‘Just hateful’: Officials’ lives have been turned upside down by threats after Trump claims a stolen election

The House Special Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol used its Fourth Public Hearing investigating Donald Trumps print campaign on state officials and everyday American poll workers to overturn the 2020 election results.

Several witnesses testified how her life was affected by death threats for doing their job.

Rusty Bowers, Speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives, Secretary of State for Georgia Brad Raffensperger and his chief deputy Gabriel Sterling, all testified to having been pressured by former President Trump or his allies to try to get them to throw their state’s election results. When they didn’t, they said things were getting ugly.

“After the election, my email and cell phone were doxxed,” said Raffensperger, adding that “disgusting” threats against his wife followed. Bowers described disturbing protests outside his home when his daughter was seriously ill.

Fulton County poll worker Wandrea Arshaye (“Shaye”) Moss, the fourth witness, was targeted in video Rudy Giuliani falsely claimed contained a “smoking gun” of voter fraud carried out with “suitcases” full of ballots – none of which were true. Sterling, Chief Operating Officer of the Georgia Secretary of State, told the committee that investigators reviewed 48 hours of footage from the ballot counting center (which was also made available to the Trump campaign) and said it simply shows “Fulton County poll workers engaged in normal ballot processing.”

Despite this, Moss was the target of death threats.

“Lots of threats. I wish for death,” she testified. “A lot of them were racist. A lot of them were just plain hateful.”

Moss’ mother and fellow contestant Ruby Freeman also appeared in Giuliani’s video.

“You know how it feels when the President of the United States takes aim at you? The President of the United States is meant to represent every American. Not targeting one,” Freeman said in videotaped testimony played at Tuesday’s hearing.

“I’ve lost my name and my reputation,” Freeman said.

Moss, who said she no longer works for Fulton County, said she was afraid to do everyday things, like going to the grocery store, because of the threats against her.

“I’ve been nowhere at all — I’ve gained about 60 pounds, I don’t do anything anymore, I doubt everything I do,” Moss said. “It has had a huge impact on my life in every way. All because of lies, because I’m doing my job, the same thing I’ve always done.”

Her mother, a local business owner, said she was always known in the community as “Lady Ruby.” But since the election, “I don’t feel safe anywhere,” she said.

“I’ve lost my name and I’ve lost my reputation. I’ve lost my sense of security, all because a group of people, starting with number 45” — a nod to Trump — “and his ally Rudy Giuliani decided to make scapegoats for me and my daughter Shaye in order to protect their.” spread their own lies about how the presidential election was stolen,” Freeman said.

U.S. Capitol Police Sgt. Harry Dunn salutes Wandrea “Shaye” Moss, a former Georgia campaigner, after testifying Tuesday, June 21, 2022 before the House Special Committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol examined.

Jacquelyn Martin/AP

Moss, who testified that people tried to break into her grandmother’s home, said she felt it was “all my fault” that she decided to become a poll worker.

“If I had never decided to become a poll worker – I could have done anything else. That’s what I chose, and now people are lying and spreading rumors and lies and attacking my mom,” she said, adding, “I felt bad for my mom, and I felt awful for choosing this job and was the one who always wanted to help and was always there. Never miss an election. I just felt it was my fault for putting my family in this situation.

In some cases, officials were publicly called out by Trump or his allies, leading to the threats. Sterling held a press conference on December 1, 2020, in which he implored Trump to “stop inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence.” Sterling said Tuesday he spoke about it at the earlier scheduled press conference because he “lost his composure” after seeing a threat against one of the contractors working for him.

Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers testified that he and his family began fearing Saturdays when groups showed up outside his home playing videos claiming he was a pedophile and corrupt politician.

Protesters have also left literature on his property, arguing and threatening not only with Bowers but his neighbors as well. Bowers recalled seeing a man carrying three bars across his chest and carrying a handgun.

“At the same time … we had a seriously ill daughter who was upset about what was happening outside, and my wife, that’s a brave person, a very strong, calm, very strong woman,” he said, getting emotional. “So it was unsettling.”

Bowers’ daughter passed away in January 2021.

The Jan. 6 hearing will focus on Trump’s campaign to reverse the 2020 election at the state level


Raffensperger, who released audio of a 2020 phone conversation in which Trump told him “find” 11,780 votes. — accurate enough to swing the election — said: “After the election, my email, my phone was doped, and so I got text messages across the country.”

“And eventually my wife started getting messages, and hers usually came as sexualized messages, which were gross,” Raffensperger testified. ‘You have to understand that Trish and I met in high school and have been married for over 40 years stop it, go away.’ And so it happened. And then some people broke into my daughter-in-law’s house. And my son died and she is a widow and has two children. And that’s why we’re very concerned about their safety.”

Committee member Rep. Adam Schiff asked Raffensperger why he didn’t just resign when his family’s safety was at risk.

“Because I knew that we followed the law, we adhered to the constitution,” said Raffensperger. “And I think sometimes in moments you need to get up and just take the shots that get the job done. That’s all we did. We just obeyed the law and we obeyed the constitution. And at the end of the day, President Trump fell short. ”

The committee’s vice chair, Rep. Liz Cheney, said in her opening remarks that Trump was aware of these threats and “didn’t care.”

“He didn’t judge her, he didn’t try to stop her. He still continued with his false allegations,” Cheney said. “Another point. I would like to urge everyone watching today to focus on the evidence that the committee will present. Don’t get distracted by politics. That is serious. We cannot allow America to become a nation of conspiracy theories and thug violence.”

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