Jan. 6 committee holds fourth hearing

By Adrienne Vogt, Aditi Sangal, Elise Hammond, Maureen Chowdhury, Melissa Macaya and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 11:34 p.m. ET, June 21, 2022
48 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
3:01 p.m. ET, June 21, 2022

Read the full transcript and listen to Trump's audio call with Georgia secretary of state

From CNN's Jason Morris, Chandelis Duster and Devan Cole

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, left, and former President Donald Trump
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, left, and former President Donald Trump (Getty Images)

Former President Donald Trump pushed Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” votes to overturn the election results after his loss to President Joe Biden, according to an audio recording of a phone call obtained by CNN.

Raffensperger is testifying now before the Jan. 6 committee and the panel is playing excerpts of the stunning one-hour phone call from Jan. 2, 2021. Trump lambasted his fellow Republican for refusing to falsely say that he won the election in Georgia and repeatedly touted baseless claims of election fraud.

“The people of Georgia are angry, the people of the country are angry. And there’s nothing wrong with saying that, you know, um, that you’ve recalculated,” Trump said in one part of the call.

Raffensperger responded, “Well, Mr. President, the challenge that you have is, the data you have is wrong.”

In another part, Trump said, “So look. All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state.”

“You should want to have an accurate election. And you’re a Republican,” Trump said at one point.

“We believe that we do have an accurate election,” Raffensperger said in response.

Read the full transcript of the call and listen to the audio here and watch more of the exchange between Trump and Raffensperger in the video below:

2:56 p.m. ET, June 21, 2022

Georgia election official says he "lost it" when election contractor received death threats

Georgia election official Gabriel Sterling testifies on Tuesday.
Georgia election official Gabriel Sterling testifies on Tuesday. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Georgia election official Gabe Sterling addressed the moment he directly called out former President Trump for inflammatory rhetoric which was impacting election workers in 2020.

On Dec. 1, 2020 Sterling said in remarks directed at Trump, "Mister President, it looks like you likely lost the state of Georgia. We are investigating. There is always the possibility. I get it. You have the rights to go to the courts. What you don't have the ability to do, and you need to step up and say this, is stop inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence. Someone's going to get hurt, someone's going to get shot, someone's going to get killed. And it's not right."

Sterling recalled the moment he "lost it" when he found out an election contractor working for Dominion Systems was receiving death threats "that had been posted by some QAnon supporters."

"I did pull up Twitter. And I scrolled through. I saw the young man's name. There was a particular tweet that, for lack of a better word, it was the 'straw that broke the camel's back.' The young man's name, a very unique name, first generation American I believe. It said his name, 'You committed treason, may god have mercy on your soul,' with a slowly twisting gif of a noose. And for lack of a better word I lost it. I just got irate, my boss was with me at the time... she could tell that I was angry. I tend to turn red from here up when that happens. And that happened at that time," Sterling explained.

He continued, "And she called Secretary Raffensperger to say, 'We were receiving these kinds of threats and Gabe thinks we need to say something about it. The secretary said 'yes,' and that is what prompted me to do what I did. I lost my temper. But it seemed necessary at the time. Because it was just getting worse. I could not tell you why that particular one was the one that put me over the edge, but it did."


3:04 p.m. ET, June 21, 2022

Jan. 6 panel dissects a Trump-backed lie about "suitcases" of ballots in Atlanta

From CNN's Marshall Cohen

Video of then-President Donald Trump is played above the committee on Tuesday.
Video of then-President Donald Trump is played above the committee on Tuesday. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

The Jan. 6 select committee dissected a Trump-backed conspiracy theory about the 2020 election in Atlanta, breaking down how it originated from the campaign, was amplified on social media, and ultimately “threatened the lives of several innocent election workers,” Rep. Adam Schiff said.

Schiff, a committee members and a California Democrat, explained Trump’s conspiracy theory: Trump claimed that election officials in Atlanta kicked out GOP poll watchers, brought in suitcases of ballots with votes for Biden, and repeatedly ran the ballots through the vote-counting machines. (The claim was completely false.)

Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani first peddled the claims at a Georgia State Senate hearing, where he played footage of vote-counting at the State Farm Arena and called it “a smoking gun” of alleged fraud, asserting that suitcases of illegitimate ballots were snuck into the room. 

The Trump campaign “amplified Giuliani’s false testimony,” Schiff said, by tweeting out the same footage from the arena. The footage came from OAN, a far-right TV network that often promotes pro-Trump conspiracy theories. Giuliani also tweeted about the video after his appearance in front of the Georgia lawmakers.

