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Miss Day 4 of the Jan. 6 hearing? Fake electors, Trump pressuring state leaders and more.

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The congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riots used its fourth public hearing on Tuesday to examine how former President Donald Trump leaned on state officials to try to illegally overturn the 2020 election.

At the center of the plot were efforts by Trump allies to press for alternative slates of electors, who would eventually flip the Electoral College results against then-candidate Joe Biden.

In order for that strategy to work, the panel's leaders said, the former president needed state officials across the country in key battlegrounds to comply.

Trump tried to do this through a massive pressure campaign that he administered either directly or through surrogates or supporters, who lawmakers said often used threats of violence against civic leaders.

"In fact, pressuring public servants into betraying their oaths was a fundamental part of the playbook," said Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss, chair of the committee. “A handful of election officials in key states stood between Donald Trump and the upending of American democracy."

Many Americans have already heard Trump’s infamous call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in which he demanded the election official "find" more votes after losing the Peach State.

But the committee heard from other state and local election leaders, who expressed similar situations where they were asked by Trump or campaign surrogates to change the results.

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., the committee's vice-chair, said Trump didn't care that his false claims about the 2020 election were an engine of the violence.

"Don't be distracted by politics. This is serious,” she said. "We cannot let America become a nation of conspiracy theories and thug violence."

Here are the highlights from Day 4 of the hearing:

GOP Arizona speaker testifies

One of Tuesday's blockbuster witnesses was Republican Rusty Bowers, the speaker of the House in Arizona.

Bowers, who campaigned for Trump in 2020, explained to the committee how in multiple ways the former president and his re-election campaign tried to get him to support false claims about the election. He denied, for instance, ever saying the election was "rigged" as Trump claimed he did in a statement.

Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers testifies to the Jan. 6 committee hearings on June 21, 2022.
Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers testifies to the Jan. 6 committee hearings on June 21, 2022.

Bowers described a call with one of Trump’s lawyers who urged him to reject the state’s electors for Biden. He refused, saying that doing so would violate his oath of office.

“You’re asking me to do something that’s never been done in history – the history of the United States – and I’m going to put my state through that without sufficient proof?" Bowers said. “No sir.”

'I didn't want to be used as a pawn'

During a phone conversation, Trump campaign lawyer Rudy Giuliani alleged large numbers of undocumented immigrants and dead people had voted, Bowers said.

When asked for proof, however, Bowers said he never received it.

But even without showing any evidence Giuliani wanted the speaker to hold a state legislative hearing on election fraud. Bowers said he didn't feel comfortable doing so.

“I refused,” he said. "I didn’t want to be used as a pawn."

Bowers: 'I took an oath'

Bowers said he received personal phone calls from the Trump campaign, including the former president, demanding he call in the state legislature to change who got the state's 11 electoral votes.

When asked about the lack of evidence, Bowers said the campaign told him the courts would sort out the dispute. But he emphasized repeatedly that he had taken an oath to uphold state law and the U.S. Constitution.

"For me to do that, because somebody just asked me to do it, is foreign to my being," Bowers said. "I will not do it."

Fake electors

Multiple witnesses in taped testimony talked about a scheme across the country to decertify Biden's electors and then install alternate electors who would back Trump.

Text messages obtained by the committee, for instance, showed a staffer for U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., wanted to hand-deliver fake elector votes from Michigan and Wisconsin to former Vice President Mike Pence.

"Johnson needs to hand something to VPOTUS please advise," Sean Riley, a Johnson aide texted.

"What is it?" Pence aide Chris Hodgson responded.

"Alternate slate of electors from (Michigan) and (Wisconsin) because archivist didn't receive them," Riley said.

"Do not give that to him," Hodgson said.

Hide out in Michigan?

In Michigan, the committee learned, the fake electors had planned to hide overnight in the state Capitol to cast their votes the next day.

Laura Cox, the former leader of Michigan’s Republican Party, said she spoke with a man who told her he was working with Trump's re-election campaign about the idea.

“I told him in no uncertain terms that that was insane and inappropriate,” she said.

Michigan GOP co-chair: Trump campaign directed fake electors

Georgia election officials speak out

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who recently won his GOP primary battle, testified on Tuesday that Trump came up short because roughly 28,000 voters skipped the presidential contest.

State officials checked every allegation of voter fraud including false claims about shredded ballots, he said. The Republican election official said he found there was no way he could have lawfully changed the state's election result.

The committee played Trump's infamous call with the secretary of state asking him to "find" additional votes to win Georgia.

"What I knew is we didn't have any votes to find," Raffensperger said.

Daughter-in-law targeted

Raffensperger said his family faced several different threats from "more radical followers" in Trump's flock.

He said besides he and his wife, Tricia, being doxxed and receiving threatening text messages across the country, the former president's followers also broke into his daughter-in-law's home.

"My son has passed and she’s a widow and has two kids," Raffensperger. "And so we’re very concerned about her safety also."

Primary takeaways: Trump's revenge tour falters in Georgia as Kemp, Raffensperger crush GOP rivals

Conspiracy theories took over

Gabriel Sterling, the chief operating officer in Raffensperger's administration, said lies about the election took on a life of their own.

Even after showing family members and others detailed evidence of the validity of the election, many refused to believe it.

"The problem you have is you're getting into people's hearts... Once you get past the heart, the facts don't matter that much," Sterling said.

Election workers describe threats

One emotional moment during Tuesday's hearing was when the panel heard from Shaye Moss, an election worker from Fulton Co., Georgia.

Moss, along with her mother, Ruby Freeman, were falsely accused by Trump of bringing in "suitcases" of ballots into a Fulton County arena on election night. She said the situation "turned my life upside down" and that she avoids going out in public as a result.

"There were just a lot of horrible things there,” Moss said. "Lot of threats, wishing death upon me, telling me I’ll be in jail with my mother."

She no longer serves as an election volunteer.

FBI warned Ruby Freeman to leave home

At one point federal investigators told Freeman, a 72-year-old small businesswoman known as "Lady Ruby," she had to leave her home due to the threats.

"It was horrible," she said in a video tapped testimony. "I felt homeless."

Giuliani claimed there was a USB drive of illegal votes. It was 'a ginger mint'

Trump falsely accused Freeman of election fraud at least 18 times during a phone call with Georgia election officials.

The committee showed a video of Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani claiming Moss and Freeman exchanging a USB drive full of illegal votes was a "smoking gun" proving fraud.

It was not a USB port, Moss said, but "a ginger mint."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Miss Day 4 of the Jan. 6 hearing? Fake electors, pressure on states