January 6 hearings resume as FBI expands investigation into fake electors plot – live

The Guardian - Thu Jun 23 13:47

The FBI had a busy Wednesday. As the January 6 committee has publicly aired more and more evidence of Donald Trump’s plot to overturn the 2020 election result by creating slates of “alternate electors” and trying to get Vice-President Mike Pence to use them to block the certification of Joe Biden’s victory, agents have been executing search warrants and serving subpoenas to Republican officials allegedly involved in the plot.

These include the top Republican party official in Nevada, Michael McDonald. Agents seized his phone when they executed a search warrant on Wednesday that 8 News Now said was in connection with his involvement in creating a list of fake electors. The FBI was also looking for the state party’s secretary James DeGraffenreid, the Las Vegas outlet reported. Biden won Nevada, but the state Republican party nonetheless had its electoral college voters create fake, non-legally binding certificates saying Trump won the state, according to 8 News Now.

Agents also visited the home of Brad Carver, a lawyer in Georgia who signed a document saying he was a Trump elector, and Thomas Lane, who worked for the former president in Arizona and New Mexico, The Washington Post reported. The Georgia GOP chair, David Shafer, also received a subpoena, as did a group people who claimed to be Trump electors in Michigan, the newspaper reported.

Separately, a top justice department official during Trump’s final weeks in office has said that there was no fraud in the 2020 election. “Some argued to the former president and public that the election was corrupt and stolen,” Jeffrey Rosen, the acting attorney general during the attack on the Capitol, said in opening remarks to the January 6 committee obtained by the Associated Press.

“That view was wrong then and it is wrong today, and I hope our presence here today helps reaffirm that fact.”

Rosen will be a witness during today’s hearing.

Nina Lakhani

Outside of Congress, people who participated in the January 6 insurrection are facing the music. Nina Lakhani reports on the latest sentencing connected to the attack:

A West Virginia lawmaker who participated in the January 6 attack on the Capitol while live-streaming the deadly insurrection has been sentenced to three months in prison.

Derrick Evans, 37, was arrested and charged shortly after the attack, in part thanks to self-incriminating video footage he shot of himself leading and egging on rioters who overwhelmed police at the Capitol.

He resigned, then pleaded guilty to the felony of committing civil disorder in March, but was given bail and appeared virtually from his home for sentencing on Wednesday.

Evans, who had been sworn into the Republican-led legislature less than a month before the attack, is among 21 lawmakers known to have joined the rioters trying to overturn the 2020 election. He is the only one to be prosecuted so far.

Hugo Lowell

While the FBI works behind the scenes, the January 6 committee will today hold its fifth public hearing, this time focusing on what was going on at the justice department around the time of the 2020 election. Hugo Lowell takes a look at what to expect:

Donald Trump pressured top justice department officials to falsely declare that the 2020 election was corrupt and launch investigations into discredited claims of fraud as part of an effort to return him to office, the House January 6 select committee will say on Thursday.

The panel investigating the Capitol attack is expected at its fifth hearing to focus on how Trump abused the power of the presidency to twist the justice department into endorsing false election claims – and potentially how the Republican congressman Scott Perry sought a pardon for his involvement.

The finer details of the hearing were outlined to the Guardian by two sources close to the inquiry who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to reveal details ahead of the hearing. They cautioned that the details might still change.

The FBI had a busy Wednesday. As the January 6 committee has publicly aired more and more evidence of Donald Trump’s plot to overturn the 2020 election result by creating slates of “alternate electors” and trying to get Vice-President Mike Pence to use them to block the certification of Joe Biden’s victory, agents have been executing search warrants and serving subpoenas to Republican officials allegedly involved in the plot.

These include the top Republican party official in Nevada, Michael McDonald. Agents seized his phone when they executed a search warrant on Wednesday that 8 News Now said was in connection with his involvement in creating a list of fake electors. The FBI was also looking for the state party’s secretary James DeGraffenreid, the Las Vegas outlet reported. Biden won Nevada, but the state Republican party nonetheless had its electoral college voters create fake, non-legally binding certificates saying Trump won the state, according to 8 News Now.

Agents also visited the home of Brad Carver, a lawyer in Georgia who signed a document saying he was a Trump elector, and Thomas Lane, who worked for the former president in Arizona and New Mexico, The Washington Post reported. The Georgia GOP chair, David Shafer, also received a subpoena, as did a group people who claimed to be Trump electors in Michigan, the newspaper reported.

Separately, a top justice department official during Trump’s final weeks in office has said that there was no fraud in the 2020 election. “Some argued to the former president and public that the election was corrupt and stolen,” Jeffrey Rosen, the acting attorney general during the attack on the Capitol, said in opening remarks to the January 6 committee obtained by the Associated Press.

“That view was wrong then and it is wrong today, and I hope our presence here today helps reaffirm that fact.”

Rosen will be a witness during today’s hearing.

January 6 committee to meet as FBI expands investigation into fake electors plot

Good morning, US politics blog readers. Washington will once again start its day on tenterhooks ahead of the supreme court’s release of decisions at 10am eastern time, in which the justices could announce major changes to abortion rights as well as gun and environmental regulations. Then at 3pm eastern will come the January 6 committee’s fifth hearing, in which lawmakers are to explore former president Donald Trump’s efforts to get the justice department to comply with his scheme to overturn the 2020 election.

Here’s what else is happening today: