Jan. 6 committee holds second hearing

By Elise Hammond, Aditi Sangal, Mike Hayes, Maureen Chowdhury, Melissa Macaya and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 6:59 p.m. ET, June 13, 2022
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11:28 a.m. ET, June 13, 2022

Barr says Trump claimed major fraud before there was "any potential of looking at evidence"

From CNN's Zachary Cohen

(Pool)
(Pool)

Former Attorney General Bill Barr told the House Jan. 6 committee that then-President Donald Trump claimed there was major fraud underway “right out of the box on election night … before there was actually any potential of looking at evidence,” according to a previously unseen video clip from his closed-door interview with the panel played during today’s hearing. 

Barr’s testimony adds to the committee’s argument that Trump was already laying the groundwork for his unfounded claim that the election was stolen before it was conceivable that anyone had a chance to examine whether any evidence of widespread voter fraud existed. 

“It seemed to be based on the dynamic that, at the end of the evening, a lot of Democratic votes came in which changed the vote counts in certain states, and that seemed to be the basis for this broad claim that there was major fraud,” Barr says in the video. 

“And I didn’t think much of that, because people had been talking for weeks and everyone understood for weeks that that was going to be what happened on election night,” Barr adds.

Earlier in the hearing, Rep. Zoe Lofgren linked Trump’s pushing of unfounded fraud claims to fundraising efforts, after Election Day 2020, saying, “The big lie was also a big rip-off.”

2:27 p.m. ET, June 13, 2022

The "red mirage" from election night 2020 was just mentioned in the hearing. Here's what it means. 

From CNN's Marshall Cohen

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat, asked one of the witnesses at Monday's hearing —  former Fox News political editor Chris Stirewalt — about the so-called “red mirage,” which gave a rosier picture for Trump on election night that slowly faded as Democratic-leaning mail ballots were tallied. 

That dynamic – also known as the “blue shift” – was particularly pronounced in 2020, because of the significant uptick in mail-in voting during the Covid-19 pandemic. But this increase didn’t happen evenly across the board – Democrats flocked to postal voting in 2020, while many Republicans preferred in-person voting on Election Day, thanks in large part to Trump’s claims that vote-by-mail was a sham.

This divide created an interesting phenomenon when it came time to count the votes.

Here’s what CNN said about this in September 2020: It takes longer to count mail-in ballots, and in many states, ballots are still admissible if they are postmarked by Election Day but arrive later. In simple terms, this means the partial results that get reported on Election Night will probably look worse for then-candidate Joe Biden than the final, complete count.

“In every election, Republicans win Election Day and Democrats win the early vote. Then you wait and stat counting,” Stirewalt, who was involved in Fox News' election projections, testified. “…Usually it’s election day votes that count first. You see the Republican shoot ahead… you expect to see the Republican with a lead, but it’s not really a lead.”

Check out our full explanation of the “red mirage” here.

11:40 a.m. ET, June 13, 2022

Former Fox editor says calling Arizona "was really controversial to our competitors who we beat so badly"

(Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)
(Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

Witness Chris Stirewalt, a former digital politics editor for Fox, discussed the "controversial" decision to call the state of Arizona for Joe Biden during the 2020 presidential election.

"Well, it was really controversial to our competitors who we beat so badly by making the correct call first," Stirewalt told the committee during his testimony.

Stirewalt claimed that his team had "a different set of data than our competitors," which included more research and a "better system" that allowed them to make the call.

Stirewalt said that his team "knew it would be a consequential call" because Arizona was one of the states "that mattered." He added that their team "knew Trump's chances were very small and getting smaller based on what we had seen."

"We were able to make the call early. We were able to beat the competition," Stirewalt said, adding that while other outlets were "freaking out and losing their mind" they made the call on Arizona, and then the Fox team moved on to looking at other states' results.

Asked if as of Nov. 7, 2020 — in his judgment — what were the chances of President Trump winning the election, Stirewalt said, "none."

11:16 a.m. ET, June 13, 2022

A former Fox politics editor is testifying before the committee. Here are key things to know about him.

From CNN's Andrew Millman

(Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)
(Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

Chris Stirewalt, a former Fox digital politics editor, is testifying now before the House Jan. 6 committee.

Fox fired Stirewalt in January 2021 after the right-wing backlash to the network after — correctly — calling Arizona for now-President Joe Biden during the 2020 presidential election.

Stirewalt wrote in a Los Angeles Times piece after his firing that the refusal to believe the election results among many of former President Donald Trump's supporters was a "tragic consequence of the informational malnourishment so badly afflicting the nation."

Stirewalt said during an appearance on NewsNation on Friday, where he is now employed as political editor, that he had "been called to testify before this committee and will do so on Monday."

During the NewsNation interview, Stirewalt said, "I am not in a position now to tell you what my testimony will be about." He continued: "I was asked to testify and I got to go."

He criticized both parties for politicizing the Jan. 6 investigation, adding, "These two parties have screwed it up from pen to post."

Before today's testimony, Stirewalt published an opinion piece explaining why he is testifying today.

11:10 a.m. ET, June 13, 2022

Rep. Lofgren: Trump's "big lie was also a big rip-off"

(Pool)
(Pool)

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a Democrat from California and Jan. 6 committee member, said in her opening statement that the committee would demonstrate the 2020 election was not stolen, adding, that the Trump campaign's "big lie was also a big rip-off." 

