Independent news has never been so important.

Did you know that you can get Democracy Now! delivered to your inbox every day? Sign up for our Daily News Digest today! Don't worry, we'll never share or sell your information.

Trump’s “Big Lie Was Also a Big Ripoff” as He Raised $250 Million from Supporters After 2020 Loss

Listen
Media Options
Listen

Monday’s January 6 committee hearing ended with closing statements from January 6 committee vice chair, Republican Liz Cheney and Democrat Zoe Lofgren describing how the Trump administration raised over $250 million from his supporters, off of the lie that the 2020 election results were fraudulent, for an election defense fund that didn’t exist.

Related Story

StoryJun 24, 2022Guess Which Republican Congressmembers Sought Pardons After Trying to Help Trump Subvert Vote
Transcript
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: The January 6th hearing ended with closing statements from committee vice chair, Republican Liz Cheney and Democrat Zoe Lofgren describing how the Trump administration raised over $250 million off his supporters on the false claim the 2020 election results were fraudulent.

REP. ZOE LOFGREN: Now that we understand the litigation efforts by President Trump and his allies, I’d like to present additional actions taken by the Trump campaign during this time. President Trump continued to push the stolen election narrative even though he and his allies knew that their litigation efforts making the same claim had failed.

It’s worth pointing out that litigation generally does not continue past the safe harbor date of December 14th. But the fact that this litigation went on, well, that decision makes more sense when you consider the Trump campaign’s fundraising tactics, because if the litigation had stopped on December 14th, there would have been no fight to defend the election and no clear path to continue to raise millions of dollars.

Mr. Chairman, at this time I’d ask for unanimous consent to include in the record a video presentation describing how President Trump used the lies he told to raise millions of dollars from the American people. These fundraising schemes were also part of the effort to disseminate the false claims of election fraud.

REP. BENNIE THOMPSON: Without objection, so ordered.

AMANDA WICK: My name is Amanda Wick, and I’m senior investigative counsel at the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol.

Between Election Day and January 6th, the Trump campaign sent millions of fundraising emails to Trump supporters, sometimes as many as 25 a day. The emails claimed the, quote, “Left-wing MOB” was undermining the election; implored supporters to, quote, “Step up to protect” the integrity of the election; and encouraged them to, quote, “Fight back.”

But as the select committee has demonstrated, the Trump campaign knew these claims of voter fraud were false, yet they continued to barrage small-dollar donors with e-mails encouraging them to donate to something called the Official Election Defense Fund. The select committee discovered no such fund existed.

HANNA ALLRED: I don’t believe there is actually a fund called the Election Defense Fund.

INVESTIGATOR: Is it fair to say that the Election Defense Fund was another, as I think we’ve called it, a marketing tactic?

GARY COBY: Yes.

INVESTIGATOR: And tell us about these funds as marketing tactics.

GARY COBY: Just the topic matter, where money could potentially go to be — how money could potentially be used.

AMANDA WICK: The claims that the election was stolen were so successful, President Trump and his allies raised $250 million, nearly $100 million in the first week after the election. On November 9th, 2020, President Trump created a separate entity called the Save America PAC. Most of the money raised went to this newly created PAC, not to election-related litigation.

The select committee discovered that the Save America PAC made millions of dollars of contributions to pro-Trump organizations, including $1 million to Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows’s charitable foundation; $1 million to the America First Policy Institute, a conservative organization which employs several former Trump administration officials; $204,857 to the Trump Hotel Collection; and over $5 million to Event Strategies Inc., the company that ran President Trump’s January 6th rally on the Ellipse.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: All of us here today do not want to see our election victory stolen by emboldened radical-left Democrats, which is what they’re doing.

AMANDA WICK: The evidence developed by the select committee highlights how the Trump campaign aggressively pushed false election claims to fundraise, telling supporters it would be used to fight voter fraud that did not exist. The emails continued through January 6th, even as President Trump spoke on the Ellipse. Thirty minutes after the last fundraising email was sent, the Capitol was breached.

REP. ZOE LOFGREN: Every American is entitled and encouraged to participate in our electoral process. Political fundraising is part of that. Small-dollar donors use scarce disposable income to support candidates and causes of their choosing, to make their voices heard. And those donors deserve the truth about what those funds will be used for.

Throughout the committee’s investigation, we found evidence that the Trump campaign and its surrogates misled donors as to where their funds would go and what they would be used for. So, not only was there the big lie, there was the big ripoff. Donors deserve to know where their funds are really going. They deserve better than what President Trump and his team did. Mr. Chairman, I yield back.

REP. BENNIE THOMPSON: Without objection, the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from Wyoming, Ms. Cheney, for her closing statement.

REP. LIZ CHENEY: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, I would like to thank all of our witnesses today, and I’d also like to, in particular, wish Mr. Stepien and his family all the best on the arrival of a new baby.

Today’s hearing, Mr. Chairman, was very narrowly focused. And in the coming days you will see the committee move on to President Trump’s broader planning for January 6th, including his plan to corrupt the Department of Justice and his detailed planning with lawyer John Eastman to pressure the vice president, state legislatures, state officials and others to overturn the election.

Let me leave you today with one clip to preview what you will see in one of our hearings to come. This is the testimony of White House lawyer Eric Herschmann. John Eastman called Mr. Herschmann the day after January 6th. And here is how that conversation went.

ERIC HERSCHMANN: I said to him, “Are you out of your F—ing mind?” Right? I said, “I only want to hear two words coming out of your mouth from now on: 'orderly transition.'”

AMY GOODMAN: That’s former White House lawyer Eric Herschmann. We’ll be live-streaming all the January 6th hearings at democracynow.org. You can tune in on Wednesday at 10 a.m. Eastern and then on Thursday at 1 p.m. Then we will bring you highlights on Thursday and Friday of those hearings on Democracy Now!

On Monday, we’ll be airing a Juneteenth special. We’ll talk to Clint Smith on the origins of Juneteenth and his book, How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America. And we’ll also speak with MIT professor Craig Steven Wilder, author of Ebony & Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America’s Universities.

That does it for our show. To see transcripts, audio and video podcasts, go to democracynow.org. Democracy Now! is produced with Renée Feltz, Mike Burke, Deena Guzder, Messiah Rhodes, Nermeen Shaikh, María Taracena, Tami Woronoff, Camille Baker, Charina Nadura, Sam Alcoff, Tey-Marie Astudillo, John Hamilton, Robby Karran, Hany Massoud, Mary Conlon, Juan Carlos Dávila. Our executive director is Julie Crosby. I’m Amy Goodman. Thanks for joining us.

The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

Up Next

Guess Which Republican Congressmembers Sought Pardons After Trying to Help Trump Subvert Vote

Non-commercial news needs your support

We rely on contributions from our viewers and listeners to do our work.
Please do your part today.
Make a donation
Top