In 2022, while watching a series of televised hearings by the U.S. House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, the Snopes newsroom could sort the panel's evidence into two categories: never-before-seen testimonies and videos that the committee hadn’t released publicly previously, and evidence that the Snopes newsroom or other journalists had already obtained, via their own means.
Below is a collection of themes on the insurrection and former U.S. President Donald Trump campaign’s election-fraud conspiracies that fall into the latter category — concepts that we’ve addressed with Snopes fact checks and that the panel highlighted during the hearings that began June 9.
- That election night speech. Early on, the committee focused on Trump’s decision to declare victory on election night — despite the fact that millions of ballots had yet to be counted and some of his closest confidants, according to their testimonies, had urged him against making such a claim. It was true that, just hours after polls closed, he took to a podium in the White House and gave an unprecedented speech that set the stage for what would become a months-long campaign to try to convince supporters that Biden had won via illegitimate means. Here’s a transcript of that Nov. 4, 2020, speech, broken into its constituent parts and fact-checked by us.
- Rudy Giuliani’s influence. The Trump lawyer’s advice to Trump to declare victory and allege widespread voter fraud was a recurring theme throughout the hearings so far. At multiple public appearances in the weeks after the election, the former NYC mayor was a central figure in the Trump campaign’s battle to win dozens of election-related lawsuits. We fact-checked several rumors about how Giuliani went about doing that legal work, including this meme and a tweet that he suggested using a legal tactic seen in the 1992 movie "My Cousin Vinny” (he did). Also, while addressing supporters near the White House the morning of Jan. 6 — the Trump rally that preceded the insurrection — Guiliani called for a “trial by combat,” referencing “Game of Thrones.”
- The “Election Defense Fund.” The committee drew attention to fundraising emails that the Trump campaign sent to supporters after the election to supposedly help fight election-related litigation, or “Stop the Steal.” Snopes reporters were on that email mailing list, and documented how they distorted or misrepresented facts to try to get Americans to donate here. In the end, the committee said the Trump campaign didn’t actually spend the money like it had promised donors, instead using it to build Trump’s next political moves and fill the banking accounts of his close allies.
- The Mike Pence test. The committee highlighted Trump’s pressure on then-Vice President Pence to delay or reject the certification of votes affirming Biden’s presidential win. According to the panel, that focus on Pence’s constitutional duty put him in danger on Jan. 6. Indeed, as pro-Trump extremists breached the Capitol where Pence was presiding over the vote certification, some chanted, “Hang Mike Pence,” and a gallows was erected outside. During the chaos, security escorted Pence to a hiding place.
- Testifying for the panel, a retired federal judge who had spoken to Pence’s staff before the Capitol insurrection said if he had followed Trump’s orders, that decision to reject the popular vote would have “plunged America into what I believe would have been tantamount to a revolution within a constitutional crisis,” as reported by The Associated Press.
To make sense of the committee's findings, also consider these fact checks:
- Could Trump Defy Popular Vote By Halting Voter Certification?
- Did Trump Tell Supporters To Storm the Capitol?
- Did Trump Tweet ‘Stay Peaceful’ Before the Attack?
- Did Trump Say He Loved Capitol Rioters in Now-Deleted Video?
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