Trump singles out witness Rusty Bowers before Jan. 6 hearing – Axios

Former President Trump in a statement Tuesday accused Arizona House Speaker Russell “Rusty” Bowers (R) of being a “RINO” — “Republican In Name Only” — and said that Bowers had once told him that “the election was rigged.”

Why it matters: Trump’s statement came just before the fourth Jan. 6 hearing, when Bowers testified that the former president and his allies asked him to investigate allegations of election fraud despite “never” providing evidence.

Driving the news: Bowers told the committee that he “didn’t want to be used as a pawn.”

  • You are asking me to do something against my oath, and I will not break my oath,” Bowers recalled telling Trump.

The big picture: Bowers resisted pressure from Trump and lawyer Rudy Giuliani after the 2020 election to overturn results and the Arizona House speaker maintained that the results in his state were fair.

  • “As a conservative Republican, I don’t like the results of the presidential election,” said Bowers, who was awarded a John F. Kennedy “Profile in Courage” award, per the awards page.
  • “I voted for President Trump and worked hard to reelect him. But I cannot and will not entertain a suggestion that we violate current law to change the outcome of a certified election.”

Between the lines: Trump in his statement said that “Bowers should hope there’s not a tape of the conversation.”

Go deeper… Arizona House speaker: “I didn’t want to be used as a pawn” in effort to overturn election

Axios’ Jeremy Duda contributed reporting.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with new details.

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