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A video of former President Donald Trump speaking during a rally near the White House on Jan. 6th, is shown as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol holds its first public hearing on June 9, 2022. (AP) A video of former President Donald Trump speaking during a rally near the White House on Jan. 6th, is shown as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol holds its first public hearing on June 9, 2022. (AP)

A video of former President Donald Trump speaking during a rally near the White House on Jan. 6th, is shown as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol holds its first public hearing on June 9, 2022. (AP)

Amy Sherman
By Amy Sherman June 10, 2022

If Your Time is short

  • After Donald Trump lost the election, Attorney General Bill Barr told Trump that Barr did not agree with calling the election “stolen” and that Trump’s statements were “bull—-.” 

  • Barr also told Trump that his allegations about voting machine fraud were “nonsense.”

  • Some individuals were charged with voter fraud in the 2020 election, but the numbers were so small it would not have changed the outcome of the election.

The opening night of public hearings held by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection focused on election misinformation perpetuated by President Donald Trump. 

Among the hearing’s highlights: New evidence showed that President Donald Trump’s advisers told him directly that he had lost the election. Trump still promoted falsehoods that the election was "rigged" — with dangerous consequences.

"Trump engaged in a massive effort to spread false and fraudulent information to convince huge portions of the U.S. population that fraud had stolen the election from him. This was not true," said U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., the committee vice chair. 

Trump’s falsehoods directly inspired the mob that attacked the Capitol, she said "Those who invaded our Capitol and battled law enforcement for hours were motivated by what President Trump had told them, that the election was stolen, and that he was the rightful president. President Trump summoned the mob, assembled the mob and lit the flame of this attack."

Trump has shown no signs of backing down from the Pants on Fire claim that the election was fixed.

Hours before the hearing, Trump said on his social media channel Truth Social: "January 6th was not simply a protest, it represented the greatest movement in the history of our Country to Make America Great Again. It was about an Election that was Rigged and Stolen, and a Country that was about to go to HELL..& look at our Country now!"

The claim is wrong because it would take a massive scheme involving thousands of election workers — in the presence of other election workers and independent observers — to pull off such a heist across multiple states. That did not happen.

State officials, including Republicans in Georgia, Arizona and Nevada, as well as federal officials said the election was secure. Dozens of judges, including GOP appointees, rejected claims by Trump and his allies that there was widespread fraud. 

Committee highlights Bill Barr rejecting Trump’s fraud allegations

The committee’s June 9 opening hearing presented new evidence that Trump’s top advisers told him directly that the election wasn’t stolen.

The committee played video from an interview with Attorney General Bill Barr where Barr described telling Trump that he had lost the election.

"I made it clear I did not agree with the idea of saying the election was stolen and putting out this stuff, which I told the president it was bull----, and I didn’t want to be part of it," Barr said.

Barr told the committee that he "repeatedly told the president in no uncertain terms that I did not see evidence of fraud that would have affected the outcome of the election. And frankly, a year and a half later, I haven’t seen anything to change my mind on that."

Trump made repeated allegations that voting machines were part of the "rigged" election. Barr told the committee that he told Trump, "I saw absolutely zero basis for the allegations." Trump had suggested that the machines were a sign of "systemic corruption" and that they were controlled by somebody else. Barr said he told Trump such statements were "complete nonsense."

"I told him it was crazy stuff and they were wasting their time on that," Barr said.

The federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency issued an advisory June 3 stating there are vulnerabilities affecting versions of Dominion Voting Systems’ software, but the agency also said that it had "no evidence" that these vulnerabilities have been exploited in any elections.

The committee also played a clip of its interview with Jason Miller, a Trump campaign spokesperson, who testified that the lead data person with the campaign told Trump in "blunt terms that he was going to lose" based on information reported by counties and states.

Voter fraud prosecutions would not have affected outcome of the election

PolitiFact has been fact-checking claims about election results since November 2020. Seventeen months after Election Day, the election results are even more certain: Joe Biden won.

The number of people prosecuted for voter fraud in the presidential election was so tiny that even if all the fraudulent votes found by officials were eliminated or counted for Trump, they still would not have delivered a victory to him.

The Associated Press published one of the most sweeping investigations into voter fraud cases around the country in December 2021, contacting more than 300 local election offices as well as state officials. The AP found fewer than 475 voter potential fraud cases in six battleground states: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The disputed ballots represent 0.15% of Biden’s victory margin in those states.

The AP found that in Arizona, virtually all of the cases under investigation involved allegations of double voting in Pima County.  In January 2022, Pima County prosecutors announced that they found zero incidents resulting in criminal prosecution.

Investigations or ballot reviews in states have also not turned up widespread fraud that would have changed the outcome.

In Georgia, Trump said thousands of dead people voted, but investigators found just four absentee ballots from Georgia voters who had died, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported in December. All were returned by relatives.

In Arizona, state Senate Republicans ordered a review of 2 million ballots in Maricopa County that upheld the finding that Biden beat Trump. An investigation led by Michigan Republican lawmakers found no basis for claims that there was widespread fraud in the 2020 election. In Wisconsin, a conservative group found no evidence of widespread fraud and nothing suspicious about turnout or the timing of the vote tally.

None of these investigations have stopped falsehoods by Trump and his allies that widespread fraud occurred. U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., chairman of the select committee, alluded to the continued myth about voter fraud — something that is being perpetuated by multiple Republicans running for secretary of state on a platform of erecting barriers to voting.

"Our democracy remains in danger," Thompson said. "The lies that led to insurrection have put two and a half centuries of constitutional democracy at risk."

Staff writer Hana Stepnick contributed to this article.

RELATED: ​​Ask PolitiFact: What steps do election officials take to prevent fraud?

RELATED: The 2021 Lie of the Year: Lies about the Jan. 6 Capitol attack and its significance

RELATED: PolitiFact’s Jan. 6 coverage

RELATED: The legitimacy of the Jan. 6 committee, explained

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