Trump Insiders Worked to Convince Him He Was 'Detached From Reality'

WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump was repeatedly told by his top aides that he had lost on Election Night 2020 and that his claims of voter fraud were "completely nuts," according their testimony, which was played Monday by the House Jan.

14 June 2022 Tuesday 07:19
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Trump Insiders Worked to Convince Him He Was 'Detached From Reality'

WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump was repeatedly told by his top aides that he had lost on Election Night 2020 and that his claims of voter fraud were "completely nuts," according their testimony, which was played Monday by the House Jan. 6, committee.

Instead of listening to the White House and campaign aides the advisers claimed that the former president had sided with Rudy Giuliani, a "definitely drunk" man, to launch a movement that culminated into the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

The committee heard video testimony from Trump's closest legal and political advisers. They were almost unanimous in saying that they advised Trump to deny claims of massive fraud. Trump ignored every offer and chose to listen to Giuliani.

Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner said that he told him, "That's certainly not the approach I would choose." He said, "I have confidence in Rudy. '"

Eric Herschmann, one Trump's own lawyers, stated that the legal claims made by Trump's Giuliani-led group of outside legal advisors were "completely insane."

Trump's ex-Attorney General Bill Barr was a verbose man. He used words like "idiotic," “rubbish,” "nonsense," "crazy," and "stupid" to describe fraud claims made Trump and the Giuliani circle that he relied on when he lost his professional campaign and became distant from the president.

Barr testified that Trump made a fraud claim out of the box on election night. Barr also said later that he had told Trump it was "bullshit."

Barr stated that Trump was becoming more isolated from the evidence, and anyone who would challenge him, as the weeks went by after the election. This even though the campaign struggled for law firms to accept them as clients.

Barr spoke of the breaking point he reached in December.

Richard Donoghue was at that time the acting deputy attorney general. He said he tried to go case-by-case to discredit every claim of fraud against Trump, but Trump just moved on to the next one as each one got rejected.

Donoghue stated that he had told Trump "flat out" that a lot of the information he was receiving was not true or supported by evidence. "He didn't resist us on it, but would move to another allegation."

The attack was the focus of the first hearing by the committee last week. Monday's program, however, aimed to prove that Trump knew that he lost the election and used fake evidence and outright lies to keep his power and fuel the insurrection that took place last January.

The committee tried to emphasize the fact that Trump was principally responsible for spreading lies about the election. It also pointed out that the "Stop the Steal” movement was not a grassroots movement that Trump seized but one that he created from the top.

"The election fraud allegations were false. It was known by Mr. Trump's closest advisors. It was known by Mr. Trump," stated Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), a member of the committee. "The Jan. 6th attack was a direct result of Donald Trump's decision using false claims of election fraud in order to overturn the election.

The committee conducted a series interview with pro-Trump demonstrators on Jan. 6, where they repeated his false claims about election. They also provided details about issues such as software used in Dominion voting machines.

"I don’t want to claim that what we’re doing is right," said one man apparently coughing from the tear gas in the Capitol. "But if it is being stolen, then what is it going take?"

The Committee investigators also tracked the money Trump and his associates raised from small donors to inflame election fraud fears. They claimed it totalled more than $250 million.

The money was claimed to have been going to "The Official Election Defense Fund", but two Trump campaign staffers said that it didn't exist and was only a marketing tactic. Instead, investigators found that most of the money was paid to Trump's super PAC and not used for "election defense."

Bill Stepien (Trump's 2020 campaign manager), testified that he and other senior aides met outside the Oval Office on Election Night in an attempt to discredit Trump's conspiracy theories.

Stepien stated that as the votes were counted, it was clear to those who worked with Trump that Trump's chances were very slim.

Stepien stated, "We told him that the group that went there...chances of success at this point, and then we pegged it to, 5, maybe maybe 10 percent based recounts and] realistic legal challenges."

"My recommendation was that we say that the votes are still being counted. Stepien said that it was too early to know. "The President disagreed with this. ... I can't remember the exact words. He believed me to be wrong and told me so. They were going in a different direction.

Stepien, who was an aide to the former governor of New Jersey and worked on President George W. Bush’s 2004 reelection campaign, entered national politics. Chris Christie -- is still aligned to the Trump-wing. His political consulting company is currently working with a Wyoming conservative candidate to defeat Republican Rep. Liz Cheney. She has broken from her party and become the most prominent face of the Jan.6 committee's work.

Stepien and his aides claimed that Giuliani (the former New York City Mayor) arrived and began to press Trump to declare the election stolen.

Jason Miller, Trump's senior adviser, stated that the mayor was clearly intoxicated. He remains in Trump’s orbit. "There were suggestions made by, I believe it to be Mayor Giuliani, that we declare victory and claim that we have won."

Robert Costello, Giuliani's attorney, said to NBC News that Giuliani denied that he was drunk and that he had been drinking. He suggested that Giuliani talk with other people who were there.

Costello stated that Giuliani was not asked any questions during his nearly eight-hour interview with members of the committee.

Trump's campaign lost 61 of the cases in court and won one minor case, which did little to affect the vote count.

Ben Ginsberg, the nation's most prominent Republican election lawyer, stated to committee members that "they did have their day at court." "In no instance did it find that the fraud charges were true,"

Trump replied in length Monday evening, delivering a 12-page statement slamming the Jan.6 committee and repeating many conspiracy theories and lies. Trump did not pursue any witnesses whose testimony was displayed on Monday.

The first hearing took place in prime time Thursday and attracted around 20 million viewers.

The next hearing will be held Wednesday morning and will examine Trump's attempts to "corrupt" the Department of Justice and state election officials. The fourth hearing will be held Thursday afternoon and will examine Trump's attempts to press Vice President Mike Pence not to certify the election results on January 6.



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