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The Jan. 6 panel says the Trump campaign misled donors using election lies

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., delivers remarks on Monday during a hearing by the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack.
Chip Somodevilla
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Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., delivers remarks on Monday during a hearing by the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack.

As the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol wrapped up its second day of public hearings, Rep. Zoe Lofgren tied the Trump campaign's false claims about election fraud, and its repeated litigation of the 2020 election, to its fundraising tactics.

"If the litigation had stopped on Dec. 14, there would have been no fight to defend the election and no clear path to continue to raise millions of dollars," the California Democrat said.

The hearing, the second in a series about the committee's findings, focused on former President Donald Trump's role in perpetuating the lie that the 2020 election was stolen.

Lofgren played a video that featured Amanda Wick, senior investigative counsel for the committee, whose comments were interspersed with snapshots of Trump campaign fundraising emails sent to donors between Election Day and Jan. 6, many of which claimed the "left wing mob was undermining the election."

"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 emails, encouraging them to donate to something called an Official Election Defense Fund," Wick said.

"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," Wick said.

She added that the committee discovered that the fund did not exist.

She detailed how Trump created a separate entity called the "Save America" PAC on Nov. 9, 2020.

"Most of the money raised went to this newly created PAC, not to election-related litigation," she said, adding that the committee discovered that this PAC gave millions in contributions to pro-Trump organizations.

Lofgren said that political fundraising is part of the electoral process and allows voters to make their voices heard, but that they "deserve the truth about what those funds will be used for."

"Not only was there the Big Lie," Lofgren said, "there was the Big Rip-Off."

The first hearing, held last week, made the case that Trump was responsible for the Jan. 6 riot and that he is a threat to democracy. A third hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Barbara Sprunt is a producer on NPR's Washington desk, where she reports and produces breaking news and feature political content. She formerly produced the NPR Politics Podcast and got her start in radio at as an intern on NPR's Weekend All Things Considered and Tell Me More with Michel Martin. She is an alumnus of the Paul Miller Reporting Fellowship at the National Press Foundation. She is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., and a Pennsylvania native.