"The American people elected President Joe Biden. We'll present evidence that Mr. Trump's claims of election fraud were false, that he and his closest advisers knew the claims were false but they continued to pedal them anyway right up until the moments before a mob of Trump supporters attacked the Capitol." 

Lofgren continued: "We'll also show that the Trump campaign used these false claims of election fraud to raise hundreds of millions of dollars from supporters who were told their donations were for the legal fight in the courts but the Trump campaign didn't use the money for that. The big lie was also a big rip-off."

 

11:05 a.m. ET, June 13, 2022

Former Trump White House lawyer says he never believed Dominion Voting Systems had switched votes

From CNN's Katelyn Polantz

Eric Herschmann
Eric Herschmann (Pool)

Eric Herschmann, a lawyer who worked in the Trump White House, told the committee he never believed conspiracy theories that election contractor Dominion Voting Systems had switched votes. 

"I thought the Dominion stuff was ... I never saw any evidence whatsoever to sustain those allegations," Herschmann said in his taped deposition, of which the committee played a short clip. 

"His view was shared by many of the Trump team whom we interviewed," Vice Chairwoman Liz Cheney said. Cheney also quoted former Attorney General Bill Barr, who called the Dominion accusations "complete nonsense." 

Accusations about Dominion became a key part of the Trump campaign's efforts in court to sow doubt in Joe Biden's win in late 2020.  

The committee is highlighting on Monday how Donald Trump and his close advisers knew their accusations of widespread fraud were false, yet continued to spread disinformation. Trump and his team also used the false claims of voter fraud to raise campaign funds after the election.  

Several Trump allies — including lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell — falsely claimed that Dominion took part in a plot to rig the 2020 election, and spread the idea that voting software was used to swing an election in Venezuela. That was not true, and Dominion has sued Giuliani, Powell and several others for defamation, seeking billions of dollars in damages.

The lawsuits are ongoing

11:17 a.m. ET, June 13, 2022

Jan. 6 committee member Rep. Zoe Lofgren is speaking. Here are key things to know about her.

From CNN's Annie Grayer and Ryan Nobles

Zoe Lofgren, a Democrat from California and member of the Jan. 6 committee, is speaking now in the hearing.

According to panel aides, Lofgren will play a "key role" in the committee's presentation today, but the hearing will technically still be led by Chairman Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat.

Lofgren served as an impeachment manager in the first impeachment trial against Trump. Lofgren is also chair of the Committee on House Administration. Lofgren was first elected to Congress in 1994. She also served as a staffer on Capitol Hill for eight years.

Lofgren has a background as an immigration lawyer and has made reforming immigration law a key part of her portfolio as a member of Congress. She also represents a big part of the Silicon Valley and as a result has had a heavy focus on tech related issues.

She is a long-time ally and friend to Pelosi. The duo has served in the California Congressional delegation together for close to three decades and both represent different parts of the bay area in Northern California.

10:59 a.m. ET, June 13, 2022

Committee chairman: Donald Trump "decided to wage an attack on our democracy" after he lost the election 

(Pool)
(Pool)

Rep. Bennie Thompson, chairman of the Jan. 6 select committee, opened today's hearing by stating that when former President Donald Trump "didn't have the numbers" to win the 2020 presidential election he "decided to wage an attack on our democracy."

"[Trump] didn't have the numbers. He went to court. He still didn't have the numbers. He lost. But he betrayed the trust of the American people. He ignored the will of the voters. He lied to his supporters and the country," Thompson said.

Thompson said that Trump "tried to remain in office after the people had voted him out, and the courts upheld the will of the people." 

"This morning, we'll tell the story of how Donald Trump lost an election and knew he lost an election, and as a result of his loss, decided to wage an attack on our democracy," he said.

11:41 a.m. ET, June 13, 2022

"Apparently inebriated" Giuliani told Trump to falsely claim victory on election night, Cheney says

From CNN's Marshall Cohen

(Pool)
(Pool)

The Jan. 6 select committee said Monday that it has evidence showing how then-President Donald Trump cast aside his legal team when they told him that he lost the 2020 election, and replaced them with conspiracy-pushing advisers like Rudy Giuliani. 

“Trump rejected the advice of his campaign experts on election night, and instead followed the course recommended by an apparently inebriated Rudy Giuliani, to just claim that he won,” Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, the Republican vice chairwoman of the committee, said in her opening statements. 

Cheney didn’t initially disclose why the committee believes that Giuliani was drunk, though the panel later played a clip from Trump spokesman Jason Miller, whose said in his deposition that “the mayor was definitely intoxicated” at the White House on election night.

Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien said in a deposition clip, which was played Monday, that Trump “was growing increasingly unhappy with his team” after the election, which “paved the way” for Giuliani to take the reins of the campaign’s legal strategy.

After key states were called for then-candidate Joe Biden, Giuliani and his allies pushed a wide array of debunked theories about massive voter fraud in 2020, and occasionally clashed with the more professional members of Trump’s legal apparatus who knew that the results were legitimate. 

Giuliani has denied any wrongdoing related to the efforts to overturn the election.

This post has been updated.