As former President Donald Trump has sought to discredit the House’s Jan. 6 investigative committee and its hearings, he has repeatedly claimed the panel has not delved into his many election fraud claims.
What You Need To Know
- As former President Donald Trump has sought to discredit the House’s Jan. 6 investigative committee and its hearings, he has repeatedly claimed the panel has not delved into his many election fraud claims
- But the committee, which will hold its sixth hearing at 1 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, has addressed several of Trump’s allegations head-on
- The panel has presented testimony from former senior Justice Department officials, state officials and even some of Trump’s own aides who said their investigations found no proof of widespread election fraud
“The only thing not discussed by the Unselects, in any way, shape, or form, is the irrefutable evidence of massive and totally pervasive ELECTION FRAUD & IRREGULARITIES which took place during the 2020 Presidential Election,” Trump wrote on Truth Social during Thursday’s fifth committee hearing.
“They refuse to go there, they want it all CANCELED, because it would be IMPOSSIBLE for the Unselect Committee to refute or challenge that which would be put before them, or the American Public," the former president added. "To the Unselects I ask, LET US PUT ON THE EVIDENCE, STATE BY STATE - AND NOW!”
But the committee, which will hold its sixth hearing at 1 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, has addressed several of Trump’s allegations head-on. The panel has presented testimony from former senior Justice Department officials, state officials and even some of Trump’s own aides who said their investigations found no proof of widespread election fraud.
Former acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue testified that he told Trump something to the effect of, “We've done dozens of investigations, hundreds of interviews. The major allegations are not supported by the evidence developed."
Former Attorney General Bill Barr told the president the claims were “b*******,” he testified.
Here is a look at some of Trump’s fraud claims and what witnesses have told the Jan. 6 committee about them.
Dominion voting machines and Antrim County
The claim: Dominion voting machines in battleground states were rigged to switch votes for Trump to Joe Biden
Barr told the committee he “saw absolutely zero basis for the allegations” about Dominion, adding, “They were made in such a sensational way that they obviously were influencing a lot of people, members of the public, that there was this systemic corruption in the system and that their votes didn't count and that these machines controlled by somebody else were actually determining it, which was complete nonsense.”
Eric Herschmann, a White House attorney under Trump, also testified he “never saw any evidence whatsoever to sustain those allegations.”
Trump campaign lawyer Alex Cannon testified he told then-White House trade adviser Peter Navarro he didn’t believe the Dominion claims because he thought a hand recount in Georgia would expose any machine manipulation and because the Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency called the election “the most secure in American history.”
Georgia’s hand recount was largely consistent with its initial machine-tabulated results.
The Dominion claims were perhaps the loudest in Antrim County, Michigan. A cybersecurity firm, Allied Security Operations Group, conducted a “forensic audit” that concluded in a December 2020 report that Dominion voting machines in the county had a 68% error rate.
Trump cited the report’s findings both publicly and privately, according to witnesses.
Barr testified that Trump told him the report was “absolute proof that the Dominion machines were rigged” and it “means that I am going to have a second term.”
Donoghue said the president made similar remarks to him.
Donoghue noted in his testimony Antrim County conducted a hand recount, and he said he calculated the error rate to be .0063%, “which is well within tolerance.”
Barr testified the ASOG report immediately appeared flawed to him.
“It looked very amateurish to me,” he said. “Didn't have the credentials of the people involved. … I didn't see any real qualifications.
“And the statements were made very conclusory like this — these machines were designed to engage in fraud, or something to that effect. But I didn't see any supporting information for it. And I was somewhat demoralized because I thought, boy, if he (Trump) really believes this stuff, he has lost contact with it — he's become detached from reality.”
The Fulton County video
The claim: Video shows election workers in Fulton County, Georgia, pulling out suitcases of illegal ballots for Joe Biden late in the night after poll watchers had left.
This was perhaps the election fraud conspiracy theory that gained the most traction in conservative circles. Trump campaign attorney Rudy Giuliani showed an excerpt of the surveillance video at a Georgia state Senate hearing and called it a “smoking gun.”
Multiple investigations, however, found nothing suspicious, officials testified.
Gabriel Sterling, chief operating officer in the Georgia secretary of state’s office, told the committee that investigators with his office reviewed about 48 hours of video from State Farm Arena.
“What it actually showed was Fulton County election workers engaging in normal ballot processing,” he said.
BJay Pak, then the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, said the Justice Department’s investigation found that the “suitcases” were official lockboxes holding legal, uncounted ballots.
