Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who was subpoenaed to testify before the House committee on January 6 on Tuesday, said he thought the panel served a productive purpose – but wanted it to reach some of the conservative viewers who most need to hear it.
Driving the news: “I wish TSWT News had aired the whole thing because I think that would have helped our party heal, given [people] more facts,” Raffensperger told TSWT in an exclusive interview after his testimony.
- “They can hear the news and they can make their own decision,” he said, citing his own campaign against election misinformation during his re-election primary.
- Gabriel Sterling, the secretary of state’s chief operating officer, who was also subpoenaed on Tuesday, agreed: “Almost all of the witnesses have been Republicans telling the truth,” he told TSWT. “But the problem he has now is that he is somewhat partisan.”
The context: TSWT News declined to broadcast the committee’s first primetime hearing live, instead allowing Tucker Carlson — who has promoted conspiracy theories about the Jan. 6 Capitol attack — to air his show on his usual time slot.
- The network broadcast the other three daytime hearings live, with commentators often disparaging the committee as partisan and failing to innovate.
The big picture: During Tuesday’s hearing, the committee sought to paint the extent of the campaign of pressure exerted by former President Trump and his associates on state officials, including Raffensperger, Sterling and the Republican president of the Arizona Chamber, Rusty Bowers, who also testified live.
The plot: Responding to a viral revelation from the hearing, Sterling told TSWT that they didn’t know beforehand that White House staff had considered sending “a shitload of POTUS stuff,” like coins and hats. MAGA Dedicated, Georgia Election Investigators.
- Sterling, however, said it was “hard to call that bribery. Kind of a low bar.”
Raffensperger also clarified a statement by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-California), who said White House staff attempted to contact Raffensperger’s office 18 times by call and text to arrange the now infamous January 2, 2021 phone call in which Trump pushed him to “find” 11,000 votes.
- Raffensperger told TSWT that they believe most of these calls were to a press line for the Secretary of State, where voicemails were not checked during this time.
- Raffensperger himself, he said, received only a few messages from White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, to which he did not respond.
To note : Raffensperger called Bowers, with whom he testified, “a person of deep character.” He pointed out that Bowers had invoked the same passage from Ronald Reagan’s inauguration about the peaceful transfer of power that Raffensperger had quoted in his own book.
And after: Raffensperger and Sterling said after that testimony they were determined to move on from the fallout from the 2020 election that catapulted them to national prominence. “It’s been a year and a half, people. It’s been longer than that,” Sterling said.
- “We’re moving on because the No. 1 issue we’re facing in Georgia right now is the Fair Fight Action lawsuit,” Raffensperger said, referring to the lawsuit Stacey Abrams filed after losing her 2018 race. Closing arguments are set for Thursday.
- Raffensperger said he also plans to prioritize business licensing reform during his ongoing re-election campaign, which he also spoke about in 2018.