain problems, the baby formula shortage and the withdrawal from Afghanistan and claimed Democrats are trying to distract from these problems with the hearings. 

"Seventeen months after the events of January 6th, Democrats are unable to offer solutions," Trump said. "They are desperate to change the narrative of a failing nation, without even making mention of the havoc and death caused by the Radical Left just months earlier. Make no mistake, they control the government. They own this disaster. They are hoping that these hearings will somehow alter their failing prospects."

The statement included a link to an expanded 12-page statement on some of the claims in Monday's hearing.  

By Caroline Linton
 

Giuliani's lawyer denies claim he was intoxicated on Election Night

Rudy Giuliani's lawyer issued a statement on Monday afternoon denying that he was intoxicated on Election Night.  Robert Costello said Giuiliani did not know why Jason Miller would "make such a false claim." 

"The Mayor suggests you speak to others who were with him as they will undoubtedly corroborate the Mayor's denial," Costello said. 

Costello added that Giuliani testified before the House select committee for seven and a half hours and he was not asked about "this false claim."  Costello alleged the committee knew about the claim before Giuliani testified. 

By Caroline Linton
 

Committee adjourns for the day

The committee adjourned for the day at 12:51 p.m. The next hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Wednesday. 

By Kathryn Watson
 

Lofgren says the Trump campaign used false election claims to raise "millions"

Before concluding the second hearing of the select committee, Rep. Zoe Lofgren detailed how the former president's campaign used his baseless voter fraud allegations to rake in millions of dollars in donations from his supporters under the guise of an "Election Defense Fund."

"Litigation generally does not continue past the safe harbor date of Dec. 14, but the fact that this litigation went on, well that decision makes more sense when you consider the Trump campaign's fundraising tactics, because if the litigation had stopped on Dec. 14, there would've been no fight to defend the election and no clear path to continue to raise millions of dollars," she said. 

Lofgren then introduced a video presentation describing how Trump used his lies about the integrity of the election to raise "millions" from the American people and spread his false claims.

According to Amanda Wick, senior investigative counsel, the committee estimated that between Nov. 3 and Jan. 6, the Trump campaign sent scores of fundraising emails — as many as 25 per day — that claimed a "left-wing mob" was undermining the election and pushed small-dollar donors to "fight back" by contributing to the so-called "Election Defense Fund."

The video featured testimony from Hanna Allred, a former Trump campaign staffer who told investigators, "I don't believe there is actually a fund called the Election Defense Fund."

Gary Coby, former digital director for the Trump campaign, said in an interview with the committee the Election Defense Fund was a marketing tactic. 

Appeals about the integrity of the election from the Trump campaign and the former president's allies brought in $250 million, according to Wick, nearly $100 million of which was donated the first week after the election.

Most of the money raised went not to election-related litigation, but rather to Trump's Save America PAC, which in turn contributed "millions" to pro-Trump organizations including: $1 million to the Conservative Partnership Institute, where former White House chief of statt Mark Meadows is senior partner;  $1 million to the America First Policy Institute, a research organization that employs numerous former Trump officials; $204,857 to the Trump Hotel Collection; and $5 million to Event Strategies Inc., the company that ran the Jan. 6 rally on the Ellipse.

By Melissa Quinn
 

Barr says Trump was the "weak element" on the GOP ticket

Barr debunked claims raised by Trump and Giuliani about voter fraud in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania broadly, saying in video testimony that the former president's allegation that more people voted in Philadelphia than there were registered voters "absolute rubbish."

"The turnout in Philadelphia was in line with the state's turnout and in fact was not as impressive as many suburban counties. There was nothing strange about the Philadelphia turnout," Barr told committee investigators. "I think once you actually look at the votes, there's an obvious explanation. He, for example, in Pennsylvania, Trump ran weaker than the Republican ticket generally. He ran weaker than two of the state candidates, he ran weaker than the congressional delegation running for federal Congress."

Barr continued: Trump "generally was the weak element on the Republican ticket. So that does not suggest that the election was stolen by fraud."

The former attorney general recalled explaining to Trump at some point the purported discrepancies between the number of absentee ballots issued and cast in Pennsylvania.

