“The four people we have put forward today put forward unsupported theories about election fraud, were involved in efforts to alter election results, or were in direct contact with the former president about attempts to stop the counting of votes,” said Democrat Benny Thompson. The group’s chairman said in a statement Tuesday.
The sapphires represent a significant extension of the comprehensive investigation, as the committee is now seeking to force co-operation from those at the center of Trump’s motivation to thwart it on the lie that the election was rigged. The panel, which is dedicated to examining efforts by Trump and his allies to put pressure on judicial officials and those at the state level to overturn the election results, has a full commission of inquiry.
After the 2020 presidential election and until the January 6 attack on the US capital, Giuliani was complicit in the failed legal machine created by Trump and his allies to reverse election results by making false allegations of electoral fraud. Giuliani traveled across the country and worked behind the scenes to put pressure on state legislators to change the election results.
Both Giuliani and Powell have been subject to sanctions and lawsuits over Trump’s attempts to seek electoral fraud in court by filing lawsuits in key states after the 2020 referendum. Legal officials say Prime Minister Trump’s supporters are spreading false information with the intent of losing faith in the election results.
After the election, Giuliani was in high-level meetings with Trump advisers.
In letters to Giuliani and Powell, the committee noted the testimony of witnesses and the public statement, “urging President Trump to confiscate voting machines across the country after being told that the Department of Homeland Security has no legal authority to do so.”
In December 2020, CNN previously reported that Giuliani had asked former DHS official Ken Cucinelli if he could reconsider voting machines in certain states for evidence of widespread voter fraud.
Cucinelli, who told CNN that he had previously spoken to the committee, told Giuliani in October that the department had no legal authority to seize voting machines or interfere in state-run elections. Cucinelli added, “No one has ever pushed us to do anything outside of our current mission.”
Trump briefly played with the idea that Powell could be a special adviser to him in December, making it possible for his administration to seize the voting machines. In the immediate days leading up to January 6, Powell seemed to have drifted away from Trump’s close circle.
The two had previously sought to keep information about their work on Trump secret, which raised the possibility of a tussle with the House over concessions.
In his letter, the panel asked Powell to provide evidence that he used to promote allegations of election fraud in court and in public.
Investigators have asked witnesses about Giuliani and Powell during previous closed-door interviews, but now want to hear directly from former Trump lawyers.
In the weeks leading up to the 2020 presidential election, Kerrick worked with Giuliani to find evidence of voter fraud swinging for Trump. There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the election.
Lawmakers asked about Powell and how he was separated from the Trump legislature.
The panel notes that he cited a public statement about Ellis, including a theory that then-Vice President Mike Pence could reject election college votes and thwart the 2020 election, in which he could bypass federal law.
Epshteyn was at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C., where Trump advisers discussed options to change the election results.
In his statement announcing the sapphires, Thompson calls these four witnesses to co-operate with the panel’s investigation.
“We expect these individuals to join the nearly 400 witnesses who have spoken with the select committee as the panel works to obtain responses for the American people about the violent attack on our democracy,” Thompson said.
While collaborating with a group of hundreds of witnesses, it continues to face stoning tactics from within the inner circle of Trump’s key allies.
The story was updated on Tuesday with additional improvements.
CNN’s Paula Reid contributed to this report.