Updated Jun 21, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Trump singles out witness ahead of Jan. 6 hearing

Former President Donald Trump in the Oval Office displayed on a screen during a hearing of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack.
Former President Trump in the Oval Office displayed on a screen during the Jan. 6 commitee hearing. Photo: Tom Brenner/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former President Trump in a statement Tuesday accused Arizona House Speaker Russell "Rusty" Bowers (R) of being a "RINO" — "Republican In Name Only" — and said that Bowers had once told him that "the election was rigged."

Why it matters: Trump's statement came just before the fourth Jan. 6 hearing, when Bowers testified that the former president and his allies asked him to investigate allegations of election fraud despite "never" providing evidence.

Driving the news: Bowers told the committee that he "didn't want to be used as a pawn."

  • "You are asking me to do something against my oath, and I will not break my oath," Bowers recalled telling Trump.

The big picture: Bowers resisted pressure from Trump and lawyer Rudy Giuliani after the 2020 election to overturn results and the Arizona House speaker maintained that the results in his state were fair.

  • "As a conservative Republican, I don’t like the results of the presidential election," said Bowers, who was awarded a John F. Kennedy "Profile in Courage" award, per the awards page.
  • “I voted for President Trump and worked hard to re-elect him. But I cannot and will not entertain a suggestion that we violate current law to change the outcome of a certified election.”

Between the lines: Trump in his statement said that "Bowers should hope there’s not a tape of the conversation."

The other side: Trump also claimed that Bowers said that without the former president he would have lost his re-election campaign.

  • Bowers told Axios that what he actually told the former president is that by driving up Republican turnout, Trump helped the GOP win other legislative races.

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

Axios' Jeremy Duda contributed reporting.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with new details.

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