Joining Barr in refuting claims of voter fraud in Pennsylvania was Al Schmidt, a Republican who as a city commissioner served on the Philadelphia Board of Elections. Schmidt rejected claims from Rudy Giuliani that 8,000 dead people cast votes in Pennsylvania. 

"Not only was there not evidence of 8,000 dead voters voting in Pennsylvania, there wasn't evidence of eight," he told the committee during the hearing. "We took seriously every case that was referred to us, no matter how fantastical, no matter how absurd, and took every one of those seriously, including these."

Trump attacked Schmidt by name in a tweet posted Nov. 11, 2020, calling him a "so-called Republican" who "refuses to look at a mountain of corruption & dishonesty."

While Schmidt received threats before Trump's tweet that he characterized as "general in nature," he said they became "much more specific, much more graphic" after the former president's Twitter attack.

The threats targeted "not just me by name, but included members of my family, by name, their ages, our address, pictures of our home, just every bit of detail that you could imagine. That was what changed with that tweet," Schmidt told lawmakers.

In one text message provided to the committee and displayed during the hearing, an unidentified person wrote on Nov. 12, 2020: "You a traitor. Perhaps 75cuts and 20bullets will soon arrive." 

An email Schmidt received that same day included information about his children and threatened "COPS CAN'T HELP YOU. #Q HEADS ON SPIKES. TREASONOUS SCHMIDTS."

By Melissa Quinn
 

Former U.S. Attorney in Georgia says widespread voter fraud didn't happen there

The former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, BJay Pak, testified before the committee in person about efforts to get him to look into baseless claims of election fraud in Georgia. He found they were unsubstantiated. 

One of the claims he was asked to look into was from former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, who talked about suitcases of ballots existing. 

"We found that the suitcase full of ballots, the alleged black suitcase that was being seen pulled from under the table, was actually an official lockbox where ballots were kept safe," Pak testified in person. "We found out that there was a mistake in terms of a misunderstanding that they were done counting ballots or tallying ballots for the night. And the partisan watchers that were assigned by each of the respective parties were announced and sent home."

But once the mistake was realized, the official ballot box was brought back and they continued to tally the ballots from the lockbox, Pak said, claiming Giuliani only played part of a clip. 

Pak said there was not evidence of widespread fraud that was sufficient to overturn the results in Georgia. 

By Kathryn Watson
 

Top White House advisers knew there was no evidence to support voter fraud claims, testimony shows

Top officials within the Trump administration, including former Vice President Mike Pence and White House lawyers, were aware there was no evidence to support Trump's claims of voter fraud, according to testimony from Alex Cannon, a lawyer with the Trump campaign.

In a taped deposition, Cannon recalled speaking in mid-November 2020 with Peter Navarro, then a White House adviser, about claims Dominion's voting machines were changing votes and other allegations of voter fraud.

"I remember telling him that I didn't believe the Dominion allegations because I thought the hand recount in Georgia would resolve any issues with the technology problem and with Dominion, or Dominion flipping votes," Cannon said, adding that he mentioned a statement from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and then-Director Chris Krebs that declared the 2020 election secure. 

Navarro, Cannon recalled, "accused me of being an agent of the Deep State working with Chris Krebs against the president."

Cannon said he also had a brief conversation with Pence in November about voter fraud claims, during which he told the vice president he was not finding evidence of widespread fraud to alter the results of the election.

Derek Lyons, who served as White House staff secretary, also told the committee that allegations of fraud were discussed in a meeting more than a month after the election, during which White House counsel Pat Cipollone and Herschmann told Trump none of his claims had been "substantiated to the point where they could be the basis for any litigation challenge to the election." 

"President Trump's own vice president and his top advisers also knew that there wasn't evidence to support the claims that the president was making," Lofgren said.

By Melissa Quinn
 

Barr says fraud claims were like "playing whack-a-mole," and if Trump really believed them, he had "become detached from reality"

In the days after the election, then-Attorney General Bill Barr testified to the committee that he knew the claims coming from Trump allies were "bogus" and "silly." Still, the Department of Justice investigated specific, credible investigations of fraud anyway. 

"The department, in fact, when we received specific and credible allegations of fraud, made an effort to look into these to satisfy ourselves that they were without merit," Barr said in recorded testimony that was shown Monday. 

