Washington — Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a Democrat from California who serves on the House select committee probing the Jan. 6, said Sunday that former President Donald Trump intended to "accelerate" violence against then-Vice President Mike Pence when he sent a tweet as the Capitol assault was underway criticizing Pence for refusing to unilaterally declare him the winner of the 2020 election.
"The only conclusion you can reach is that he intended to accelerate that violence against the former vice president," Lofgren said in an interview with "Face the Nation." "We're in a very rough time in America right now, and all of us, elected officials, but also just Americans and their neighbors need to stand up for the rule of law and against political violence. It's not what America is about."
Trump's efforts to strong-arm his vice president into rejecting state electoral votes and declaring him the winner of the 2020 presidential election was the focus of the select committee's third public hearing Thursday, during which panel members detailed just how close Pence came to the violent mob of Trump supporters who breached the Capitol building.
"Approximately 40 feet. That's all there was, 40 feet between the vice president and the mob," said Rep. Pete Aguilar, a Democrat from California, said last week. "Make no mistake about the fact that the vice president's life was in danger."
Lofgren said as he did with Pence on Jan. 6, Trump has "unleashed" a wave of violence against Republicans who defy him. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a Republican from Illinois who sits alongside Lofgren on the select committee, revealed Sunday in an interview with ABC's "This Week" that he received in the mail a death threat targeting himself, his wife and five-month-old son.
Lofgren said she didn't want to speak about the threats she has received, as it "just encourages more," but indicated it's not just the former president's vocal critics who have been targeted, as Rep. Dan Crenshaw, a Republican from Texas, was "roughed up" at a convention for the Republican Party of Texas on Saturday.
Mediaite reported that Crenshaw and his staff were confronted by far-right activist Alex Stein and others who shouted "Eyepatch McCain" at the GOP congressman, echoing a disparaging name used by Fox News host Tucker Carlson last month in a segment criticizing Crenshaw for supporting sending aid to Ukraine. Crenshaw lost his right eye when he was hit by an IED blast while deployed to Afghanistan as a Navy SEAL.
The select committee is entering its third week of public hearings and will hold two more this week — one Tuesday and one Thursday. Tuesday's proceedings are expected to focus on Trump's efforts to pressure state and local officials to reverse the results of the presidential elections in other states, in part by naming alternative states of presidential electors. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is slated to appear before the committee, as is Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers.
Bowers, who backed Trump in 2020, received a call from Trump and Rudy Giuliani, the former president's lawyer, in late November 2020 urging him to have the state legislature select the slate of presidential electors, overriding President Biden's win in the state, according to the Arizona Republic.
Bowers also received an email from Ginni Thomas, a conservative activist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, in early November 2020 urging him to select a "clean slate of electors," according to the Washington Post.
The select committee has invited Ginni Thomas to meet with the committee, and she told The Daily Caller that she "can't wait to clear up misconceptions" and looks forward to speaking with the panel.
As the committee prepares for more hearings, Lofgren said the panel is following the mandate it was given when first created nearly one year ago and will be making legislative recommendations at the end of its investigation, which likely will include altering the Electoral Count Act to make it less susceptible to abuse.
"The former president is continuing on his campaign to undercut confidence in the election system," she said. "They are installing loyalists who say that the election was stolen in states … They clearly tried to get the vice president to throw the actual votes out and replace electors with a losing candidate, and it looks like that's in the works for the next election as well, it's a grave concern."
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