January 6 conspiracy theories and debunked claims

A look at the false claims pushed by Donald Trump and his team

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The House of Representatives panel looking at the January 6, 2021, insurrection spent their second hearing on Monday debunking former president Donald Trump’s claims of widespread election fraud.

The nine-member panel said Mr Trump knew the claims were false, but he continued to push them anyway.

Even today, the former president and many in the Republican Party insist the 2020 election was "stolen".

Here is a look at some of the claims made by Mr Trump or people in his campaign, along with the panel’s findings.

The claim: Voting machines were rigged

Mr Trump and his legal team, including Rudy Giuliani, repeatedly claimed Dominion voting machines were somehow compromised and were awarding his votes to Joe Biden.

The accusation was repeated by Trump supporters on January 6, who claimed it as evidence that their votes had been stolen.

“We have a company that’s very suspect. Its name is Dominion," Mr Trump said after the 2020 election.

"With the turn of a dial or the change of a chip, you can press a button for Trump and the vote goes to Biden. What kind of a system is this?”

What the panel found:

The panel played recorded video testimony from Mr Trump’s former attorney general William Barr, who said he saw “absolutely zero basis” for the allegations, which he described as “idiotic”.

Trump supporters thought there was “this systemic corruption in the system and that their votes didn’t count, and that these machines controlled by somebody else were actually determining it, which was complete nonsense", Mr Barr said.

“I was somewhat demoralised because I thought, boy, if he really believes this stuff he has, you know, lost contact with … he’s become detached from reality."

The claim: Dead people voted

Mr Trump repeatedly insisted that dead people who were still on the electoral roll somehow had ballots cast in their name.

What the panel found:

Former Philadelphia City Commissioner Al Schmidt testified that allegations by the Trump team of voting fraud in that city and state were seriously and thoroughly investigated, including allegations that thousands of dead people had ballots cast in their names.

“Not only was it not evidence of 8,000 dead voters in Pennsylvania, there wasn’t evidence of eight,” said Mr Schmidt, a Republican.

“We took seriously every case that was referred to us, no matter how fantastical, how absurd."

The claim: Suitcases of ballots disappearing and reappearing

One of the examples of fraud that Mr Trump used as proof that the 2020 election was stolen was video surveillance from the vote-counting centre in Atlanta showing “suitcases” of ballots being pulled from under a table and “added in secret in Georgia".

What the panel found:

BJ Pak, the former US attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, testified that was not what happened.

Mr Pak said Georgia officials and his own review showed the “suitcases” were just boxes of ballots to be counted.

He said the video simply showed election workers who had been preparing to go home and had packed up uncounted ballots for the night pulling them out to be counted.

Al Schmidt, former Philadelphia city commissioner, testifies during a hearing by the select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol. Getty / AFP

The claim: Truckloads of unexpected votes for Biden appear in places such as Philadelphia

Mr Trump has repeatedly suggested that there was a rush of unexpected votes in swing state Pennsylvania within inner city areas such as Philadelphia.

He also has claimed there were more votes in Philadelphia than there were registered voters.

What the panel heard:

“That was absolute rubbish,” Mr Barr said. “There was nothing strange about the Philadelphia turnout.”

He said Philadelphia ballots were not counted in each voting precinct.

Instead, they were taken to a central location for tallying after polls had closed, which would explain the late arrival of ballots on election night.

Updated: June 14, 2022, 12:07 AM
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