Donoghue testified he told Trump, who was “fixating” on the suitcases: “You can watch the video over and over. There is no suitcase. There is a wheeled bin where they carry the ballots, and that's just how they move ballots around that facility. There's nothing suspicious about that at all.”
State and federal investigators acknowledged there was some confusion on election night because workers at the site believed they would be going home between 10 and 10:30 p.m. and resume counting ballots the following morning. After Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, wanting to tabulate the results as expeditiously as possible, ordered the county elections director to keep counting, the workers removed the bins of ballots from underneath tables where they had been stored out of the way, Sterling said.
“If you watch the entirety of the video, you saw that these were election workers, who were under the impression they were going to get to go home around 10, 10:30,” Sterling, a Republican, testified. “People are putting on their coats.”
Sterling testified the video shows the election workers earlier “putting ballots that are prepared to be scanned into ballot carriers that are then sealed with tamper-proof seals so that they're not messed with.”
Trump and his allies also claimed the video showed election workers running ballots through machines multiple times. Trump, who lost Georgia by fewer than 12,000 votes, argued he would have easily won the state otherwise.
In his testimony, Sterling explained that sometimes the scanners don’t read ballots properly, and they must be fed through again.
“What happens there is a standard operating procedure that if there is a missed scan, if there's a misalignment, if it doesn't read right — these are high-speed, high-capacity scanners, so three or four will go through after a mis-scan — you have to delete that batch and put it back through again,” he said.
Sterling noted that a hand recount confirmed the election results.
“The hand tally got us to a .1053% off of the total votes cast and .0099% on the margin, which is essentially dead on accurate,” the Georgia election official testified.
Pak said the FBI interviewed individuals accused of double and triple counting ballots and “determined that nothing irregular happened in the counting and the allegations made by Mr. Giuliani were false.”
Added Donoghue: “I told the president myself several times in several conversations that these allegations about ballots being smuggled in in a suitcase and run through the machine several times, it was not true, that we looked at it. We looked at the video, we interviewed the witnesses, that it was not true.”
Dead and other ineligible voters
The claim: Thousands of ballots were cast on behalf of dead voters, including in Georgia, Pennsylvania and Arizona, and other ineligible people also voted.
Trump has alleged 5,000 ballots were cast for dead people in Georgia, while other Trump allies have put the number above 10,000.
Raffensperger, also a Republican, said the Georgia’s secretary of state office investigated and found just four such ballots.
“Not 4,000, but just a total four,” he testified. “Not 10,000. Not 5,000.”
The Trump campaign also alleged 66,000 underage people, 2,423 unregistered voters and 2,056 felons voted in the election in Georgia.
Raffensperger said there were zero cases of underage people and unregistered voters casting ballots. He said his department identified fewer than 74 voters who were still serving a felony sentence.
“Every single allegation we checked, we ran down the rabbit trail to make sure that our numbers were accurate,” Raffensperger said.
In Pennsylvania, Giuliani told state legislators 8,000 ballots were cast on behalf of dead people in their state.
Al Schmidt, then the only Republican member of Philadelphia’s three-member city commission, told the Jan. 6 committee an investigation found that “not only was there not evidence of 8,000 dead voters voting in Pennsylvania, there wasn't evidence of eight. We took seriously every case that was referred to us no matter how fantastical, no matter how absurd, and took every one of those seriously including these.”
In Arizona, state House Speaker Rusty Bowers, a Republican, testified that Giuliani told him in a post-election phone call that 6,000 ballots were cast for deceased people and 200,000 immigrants illegally voted as well. Biden won the state by 10,457 votes.
Bowers said he asked Giuliani for evidence, which the attorney promised to deliver but never did, according to the Arizona lawmaker. At a subsequent meeting, Bowers said he and Republican state senators again pressed Giuliani for proof, but he and another Trump lawyer said they did not have it with them.
Bowers said Giuliani told them at one point: “We've got lots of theories. We just don't have the evidence.”
Former Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien also testified that Trump’s claim that thousands of people illegally voted in Arizona proved not to be true.
Stepien told the committee he thought it was a “wild claim” and “didn’t seem realistic or possible to me.” But he asked Cannon, the Trump campaign lawyer, to look into it. Cannon concluded that what Trump was referring to was Americans from overseas who were eligible to vote, Stepien testified.
The claims: More ballots were cast in Philadelphia than there are registered voters, 205,000 more votes were certified in Pennsylvania than were cast, and 700,000 more mail-in ballots were cast than ballots that were sent out.
