Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
In our opening hearing we gave an overview of our investigation into the January 6th attack. The plot to overthrow the election was complex and had many parts, which we’ll explore in remaining hearings. But today we examine the false narrative that the 2020 election was ’stolen’.
Former President Trump’s plan to overturn the election relied on a sustained effort to deceive millions of Americans with knowingly false claims of election fraud. All elements of the plot relied on convincing his supporters about these false claims.
Today, we’ll demonstrate the 2020 election was not stolen. The American people elected President Joe Biden. We’ll present evidence that Mr. Trump’s claims of election fraud were false, that he and his closest advisors knew those claims were false but they continued to peddle them anyway, right up until moments before a mob of Trump supporters attacked the Capitol.
We’ll also show that the Trump campaign used these false claims of election fraud to raise hundreds of millions of dollars from supporters who were told their donations were for the legal fight in the courts.
But the Trump Campaign didn’t use the money for that. The Big Lie was also a big rip off.
The former President laid the groundwork for these false claims well in advance of the election. As early as April 2020, Mr. Trump claimed that the only way he could lose an election would be as a result of fraud:
[Compilation of video clips of Trump] "You know all the things happening with vote by mail, where thousands of votes are gathered and I'm not going to say which party does it, but thousands of votes are gathered and they come in and they're dumped in a location and then all of a sudden you lose elections that you think you're gonna win." "The only way we're gonna lose this election is if the election is rigged. Remember that. The only way we're gonna lose this election." "This is going to be a fraud like you've never seen." "Did you see what's going on? Take a look at West Virginia, mailmen selling the ballots. They're being sold, they're being dumped in rivers. This is a horrible thing for our country. This is not going to end well."
Mr. Trump decided even before the election that, regardless of the facts and the truth, if he lost the election he would claim it was rigged. Mr. Trump was right about one thing: it did not end well.
On election night, Mr. Trump claimed even before the votes were counted, that his loss was a result of fraud.
Thursday, we had testimony from Attorney General Barr about the Department of Justice’s investigation of Mr. Trump’s fraud claims. Barr told Trump directly that his claims were ‘BS.’
Yet after hearing the truth and that warning from his Attorney General, Mr. Trump continued to peddle the false claims of fraud.
You’ll hear detailed testimony from Attorney General Barr describing the various election fraud claims the Department of Justice investigated. He’ll tell you how he told Mr. Trump, repeatedly, that there was no merit to those claims.
Mr. Barr will tell us that Mr. Trump’s election-night claims of fraud were made without regard to the truth, and before it was even possible to look for evidence of fraud.
Attorney General Barr wasn’t alone. You’ll see and hear today, other Department of Justice officials and senior advisors to Mr. Trump that they told him that claims he was making were not supported by evidence.
The election fraud claims were false. Mr. Trump’s closest advisors knew it. Mr. Trump knew it.
That didn’t stop him from pushing the false claims and urging his supporters to, ‘fight like hell’ to ‘take back their country.’
After he lost the election, various legal challenges were made. You’ll hear testimony today from a renowned Republican election litigation lawyer who will explain the normal process by which candidates challenge an election.
Rather than accept the results of the election and the decisions of the courts, Mr. Trump pursued a different strategy. He tried to convince the American people the election had been stolen. Many of his supporters believed him. Many still believe him today.
The attack on January 6th was a direct and predictable result of Mr. Trump’s decision to use false claims of election fraud to overturn the election and cling to power.”
PBS NewsHour. "WATCH: Rep. Zoe Lofgren offers opening statement for Day 2 | Jan. 6 hearings." YouTube video, 4:57. June 13, 2022. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0mm4zlSdTk.
"THOMPSON, CHENEY, & LOFGREN OPENING STATEMENTS AT SELECT COMMITTEE HEARING." Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol press release, June 13, 2022. https://january6th.house.gov/news/press-releases/thompson-cheney-lofgren-opening-statements-june-13th-select-committee-hearing.