Former Attorney General William Barr testifies election fraud claims were "crazy stuff" 15:38

"And I was in the posture of trying to figure out -- there was an avalanche of all these allegations of fraud that built up over a number of days and it was like playing whack-a-mole, because something would come out one day and then the next day, it would be another issue," Barr continued in his recorded testimony. 

"Also, I was influenced by the fact that all the early claims that I understood were completely bogus and silly and usually based on complete misinformation," Barr added. "And so I didn't consider the quality of claims right out of the box to give me any feeling that there was really substance here." 

Be recalled telling an Associated Press reporter that there could not have been fraud in a widespread way that could have changed the outcome of the election, a statement he knew would anger Trump. He had a meeting scheduled at the White House that same day, Nov. 23. 2020.

"I went over there and I told my secretary that I would probably be fired and told not to … not to go back to my office, so I said, 'You might have to pack up for me,'" Barr said. 

Sure enough, when he went to the White House for a meeting, he said then-chief of staff Mark Meadows said the president was angry. 

"The president was as mad as I've ever seen him, and he was trying to control himself," Barr said, adding that Trump was going off about allegations like the "big vote dump" in Detroit. 

Barr said he told the president there was no indication of fraud in Detroit, and told the president the claims of fraud were false. 

Barr said he didn't see any supporting evidence for the claims being made, particularly when it came to the Dominion voting machines. Barr recalled Trump at one point saying there was definitive evidence of fraud on Dominion machines, and that Trump held up a report with supposed evidence for those claims. 

"While a copy was being made, he said, 'This is absolute proof that the Dominion machines were rigged. The report means that I'm going to have a second term.' And then he gave me a copy of the report. And as he talked more and more about it, I sat there flipping through the report and looking at it."

"And to be frank, it looked very amateurish to me," Barr continued. "… And the statements were made very conclusory, like 'these machines were designed to engage in fraud' or something to that effect, but I didn't see any supporting information for it. And I was somewhat demoralized because I thought, 'Boy if he really believes this stuff, he has you know, lost contact with — he's become detached from reality, if he really believes this stuff.'"

Barr says he told Trump how crazy the claims were. 

"There was never, there was never an indication of interest in what the actual facts were," Barr said in his recorded testimony. "And my opinion then and my opinion now is that the election was not stolen by fraud." 

By Kathryn Watson
 

Stepien told committee he was OK being part of "Team Normal," rather than Giuliani's team

At Jan. 6 hearing, former Fox News political editor Chris Stirewalt testifies on Trump's election loss 21:49

Stepien recalled that following the November election, two camps emerged within the Trump campaign: His team and "Rudy's team."

"I didn't mind being characterized as being part of 'Team Normal,' as reporters kind of started to do around that point in time," Stepien said, according to a clip played by the committee.

The former campaign manager recalled the array of Republican candidates he worked for, including Trump, former Sen. John McCain and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, as well as the varying circumstances he worked under, and prided himself for building up a reputation of honesty and professionalism. 

"I didn't think what was happening was necessarily honest or professional at that point in time," he said of Trump allies raising unfounded claims the election was rigged. "That led to me stepping away."

Lofgren added that Trump eventually allied himself with the legal team Giuliani was part of. 

"The president did get rid of Team Normal," she said.

By Melissa Quinn
 

Stepien's lawyer says wife didn't induce her labor

Kevin Marino, a lawyer for former Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, said Stepien's wife did not induce her labor. Stepien was set to testify to the committee on Monday morning, but had to cancel due to his wife's labor. 

Marino told CBS News that Stepien's wife called him early Monday morning and told him she went into labor. Stepien was advised to go to the hospital, Marino said. 

Marino said he then immediately told committee lawyers. 

By Caitlin Yilek
 

Former Fox News editor says he had no doubts Biden would win after network's controversial Arizona call

Chris Stirewalt prepares to testify at House January 6 Committee Hearing
Chris Stirewalt, former Fox News political editor, during a hearing of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol, on Monday, June 13, 2022.  Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former Fox News editor Chris Stirewalt described the Fox News Decision Desk's controversial decision to call the race for Joe Biden in Arizona, and the implications that had. Fox News was the first network to call Arizona for Biden, and everyone on the team had to agree to call the state for the candidate. 