Barr called the allegation that more votes were cast in Philadelphia than there are voters “absolute rubbish.”
Officially, more than 749,000 votes were cast among 1.1 million registered voters in the city.
“The turnout in Philadelphia was in line with the state's turnout, and in fact it was not as impressive as many suburban counties,” Barr testified. “And there was nothing strange about the Philadelphia turnout. It wasn't like there was all these unexpected votes that came out in Philadelphia.”
Also, a group of Republican state lawmakers claimed there were 205,000 more votes certified than were actually cast in Pennsylvania.
Donoghue said he asked Scott Brady, who was the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, to look into the matter.
A couple of days later, Brady told Donoghue the reason for the discrepancy was because data on a government website, on which the claim was based, was incomplete because four counties had not uploaded their results.
“The Secretary of State had not certified more votes than were actually cast,” Donoghue asserted.
Giuliani also claimed in a legislative hearing in Gettysburg in November 2020 that 1.8 million mail-in ballots were sent to voters in Pennsylvania but 2.5 million mail votes were counted.
Barr said he contacted Bill McSwain, then the U.S. attorney for Pennsylvania’s Eastern District. McSwain told the attorney general the misinformation was tweeted by state Sen. Doug Mastriano, now Pennsylvania’s Republican nominee for governor.
But Barr said the claim “mixed apples and oranges” by taking “the number of applications for the Republican primary” and comparing “it to the number of absentee votes cast in the general election.”
“Once you actually go and look and compare apples to apples, there's no discrepancy at all,” Barr testified.
The truck driver
The claim: A truck driver drove thousands of fraudulent mail-in ballots from Long Island, New York, to Lancaster, Pennsylvania
This claim was made by the truck driver, who said he was a subcontractor working for the U.S. Postal Service, during a December 2020 press conference.
Donoghue told the Jan. 6 committee the FBI fully investigated the allegation and determined it was unfounded. He said investigators examined loading manifestos, interviewed people who loaded and unloaded the truck, and spoke with the driver as well.
“We knew it wasn't true,” Donoghue testified. “Whether the driver believed it or not was never clear to me, but it was just not true.”
Donoghue said he told Trump, “That allegation was not supported by the evidence.”
The claim: A film co-directed by conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza proves ballot stuffing at drop boxes.
The documentary, “2000 Mules,” released in May, relies on cellphone geotracking data from five swing states. The conservative group True the Vote purchased the data for $2 million.
The group says it identified 2,000 cellphone users who were in the immediate vicinity of 10 or more ballot drop boxes and five or more liberal nonprofit groups, implying they were working as “mules” to deposit illegal ballots into drop boxes.
Trump has been touting the movie as proof to support his fraud claims.
“What about the massive ballot stuffing shown, on Government Tape, by the highly respected and credible Patriots of Truth to Vote (2000 Mules)?” he posted on Truth Social during the latest Jan. 6 hearing. “I suppose that’s OK also? Such lies by the Unselects!”
The film does not include video of any individual depositing ballots in multiple boxes, according to FactCheck.org.
While the movie was released after he was attorney general and he did not oversee any formal investigation into its claims, Barr told the committee he was not swayed by it.
Barr said the film lacked photographic evidence needed to be convincing.
“The cellphone data is singularly unimpressive,” he said. “Basically, if you take 2 million cellphones and figure out where they are physically in a big city like Atlanta or wherever, just by definition you're going to find many hundreds of them have passed by and spent time in the vicinity of these boxes,” he said.
“And the premise that if you go by five boxes or whatever it was, that that's a mule is just indefensible.”
Most of the surveillance video of drop boxes was from Georgia, where it is legal for a relative or caregiver to mail completed ballots on behalf of other voters.
The director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation told True the Vote and the state Republican Party in a September 2021 letter that the geotracking data “while curious, does not rise to the level of probable cause that a crime has been committed.”
The Georgia secretary of state’s office has investigated at least three cases caught on video of people dropping multiple ballots in boxes but found no wrongdoing.
FactCheck.org quoted geotracking experts who say the technology is not precise enough to place a cellphone user at a drop box and there might be valid reasons for why someone’s phone “pinged” in the area of multiple boxes. Delivery drivers, poll workers and election officials are among people who could pass many drop boxes, and sometimes a single person or work vehicle could account for multiple mobile devices.
“My opinion then and my opinion now is that the election was not stolen by fraud, and I haven't seen anything since the election that changes my mind on that, including the ‘2000 Mules’ movie,” Barr told the committee.