‘The Big Lie was a big rip-off’: Jan 6 committee sees video of Trump setting up bogus fraud claims

The January 6 Committee showed a video of former President Donald Trump setting up his false claims of election fraud during its second hearing.

Zoe Lofgren, a Democratic committee member and California representative, said on Monday that “the plot to overthrow the election was complex and had many parts”.

She said that Mr Trump’s plan to overthrow the election “relied on a sustained effort to deceive millions of Americans with knowingly false claims of election fraud”.

“All elements of the plot relied on convincing his supporters about these false claims,” Ms Lofgren added. She said the committee would present evidence that Mr Trump’s claims “were false, that he and his closest advisors knew those claims were false but they continued to peddle them anyway right up until the moments before a mob attacked the Capitol”.

The Trump Campaign used the false claims to “raise hundreds of millions of dollars from supporters who were told their donations were for the legal fight in the courts,” Ms Lofgren said. “But the Trump Campaign didn’t use the money for that – The Big Lie was also a big rip-off.”

“The former president laid the groundwork for these false claims well in advance of the election,” Ms Lofgren said. “As early as April 2020, Mr Trump claimed that the only way he could lose an election would be as a result of fraud.”

The committee then played a montage of clips of Mr Trump, starting in April of 2020, making a number of false claims about the upcoming election.

“You know all the things that are happening with bundling, and all of the things that are happening with votes by mail, where thousands of votes are gathered, and I’m not going to say which party does it, but thousands of votes are gathered and they come in and they’re dumped in a location and then all of a sudden you lose elections that you think you’re going to win,” Mr Trump said from the podium in the White House briefing room on 8 April 2020.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., speaks as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol meets to reveal its findings of a year-long investigation, at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, June 13, 2022

(AP)

A video image of former US president Donald Trump is seen on a screen during a House Select Committee hearing to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the US Capitol, in the Cannon House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on June 13, 2022

(AFP via Getty Images)

On 17 August, he said “the only way we’re going to lose this election is if the election is rigged – remember that”.

During a debate against then-candidate Joe Biden on 29 September 2020, Mr Trump said, “this is going to be a fraud like you’ve never seen – take a look at West Virginia – mailmen selling the ballots, they’re being sold, they’re being dumped in rivers – this is a horrible thing for our country”.

“There’s no evidence of that,” Mr Biden interjected at the time.

“This is not going to end well,” Mr Trump said.

Ms Lofgren said that “Mr Trump decided, even before the election, that regardless of the facts and the truth, if he lost the election, he would claim it was rigged”.

“Mr Trump was right about one thing – it did not end well,” Ms Lofgren added.

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