Former President Donald Trump issued a statement ahead of Arizona House Speaker Russell Bowers’ Tuesday testimony before the Jan. 6 committee suggesting Trump may have a recording of a phone conversation the two had in November 2020 about the last presidential election.
During the hearing, Bowers testified about that call and another he had in December 2020 with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Trump regarding holding a hearing at the Arizona Capitol to review allegations of voter fraud.
The speaker recounted to the Jan. 6 committee that he flat-out refused the request, given Giuliani’s hoped-for end game would be to replace now-President Joe Biden’s electors with Trump ones if fraud could be shown to the satisfaction of a majority of state legislators.
Bowers further stated that Giuliani’s team provided no evidence that led him to believe there might have been widespread fraud.
In a Tuesday morning statement Trump issued before Bowers testified, the former president said, “Arizona Speaker of the House Rusty Bowers is the latest RINO to play along with the Unselect Committee.
“In November 2020, Bowers thanked me for getting him elected. He said he would have lost, and in fact expected to lose, if I hadn’t come along. During the conversation, he told me that the election was rigged and that I won Arizona,” Trump added.
Bowers won his 2020 re-election bid by nearly 10 percent to represent District 25, which is in Maricopa County in the city of Mesa.
“He said he got more votes than I did which could never have happened,” Trump recalled. Trump said Bowers acknowledged that he would not have been re-elected without the 45th president’s rallies.
Trump concluded, “Bowers should hope there’s not a tape of the conversation.”
AZ House Speaker Rusty Bowers pic.twitter.com/WDo00Q8fL3
— Rasmussen Reports (@Rasmussen_Poll) June 21, 2022
Jan. 6 committee member Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California asked Bowers to respond to Trump’s statement at the outset of Tuesday’s hearing.
Bowers conceded that they two did speak and parts of what Trump said are true.
However, he said, “Anywhere, anyone, any time has said that I said the election was rigged, that would not be true.”
Bowers said it was also false that he told Trump he had won Arizona.
Arizona was one of five states to flip from Trump to Biden in 2020 and did so with the narrowest margin among them: 0.03 percent or 10,457 votes.
Maricopa County, encompassing the Phoenix metropolitan area, was the only county in the Grand Canyon State to flip from red to blue from 2016, when Trump carried it over Democrat Hillary Clinton, to 2020, when Biden took it against Trump.
In 2020, Republicans won every county-wide office save sheriff, which went to the Democratic incumbent.
A hand recount of the county’s ballots that began in April 2021 determined in September of that year that Biden had in fact won Maricopa, though questions remain as to whether all the ballots were legally cast.
Bowers told The Associated Press on Monday that he would vote for Trump again despite their differences over the 2020 election.
“If he is the nominee, if he was up against Biden, I’d vote for him again,” Bowers said. “Simply because what he did the first time, before COVID, was so good for the county. In my view it was great.”