As Senate examines Trump’s bid to overturn 2020 loss, GOP voters still buy fraud claims

It’s been nearly a year since voters cast their ballots in the 2020 presidential election, but its results — and the violent aftermath — are still at the center of investigation and debate in Washington, D.C. Amna Nawaz reports.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    It's been almost a year since voters cast their ballots in the 2020 presidential election, but its results and the violent aftermath are still at the center of investigation and debate in Washington. Amna

    Nawaz starts our report.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    On Capitol Hill today, a now familiar fight over election integrity and former President Trump's baseless claims of voter fraud.

  • Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD):

    Who won the election in Arizona, Donald Trump or Joe Biden?

  • Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ):

    We don't know.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    That false claim from Arizona Republican Congressman Andy Biggs was shot down by a slate of state officials and election security experts, confirming Joe Biden won both Arizona and the nationwide count.

    Jack Sellers (R), Chairman, Maricopa County, Arizona, Board of Supervisors: The election was free, fair and accurate.

    Bill Gates (R), Vice-Chair, Maricopa County, Arizona, Board of Supervisors

  • Amna Nawaz:

    That's Jack Sellers and Bill Gates, the Republican chair and vice-chair of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.

  • Rep. Jamie Raskin:

    Was there any fraud or corruption materially affecting the outcome of the election in Arizona in 2020?

  • MAN:

    No.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Still, Republicans on the committee called for more investigations.

  • Rep. Jodie Hice (R-GA):

    There are inconsistencies. There remain question marks.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    And accused Democrats of sweeping concerns under the rug.

  • Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH):

    Why do Democrats hate audits?

  • MAN:

    You would have to ask a Democrat. I don't know why they hate audits.

    Amna Nawaz Former Republican Secretary of State Ken Bennett argued additional vote reviews were warranted, like the one by the Cyber Ninjas private firm, but even Bennett admitted that review led to the same outcome.

    Ken Bennett Former Arizona Secretary of State: The hand count to the physical ballots very closely matches the county's official results in the president and U.S. Senate races.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Nearly a year after the election, baseless Republican messages on voter fraud still resonate. In a CNN poll last month, 78 percent of Republicans said they do not believe President Biden was legitimately elected.

    Gowri Ramachandran, Brennan Center for Justice: Willfully ignorant.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Election experts Gowri Ramachandran of the Brennan Center and David Becker of the Center for Election Innovation and Research said the threat to democracy is as high as it's ever been.

  • Gowri Ramachandran:

    Sham partisan review are serving up innuendo and baseless suspicion ready for deployment by super-spreaders of lies.

    David Becker, Center for Election Innovation and Research: Concerned as I have never been before about the ongoing threats to American democracy.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    That concern was echoed in today's Senate Judiciary report, with new details of just how far then-President Trump went to undermine the 2020 election results in the lead-up to the January 6 insurrection.

    The report details a Trump plan to replace top Justice Department officials with loyalists he believed could overturn his election loss. Trump proposed ousting Jeffrey Rosen, his then-acting attorney general, and putting in his place Jeffrey Clark, a DOJ official who backed aggressive federal action to invalidate the 2020 election.

    In testimony to the committee, Rosen said then-President Trump called a meeting on January 3 and made his intentions known, saying — quote — "One thing we know is you, Rosen, aren't going to do anything to overturn the election."

    Rosen's colleagues talked Trump down, threatening to resign en masse if he was removed. White House counsel Pat Cipollone called the deal a "murder-suicide pact."

    In response to the committee's report, Ranking Member Senator Chuck Grassley stressed Trump's restraint.

  • Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA):

    The president rejected it. The president did the right thing.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Grassley and committee Republicans drafted their own report, writing — quote — "In all known instances where President Trump had the opportunity to direct DOJ to take steps to try and overturn the election, he chose not to do so."

    But committee Chair Senator Dick Durbin said the report revealed a nation on the verge of a constitutional crisis.

  • Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL):

    Former President Donald Trump would have shredded the Constitution to keep his office and the presidency.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Meanwhile, another group, the House select committee led by Representative Bennie Thompson, continues to probe Trump's role on January 6.

    Today marked the deadline for four Trump administration officials to submit documents subpoenaed by the committee, senior White House aide Dan Scavino, Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, former counsel Steve Bannon, and Kash Patel, chief of staff for the acting defense secretary.

    Trump urged all four to defy the order. Whether any of them comply remains to be seen.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Amna Nawaz.

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