Jun 21, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Trump campaign had call script to pressure state legislators on election

Trump campaign script revealed by the Jan. 6 committee.
Source: Jan. 6 select committee.

The House select committee investigating Jan. 6 on Tuesday unveiled closed-door testimony and documents that shed new light on former President Trump's campaign to pressure state officials to help overturn the election.

Driving the news: The Trump campaign had a call script for appeals to legislators that urged them to support appointing fraudulent pro-Trump electors in states where Biden won.

  • The panel also played audio of repeated voicemails left by Trump campaign lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis for Pennsylvania House Speaker Steve Cutler — even after Cutler asked his lawyers to tell Giuliani to stop calling.
  • They played video of Trump at a rally on Dec. 5, 2020, saying he has "become friendly with legislators that I didn't know four weeks ago."

Why it matters: The committee is making the case that Trump is directly complicit in violent threats against state officials and lawmakers — a theme in these hearings that have tied Trump more closely to the events around Jan. 6.

What they're saying: Cutler, a Republican, testified to the panel in a taped deposition that there were "multiple protests" outside his home and district office and all of his personal information was leaked online.

  • "We had to disconnect our home phone for about three days," Cutler said. The panel played audio of a woman telling Cutler in a voicemail, "We are outside."
  • Mike Shirkey, the Republican majority leader of the Michigan state Senate, testified that, after Trump tweeted his personal phone number, he received "just shy of 4,000 text messages in a short period of time, calling to take action."

Many of these calls and protests were threatening to the lawmakers and officials targeted, the committee demonstrated.

  • Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, said while protests were underway outside her home, "The uncertainty of that was what was the fear. Like, are they coming with guns? Are they going to attack my house?"
  • “Donald Trump did not care about the threats of violence," said committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.). "He did not condemn them. He made no efforts to stop them. He went forward with his fake allegations anyway.”
Go deeper