Jan. 6 Committee Witnesses Detail the Vile Trump Lies That Ruined Their Lives

During the fourth public hearing held by the January 6 committee, the American people heard, once again, the elaborate lengths to which Donald Trump and his allies went to overturn the results of the 2020 election. That effort included pressure campaigns on people like Arizona state representative Rusty Bowers, whom Trump attorney John Eastman urged to “decertify” his state’s electors, and the infamous phone call to Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger, in which the then president of the United States suggested Raffensperger would face criminal consequences unless the secretary magically came up with the 11,780 votes Trump needed to beat Joe Biden. Even more disturbingly, it also included vile abuse and harassment directed at various individuals who were simply doing their jobs, and in the process provoked the wrath of Donald Trump, a repugnant little man who doesn’t care whose lives he has to ruin in the service of his own ego.

One of those people was Wandrea “Shaye” Moss, a former Georgia election worker, who told the January 6 panel that after Trump and Rudy Giuliani claimed video footage showed her and her mother passing a USB drive to each other—in reality, it was a ginger mint—she received a torrent of “hateful” and “racist” threats over Facebook. “A lot of threats, wishing death upon me. Telling me that, you know, I’ll be in jail with my mother, and saying things like, ‘be glad it’s 2020 and not 1920,’” Moss said Tuesday.

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In a taped deposition, Moss’s mother, Ruby Freeman, said that she, too, became the target of terrifying abuse, so much so that she‘s now afraid to utter her name in public. “For my entire professional life, I was Lady Ruby,” Freeman told the select committee. “My community in Georgia, where I was born and lived my whole life, knew me as Lady Ruby.… Now, I won’t even introduce myself by my name anymore. I get nervous when I bump into someone I know in the grocery store who says my name. I’m worried about who is listening. I get nervous when I have to give my name for food orders. I’m always concerned of who is around me. I’ve lost my name, and I’ve lost my reputation. I’ve lost my sense of security all because a group of people, starting with number 45 and his ally Rudy Giuliani, decided to scapegoat me and my daughter, Shaye. To push their own lies about how the presidential election was stolen.” Noting that the FBI had advised her to leave her home at least through the 2021 inauguration, Freeman said: “There is no where I feel safe. Nowhere. Do you know how it feels to have the president of the United States target you? The president of the United States is supposed to represent every American. Not to target one. But he targeted me, Lady Ruby, a small-business owner, a mother, a proud American citizen, who stood up to help Fulton County run an election in the middle of the pandemic.”

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According to Moss, the harassment got so bad that Trump supporters visited her grandmother’s house and threatened to make a “citizen’s arrest.” She told the panel, “I received a call from my grandmother. This woman is my everything. I’ve never even heard her or seen her cry ever in my life. And she called me screaming at the top of her lungs like, ‘Shaye! Oh, my God, Shaye!’ Just freaking me out, saying that people were at her home and they—you know, they knocked on the door and, of course, she opened it and seeing who was there, who it was. And they just started pushing their way through claiming that they were coming in to make a citizens arrest, they needed to find me and my mom, they knew we were there. And she was just screaming and didn’t know what do. And I wasn’t there, so, you know, I just felt so helpless and so horrible for her. And she was just screaming. I told her to close the door, don’t open the door for anyone.’”

Moss, who said in her testimony that her favorite part of her job, which she has since left, was helping people who “couldn’t navigate [the] voter page” or were elderly or disabled and needed absentee ballots, said she was racked with immense guilt over the idea that she was the cause of the stress her family went through. “I felt like it was my fault for putting my family in this situation,” she said. She concluded by telling the panel that her life has been profoundly changed as a result of the lies Trump and his allies spread with absolutely no regard for the people they were putting in danger. “I no longer give out my business card. I don’t transfer calls. I don’t want anyone knowing my name. I don’t want to go anywhere with my mom because she might yell my name out in the grocery aisle or something. I don’t go to the grocery store at all; I haven’t been anywhere at all,” Moss said. “I’ve gained about 60 pounds. I just don’t do nothing anymore. I don’t want to go anywhere. I second-guess everything that I do. It’s affected my life in a major way, in every way—all because of lies. For me doing my job, same thing I’ve been doing forever,” she continued.

Meanwhile, Moss and Freeman weren‘t the only witnesses who detailed outrageous acts of harassment against them and their families thanks to Donald Trump. Raffensperger told the committee that Trump supporters broke into the home of his daughter-in-law, a widow with two children. Bowers told the panel that he was regularly visited at home by people accusing him of being “a pedophile and a pervert and a corrupt politician” and “arguing and threatening with neighbors and with myself.” He added that one of these people was armed, and that the presence of the Trump supporters was upsetting to his “gravely ill” daughter. That daughter, Kacey Rae Bowers, later died.

As for Trump? He spent Tuesday morning trying to discredit today’s witnesses with, you guessed it, yet more lies.

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