U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney on Monday laid out evidence she said showed initial efforts taken by former President Donald Trump to convince Americans the presidential election of 2020 was stolen from him by overwhelming fraud.
Cheney, continuing her prominent role on the U.S. House committee hearing into the facts surrounding the U.S. Capitol riot of Jan. 6, 2021, said Trump refused to acknowledge the fact that many of the votes cast for the winner of the race, President Joe Biden, were sent by mail.
“The President understood even before the election that many more Biden voters had voted by mail – because President Trump ignored the advice of his campaign experts and told his supporters only to vote in person,” Cheney said. “Donald Trump knew before the election that the counting of those mail-in ballots in several states would not begin until late in the day and would not be complete for multiple days.
“This was expected, reported, and widely known,” she added.
Cheney’s comments came during the second public hearing held by the committee, which featured testimony from several federal officials and people close to the Trump re-election campaign.
Bill Stepien, final chairman of Trump’s reelection campaign, explained over video testimony that he informed Trump that absentee and mail-ballots still had to be counted after the polls had closed on election night. He said these explanations were not accepted by Trump, who later considered these ballots fraudulent.
Stepien, now an advisor to the U.S. House campaign of Harriet Hageman, said he discouraged Trump from telling voters to only vote on election day but Trump did not accept this advice.
Several former Trump team members, including those who echoed his claims that the election was stolen, testified against him on Monday.
Sidney Powell, a former Trump attorney who worked on his behalf to overturn the election, said “no reasonable person” would conclude that her statements made to support these efforts were “statements of facts.”
Former U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr said he never believed that the election had been affected by fraud.
“My opinion then and my opinion now is that the election was not stolen by fraud,” he told the committee.
Jeff Rosen, former acting attorney general under Trump, gave the committee a long list of unsupported claims communicated to him by Trump on how the election was rigged, including claims of suitcases and trucks filled with loads of ballots, double voting and voting by dead people.
Cheney said the testimony proved that even before the attack on the Capitol, there was no basis in fact for the claims the election was stolen.
“The Trump campaign legal team knew there was no legitimate argument – fraud, irregularities, or anything – to overturn the election,” she said. “And yet, President Trump went ahead with his plans for Jan. 6 anyway.”
Cheney said a federal court has found numerous credible sources to confirm the committee’s conclusion that there was no evidence of election fraud sufficient to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
“The Court’s opinion methodically documents each of the principal reasons for that conclusion, and I would urge all those watching to read it,” Cheney said.
Twenty-two federal judges appointed by Trump and 24 state judges appointed by Republicans rejected claims Trump’s team made in court about voter fraud.
Cheney said that Trump’s supporters are the only people currently paying the price for supporting the former president’s claims the election was stolen. She mentioned that people who attended the Jan. 6 invasion of the Capitol are on trial and in jail because they believed what Trump told them, even though Trump was told by his campaign and cabinet officials that he lost.
The committee also reported on Trump’s efforts to raise money with his claims of voter fraud, saying he had received $250 million in donations.
Cheney took a smaller role in the hearing than she did during the first day of hearings on Thursday, as U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-California, spoke for most of the hearing.
After her initial introductory comments, Cheney did not speak again until near the haring’s end. Then, she offered a preview of the next hearing, scheduled for Wednesday, by introducing a video clip of White House lawyer Eric Herschmann.
In that clip, Herschmann said he reprimanded John Eastman, a lawyer advocating for the former president to keep fighting the election results.
“We have much more evidence to show the American people on this point than we can reasonably show in one hearing,” Cheney said.