At a public hearing Thursday of the House committee investigating the Capitol riot and its causes, vice chair Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) laid out some of the sweeping evidence against former President Donald Trump. She stated, for instance, that Trump “launched a fraudulent fundraising campaign” that brought in hundreds of millions in donor money.
That fundraising effort was founded on false claims of widespread election fraud and was also founded on false pretenses about where the money would go. The Trump campaign said donor money would support an “Official Election Defense Fund,” but there was no such fund. On Thursday afternoon, Cheney broadly explained as follows:
‘We have already seen how President Trump falsely declared victory on November 3, 2020. How he and his team launched a fraudulent media campaign that persuaded tens of millions of Americans that the election was stolen from him. Donald Trump intentionally ran false ads on television and social media, featuring allegations that his advisers and his Justice Department repeatedly told him were untrue. We have also seen how Donald Trump launched a fraudulent fundraising campaign that raised hundreds of millions of dollars, again based on those same false election fraud allegations.’
The committee has publicly covered more of Trump’s misconduct as well. “We have seen how the president oversaw and personally participated in an effort in multiple states to vilify, threaten, and pressure election officials and to use false allegations to pressure state legislators to change the outcome of the election,” Cheney added, continuing: “We’ve seen how President Trump worked with and directed the Republican National Committee and others to organize an effort to create fake electoral slates and later to transmit those materially false documents to federal officials.” There could be crimes inherent in that scheme as well. A main focus of Thursday’s hearing was pressure on officials at the Justice Department to act in accordance with Trump’s attempts to stay in power. An example Cheney cited came not from Trump himself but a close ally of his: then-Justice Department lawyer Jeffrey Clark. Check out Cheney’s explanation below:
A letter Clark pushed for then-top Justice Department officials Jeffrey Rosen and Richard Donoghue to sign and which was meant for officials in Georgia claimed the U.S. Department of Justice had “identified significant concerns that may have impacted the outcome of the election in multiple States, including the State of Georgia” — which was not true. There had, in fact, been federal investigations into allegations of election fraud, and not a single legitimate probe anywhere in the country — at the state or federal level — at any point uncovered real-world evidence of fraud of the sort Trump claimed cost him the election. “In fact, Donald Trump knew this was a lie,” Cheney said of that quote from the Clark letter. “The Department of Justice had already informed [Trump] repeatedly that its investigations had found no fraud sufficient to overturn the results of the 2020 election.”
The letter Clark helped prepare and hoped for Rosen and Donoghue to sign pushed the idea of Georgia state legislators gathering for a special session for purposes including potentially getting behind a fraudulent slate of Georgia electoral votes prepared in Trump’s support. Clark’s Virginia home was searched by federal agents on Wednesday in connection to the Justice Department’s wide-ranging investigations into attempts to subvert the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. What precisely that agents may have been after wasn’t immediately clear, although on Wednesday, the department dropped the metaphorical hammer on people involved across the country in attempts to assemble faked electoral votes for Trump. Michael McDonald, the chair of the Nevada GOP, even had his phone seized by the FBI — a pretty significant move.