Rusty Bowers's stand against the Trump pressure campaign and other takeaways from the fourth Jan. 6 hearing
“I do not want to be a winner by cheating. I will not play with laws I swore allegiance to."
Since early January 2021, the country has been familiar with Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia secretary of state who during an infamous recorded phone call just days before the insurrection resisted Trump’s threats about how he could be guilty of crimes if he didn’t find enough votes to overturn Trump’s loss in the state to Joe Biden.
Raffensperger offered important testimony to the January 6 committee during its fourth hearing Tuesday, including a lie-by-lie debunking of false claims Trump threw at him during the aforementioned call. But the breakout star of the day ended up being Rusty Bowers, the Republican Speaker of the House in Arizona who shared his less publicized story of standing tall in the face of a similar Trump/Giuliani pressure campaign.
Tuesday’s hearing was about the efforts made by Trump and Giuliani — with help from Republicans like Ron Johnson — to get Republicans legislators in states Biden won to go along with a fake elector scheme, even after they were told by White House lawyers that not only was the plan not legally sound, but the fraud claims they were making weren’t true.
Of course, whether the plan was illegal or factual was beside the point, which was ultimately to give Vice President Mike Pence a pretext to reject Biden’s electors and send the election back to Republican-controlled legislatures in states like Arizona and Georgia that could presumably be counted on to do Trump’s bidding. But as Bowers made clear on Tuesday, he wasn’t having it.
“I do not want to be a winner by cheating. I will not play with laws I swore allegiance to,” Bowers testified, recounting a December 2020 journal entry he wrote as Giuliani and Trump were repeatedly trying to cajole him into calling a hearing aimed at affirming the big lie and decertifying Biden’s victory.
Bowers was a Trump supporter who voted for him in the 2020 election. But he began his testimony Tuesday by telling Adam Schiff that Trump is lying about conversations they had in November 2020. Trump claims Bowers told him the election in Arizona was rigged, but Bowers strongly denies that characterization, saying on Tuesday that “anywhere, anyone, any time has said that I said the election is rigged, that would not be true.”
Bowers testified that in the weeks following the 2020 election, he repeatedly pressed Rudy Giuliani to provide evidence backing up his wild claims about dead people and undocumented people voting in Arizona. But none ever came. On the contrary, Giuliani eventually told Bowers and his counsel on a call something to the effect of “we’ve got lots of theories, we just don’t have the evidence.”
“I don’t know if that was a gaffe, or maybe he didn’t think through what he said … afterwards, we kinda laughed about it,” Bowers said.