"We were able to make the call early. We were able to beat the competition," Stirewalt said. 

Rep. Zoe Lofgren asked Stirewalt whether he had doubts that Biden would win the election after that Arizona call. 

"After that point? None," Stirewalt said. 

Stirewalt was fired from Fox News in January 2021, a firing he said came after his decision to defend the network calling Arizona for Biden. 

By Kathryn Watson
 

Barr said "everyone understood for weeks" there would be a surge of Democratic votes from mail-in ballots

In a taped interview with House investigators, Barr recalled that Trump's claims of election fraud were made "before there was any potential evidence" and was based on the notion that many votes for Democrats were tallied later on the night of November 3 as mail-in and absentee ballots were counted, which was to be expected.

"It seemed to be based on the dynamic that at the end of the evening, a lot of Democrat votes came in which changed the vote count in certain states and that seemed to be the basis for this broad claim that there was major fraud," Barr said, according to a clip played by the committee. "And I didn't think much of that because people had been talking for weeks and everyone understood for weeks that that was going to be what happened on election night."

Bill Stepien, Trump's 2020 campaign manager, told House investigators he told the president they would have to "wait and see" the outcome of the election. 

"I always told the president the truth, and you know, I think he expected that from me and I told him  it was going to be a process and you know, we'll have to wait and see how this turns out. Just like I did in 2016, I did in 2020," Stepien said, according to a clip of a taped interview with the committee that was played.

By Melissa Quinn
 

Video shown of depositions of Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and more Trump allies about election night

Some of President Trump's top aides described the atmosphere on Election Night at the White House, saying it was clear to many of them that it was too early to claim victory that night. 

Ivanka Trump, the president's daughter and top adviser, and her husband Jared Kushner, also a Trump adviser, told committee investigators that they were at the White House that night. 

Jason Miller said the mood shifted when Fox News declared victory for Joe Biden, but Rudy Giuliani, who appeared to be intoxicated, wanted President Trump to declare victory. "The mayor was definitely intoxicated," top aide Jason Miller said, adding that he didn't "know the level of his intoxication.

The president's daughter told committee investigators "it was becoming clear that the race would not be called on Election Night." 

Bill Stepien said he recommended the president say that votes were still being counted and it was too early to call the race. 

"But we are proud of the race we ran and we think we are in good position and we'll have more to say about this the next day," he said, adding that the president disagreed with that message. 

By Caitlin Yilek
 

Lofgren says Trump knew election fraud claims were false

Committee member Rep. Zoe Lofgren said not only did the president's closest advisers know claims of widespread election fraud were false, but Trump knew it, too. 

"Mr. Trump's closest advisers knew it. Mr. Trump knew it," she said.

Lofgren also alluded that the Trump operation raised a lot of money off the false idea that there was rampant fraud, enough to change the election results. 

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

By Kathryn Watson
 

Cheney says Trump followed advice of "apparently inebriated" Giuliani to claim victory on election night

In her opening remarks, committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney laid out a roadmap for what the public will hear during the select committee's second hearing and revealed that Trump, on the night of the election, took advice from an "apparently inebriated" Rudy Giuliani, his personal attorney.

"You will also hear testimony that President Trump rejected the advice of his campaign experts on election night and instead followed the course recommended by an apparently inebriated Rudy Giuliani to just claim he won and insist that the vote-counting stop, to falsely claim everything was fraudulent," Cheney previewed. "He falsely told the American people that the election was not legitimate."

The committee, she said, will lay out Trump's effort to convince Americans that the 2020 election was stolen from him and rife with voter fraud, despite the former president knowing that the counting of mail-in ballots in key battleground states would take days.

Cheney said Americanas will also hear more from former Attorney General Bill Barr, who appeared before the panel behind closed doors, and from others within the Justice Department who told Trump his baseless claims of election fraud were "nonsense."

Cheney played testimony from former White House lawyer Eric Herschmann , who rejected Trump's claims that voting machines from Dominion Voting Systems were switching votes cast for Trump to instead support President Biden.

"I never saw any evidence whatsoever to sustain" those allegations, he told House investigators.

