Jun 21, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Arizona House speaker: "I didn't want to be used as a pawn" in effort to overturn election

Photo of Rusty Bowers
Photo: Kevin Dietsch via Getty Images

Arizona House Speaker Russell "Rusty" Bowers (R) testified Tuesday that former President Trump and his allies attempted to convince him that the election was rigged despite "never" providing evidence.

Why it matters: Trump singled out Bowers in a statement prior to the Jan. 6 select committee's fourth hearing on Tuesday, calling him a RINO — "Republican In Name Only" — and claiming that Bowers had once told him that "the election was rigged."

What he's saying: Bowers told the committee he "didn't want to be used as a pawn."

  • According to Bowers, who said he denied ever calling the election rigged, then-Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani claimed that 200,000 unauthorized immigrants and "5,000 or 6,000 dead people" had voted in the election.
  • He said that after asking "multiple times" for evidence, Trump interrupted and said, "Give the man what he needs, Rudy!"
  • But Giuliani never produced the evidence, he added.
  • Giuliani also claimed that Arizona had a "legal theory or a legal ability" by which electors of President Biden could be removed and replaced, Bowers said.
  • When the lawyer pressed Bowers on it, the Arizona House speaker said he told him, "You’re asking me to do something against my oath, and I will not break my oath."
  • Bowers added that Giuliani at one point said, "We've got lots of theories — we just don't have the evidence."
  • Bowers said he told the president he would not pursue anything illegal on his account. However, after that call, John Eastman — the conservative legal scholar and ex-lawyer for Trump who championed the theory along with Trump that the vice president could unilaterally reject electors — again tried to persuade Bowers that they could "decertify the electors."
  • The Arizona House speaker said he stood by his oath to office.

Go deeper: Here's who's testifying at the fourth Jan. 6 committee hearing

Editor's note: This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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