Jun 14 • 15M

We Now Know Trump Was Repeatedly Told There Was No Election Fraud. But Did He Believe It?

Former Trump Advisor Sam Nunberg Says Mens Rea is the Big Issue in the Jan. 6 Hearings

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Former Fox News politics editor Chris Stirewalt is sworn in during the second hearing held by the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on June 13, 2022 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jabin Botsford-Pool/Getty Images)

Day 2 of the January 6 hearings ushered in a veritable parade of former Trump loyalists who, in quick succession, threw their former boss under the bus. There was a chorus of voices echoing the same refrain: Not only did they not believe claims of election fraud, but they told Trump so.

At the midpoint of the hearings, CNN’s Jamie Gangel took stock of what had transpired. “Donald Trump’s head is exploding right now,” she predicted.

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And how.

Trump went on to issue a 12-page document in response to the morning’s proceedings. In it, he repeated some of the already-disproven claims he’s been putting forth since the 2020 election.

To get the inside view from Trumpworld on today’s testimony, I asked former Trump adviser and GOP consultant Sam Nunberg for his 30,000-foot view.

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Some takeaways to highlight:

  • These are pretty big Trump former staffers and supporters—the kind Trump loyalists are accustomed to watching defend Trump on tv in the last few years—who have turned against Trump in their testimony. (i.e., Bill Stepein referring to himself as “Team Normal” and Bill Barr wondering if Trump had "become detached from reality".) 

  • It's clear that none of these people believed the election was stolen—and they let Trump know that. The big legal question this brings up, says Nunberg, is mens rea (i.e., Trump was told—but the issue that a lawsuit could hinge on is “what did Trump believe?” Intent plays a critical role here).

  • Nunberg's claim that "Jared is the only one who did well out of that White House” is worth pondering. Rep. Zoe Lofgren said that "the Big Lie was also the Big Rip-off," but money raised from supporters on the basis of false election fraud claims can only be used for political purposes. Trump’s real estate business has suffered since he became president. But meanwhile, Jared Kushner has walked away with a cool $2 billion to invest. 

Press play above to listen to our whole interview.

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[NOTE: Mr. Nunberg’s opinions are his own and do not represent the views of Ms. Ward.]