The only problem? Georgia election officials looked into the suitcases issue and quickly determined that it wasn’t proof of fraud. Gabe Sterling, a top Georgia election official, publicly debunked the theory in an early December 2020 news conference, a clip of which was played during Tuesday’s committee hearing. 

Testifying to the committee, Sterling said “this conspiracy theory took on a life of its own” and that the footage showed “normal ballot processing,” despite all of the frenzies claims from Team Trump.

Trump was also briefed by the Justice Department that the allegations of fake ballots in suitcases was unfounded. Yet it has remained to be one of the centerpieces of Trump’s allegations of fraud in 2020.


2:32 p.m. ET, June 21, 2022

Georgia election official Gabe Sterling is testifying now

From CNN's Sara Murray

Georgia election official Gabe Sterling is testifying now at the House select committee's fourth hearing this month.

He worked closely with Georiga Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger when he resisted former President Donald Trump's efforts to pressure him to "find" the votes necessary for Trump to win Georgia in the 2020 election in an infamous January 2021 phone call.

Tuesday's hearing will focus on how Trump and his allies pressured officials in key battleground states as they sought to overturn the elecion, multiple sources had told CNN.

In December 2020, Sterling publicly pleaded for Trump to condemn the harassment that officials and election workers had been facing.

"Stop inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence," Sterling said at the time, addressing Trump. "Someone's going to get hurt, someone's going to get shot, someone's going to get killed, and it's not right."

A month later, rioters stormed the US Capitol.

2:28 p.m. ET, June 21, 2022

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is testifying now. Here are key things to know about him.

From CNN's Sara Murray and Eric Bradner

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, left, and his chief operating officer, Gabriel Sterling, arrive Tuesday, June 21, to testify before the the House select committee.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, left, and his chief operating officer, Gabriel Sterling, arrive Tuesday, June 21, to testify before the the House select committee. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is testifying now in front of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Raffensperger emerged as a national figure in the aftermath of the 2020 election, following the revelation of a Jan. 2, 2021 call with Donald Trump in which the then-President urged Georgia's chief elections officer to "find" enough votes to overturn the state's election results after Joe Biden had defeated Trump by nearly 12,000 votes. That call now is part of a special grand jury investigation into whether Trump or his allies committed any crimes in their quest to overturn the election results.

As Trump refused to accept the outcome of the 2020 election and his allies pursued various schemes to try to upend the results, Raffensperger, Raffensperger's wife, Tricia, and other Georgia officials faced a barrage of threats.

The Georgia Republican had already spoken privately with the Jan. 6 committee about his experience in addition to testifying before the special grand jury in the criminal probe into Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in the Peach State.

Raffensperger, who is seeking reelection, defeated Republican Jody Hice in Georgia's primary election last month. Hice was endorsed by Trump and his campaign centered on false claims about the 2020 election.

Raffensperger has long defended Georgia's election process. He was also a staunch advocate of the voting law that the Republican-controlled legislature approved in 2021, which imposes a raft of new restrictions on mail-in voting, prohibits providing food and water to people waiting in line to vote and more. Raffensperger has also pushed for a constitutional amendment to ban noncitizen voting, although it's already illegal under Georgia law.

The secretary of state, who touts himself as a conservative Republican, took office in 2019. He had served two terms in the Georgia General Assembly in 2015-2019.

Read more about the official here.

CNN's Shawna Mizelle contributed reporting to this post.

3:30 p.m. ET, June 21, 2022

The hearing has resumed

From CNN staff

The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection at the US Capitol is back after taking a short break. 

Here's who is testifying next:

  • Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger
  • Raffensperger's chief operating officer Gabe Sterling 
  • Fulton County election worker Wandrea "Shaye" Moss

2:29 p.m. ET, June 21, 2022

Michigan Trump electors wanted to "hide overnight" in Michigan State Capitol

From CNN's Katelyn Polantz

Fake electors for Donald Trump were trying to convene so covertly, that some in Michigan wanted to "hide overnight" so they could be in the statehouse to sign certificates for Donald Trump, the House Select Committee revealed on Tuesday.

One Trump supporter "told me that the Michigan Republican electors were planning to meet in the Capitol and hide overnight so they could fulfill their role," Laura Cox, a Michigan Republican Party official, told the House in her taped deposition. "I told him in no uncertain terms that that was insane and inappropriate."

Trump electors were not needed in states he lost, because Biden electors were submitted to the federal government for the Electoral College. But Trump's electors still convened in December 2021, signing documents in some battleground states saying that they were the rightful electors. Some believed the documents needed to be signed in state Capitol buildings so they could withstand court challenges, if elected officials were to try to throw the election to Trump.

But the need for secrecy has raised new questions about the plot, which is under investigation by criminal prosecutors as well as by the House Select Committee.