By Melissa Quinn
 

Hearing begins

Chairman Bennie Thompson gaveled in the hearing at 10:46 a.m. 

"My colleagues and I don't want to spend time talking about ourselves during these hearings, but as someone who's run for office a few times, I can tell you at the end of a campaign, it all comes down to the numbers," Thompson said. "The numbers tell you the winner and the loser. For the most part, the numbers don't lie." 

And those numbers are the voice and the will of the people. Politicians are to accept the will of the people, he said. But Trump didn't. 

"This morning will tell the sort of how Donald Trump lost an election, and knew he lost an election, and as a result of his loss, decided to wage an attack on our democracy," Thompson said. 

Thompson said Trump "lit the fuse" for Jan. 6, 2021. 

By Kathryn Watson
 

Stepien's lawyer says his wife went into labor

Kevin Marino, lawyer for former Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, said Stepien can't testify in person because his wife went into labor. Instead, his understanding is that video testimony of Stepien's will be played. Marino called Stepien one of the "finest political consultants in the country." And Stepien's testimony will present the numbers and dad he followed as he advised Trump, Marino said. 

Committee vice chair Liz Cheney confirmed they would play video testimony of Stepien.

"We're going to have a very important and effective set of hearings as you know Mr Stepien has appeared previously and so we'll be able to provide the American people with a lot of interesting new and important information that Mr. Stepien has provided to us previously," Cheney told reporters. 

By Kathryn Watson
 

January 6 committee to hear from Republican witnesses on Trump's baseless claims

January 6 committee to hear from Republican witnesses on Trump's baseless claims 05:28

The House January 6 committee is holding its second televised public hearing for this month. The panel will focus on how former President Trump spread baseless claims of election fraud. CBS News congressional correspondent Scott MacFarlane joined "CBS News Mornings" with a preview. 

 

Trump campaign manager will no longer appear, citing "family emergency"

 Former Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien will no longer appear at Monday's hearing.

"Due to a family emergency, Mr. William Stepien is unable to testify before the Select Committee this morning.," the committee said in a statement. "His counsel will appear and make a statement on the record."

By Caroline Linton
 

Committee aides say hearing will focus on the "Big Lie"

Committee aides said Monday's hearing will focus on the "Big Lie," documenting how former President Donald Trump declared victory on election night despite being told he didn't have the numbers to win, and how he continued to embrace baseless claims of election fraud.   

"We're going to hear testimony from government officials who were the ones who looked for the fraud, and about how the effort to uncover these baseless allegations bore no fruit," a committee aide said. "Simply, the fraud that they were looking for didn't exist and the former president was told that, again and again, claims were baseless, but he continued to repeat them anyway."

Monday's hearing will first have the statement from Stepien's counsel and former Fox News political editor Chris Stirewalt, who was let go by Fox News shortly after the 2020 presidential election, during which his team correctly called Arizona for Joe Biden before other networks had. 

Then there will be a second panel that will consist of election attorney Benjamin Ginsberg, former U.S. attorney for the northern district of Georgia BJ Pak, who resigned effective Jan. 4, 2021, and former Philadelphia city commissioner Al Schmidt. 

Some of the witnesses are expected to provide testimony about the basic logistics of election litigation and how such action usually proceeds. A committee aide said the committee will also demonstrate that the Trump campaign aides used the election fraud claims to raise hundreds of millions of dollars between the election and Jan. 6th. And finally, the aide said, the committee will show that "some of those individuals responsible for the violence on the 6th echoed back those very same lies that the former president peddled in the run up to the insurrection."

By Rebecca Kaplan
 

On Day 1 of hearings, Capitol police officer described "carnage" and "chaos" of riot

One of two witnesses to testify live during the prime-time hearing on Thursday was Capitol Police officer Caroline Edwards, who suffered a traumatic brain injury on Jan. 6. Edwards described seeing a "war scene" on Capitol Hill that day.

"It was something like I had seen out of the movies," Edwards said. "I could not believe my eyes. There were officers on the ground. They were bleeding. They were throwing up. I saw friends with blood all over their faces. I was slipping in people's blood. I was catching people as they fell. It was carnage. It was chaos." 

Watch her testimony in the video below.

Capitol Police officer describes "carnage" and "chaos" during Jan 6. attack 13:07
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