CNN previously reported how in Georgia, the Trump campaign encouraged Republican electors to convene with "complete secrecy."

The approach was used in other states, too. Wisconsin — another state where Trump put forward fake electors after his loss — the electors also met in secret, CNN previously reported. One Trump elector in Wisconsin said the secrecy was for security reasons, though the Wisconsin Republican Party disputed that those electors met secretly.

6:29 p.m. ET, June 21, 2022

Texts between aides reveal role Sen. Ron Johnson played in pushing "fake" Trump electors

From CNN's Jeremy Herb

US Sen. Ron Johnson leaves after a vote at the US Capitol in August 2021.
US Sen. Ron Johnson leaves after a vote at the US Capitol in August 2021. (Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

The House select committee on Tuesday unveiled new information showing the role that Wisconsin GOP Sen. Ron Johnson played in pushing “fake” electors for Donald Trump on Jan. 6, 2021.

A Johnson aide texted a staffer to former Vice President Mike Pence that the Wisconsin Republican wanted to hand-deliver “fake” electors to Pence just before the start of the Jan. 6 congressional session to certify Joe Biden’s 2020 election win.

The committee showed text messages Johnson aide Sean Riley sent to Pence aide Chris Hodgson, saying that Johnson “needs to hand something to VPOTUS please advise.” 

“What is it?” Hodgson asked. 
“Alternate slates of electors for MI and WI because archivist didn’t receive them,” Riley responded.
“Do not give that to him,” Hodgson said.

After the hearing, Johnson told CNN he has “no idea” who tried to get him to share the fake electors from Michigan and Wisconsin to Pence and he acknowledged he was aware of the ask on the morning of Jan. 6, 2021.

“I was aware that we got this package and that somebody wanted us to deliver it, so we reached out to Pence’s office," he said.

Asked who tried to give him the alternate slate of electors, Johnson said: “I have no idea.”

The messages between the aides, which have not been previously disclosed, show that Johnson was playing a role in the effort to put forward “fake” Trump electors that had not been certified by any state legislatures.  

The messages were exchanged just after 12:30 p.m. ET on Jan. 6, according to the committee, minutes before Pence gaveled the joint session of Congress at 1 p.m. ET —and rioters began breaching the Capitol to disrupt the certification.

Chair Bennie Thompson says the committee has “not yet” reached out to Johnson amid the revelations of his involvement in the fake elector scheme. 

“The committee hasn’t made a decision” on whether to call him to testify, Thompson said.

Asked if the fake elector scheme was criminal, Thompson said: “We are just presenting the facts.”

CNN's Manu Raju contributed reporting to this post.

6:18 p.m. ET, June 21, 2022

Here are the key lines from today's hearing so far

From CNN staff

The Jan. 6 committee investigating the insurrection at the US Capitol is taking a short break in today's hearing.

The panel is focusing on how former President Donald Trump and his allies pressured officials in key battleground states as they sought to overturn the 2020 presidential election. This is the committee’s fourth hearing this month as they present findings from their investigation.

So far, the panel has heard live testimony from Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers about how he was pressured by Trump and his allies to help him win.

Next, the committee is expected to hear from Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his chief operating officer Gabe Sterling as well as Fulton County, Georgia, election worker Wandrea "Shaye" Moss.

Here are the key moments you might have missed so far:

  • Danger to election officials: The committee played a video that described what election officials had to deal with in the days after the election. This included text messages, phone calls, voicemails and protests outside their homes.
  • Some of the same players: Liz Cheney, the vice chair of the committee said that the same people — namely former President Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani and former Trump lawyer John Eastman — were pressuring state election officials at the same time they were pressuring former Vice President Mike Pence. She said both pressure campaigns were happening “simultaneously” and are both “independently serious.” She then played a clip from a deposition by former Attorney General William Barr who said allegations of election fraud in Georgia had “no merit.”
  • Impact on democracy: Committee Chair Bennie Thompson warned that former President Donald Trump's lies about the 2020 presidential election continue to corrupt America's democratic institutions. “The lie hasn’t gone away,” Thompson said. “It’s corrupting our democratic institutions” and could end in “catastrophe” if the democratic institutions don’t hold.
  • Pressure in Arizona: Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers testified Tuesday that Trump pressured him to interfere with the election during a late December 2020 phone call and that he bluntly told the sitting president that he wouldn’t do anything illegal for him. “I took an oath,” Bowers said, recalling what he told Trump. “For me to do what you do would be counter to my oath.” About two weeks later, Trump lawyer John Eastman called Bowers to discuss the election, according to Bowers’ testimony. Eastman continued pressing Bowers to intervene in the Electoral College process, even if it was legally questionable, saying, “just do it and let the courts sort it out,” according to Bowers.