The United States on Jan. 6, 2021. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford joined other Democratic AGs to draw attention to actions they say are threatening voting rights.
Ford spoke during a joint Zoom call with attorney generals from Wisconsin, Delaware and Colorado who all highlighted what they consider “continued attempts to undermine election results,” led by Republicans who continue to repeat false claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump.
The press call came the day before the anniversary of the Jan. 6 insurrection, when supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol building as lawmakers were starting to certify Democrat Joe Biden as the official winner of the 2020 election.
Ford said addressing threats to voting rights on the anniversary of the attack on the Capitol is necessary to protect future elections.
“We need to keep in the forefront of our minds that this attack was one on the very essence of who we are as a country,” he said.
Ford lamented the loss of five Capitol Police officers — one who died during the riot and another four who later died by suicide — as well as the 150 officers who were injured when Trump supporters clashed with police.
Threats to democratic elections by right-wing extremists started long before the attack on Jan. 6, said Ford, but those threats have only grown in the last year.
In Nevada, Ford represented Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske during multiple lawsuits from the Trump campaign and state GOP, including a lawsuit seeking to stop the counting of “improper votes” while alleging “many irregularities.”
“The lawsuit was a partisan power grab,” Ford said. “We won that case and all others decisively.”
All lawsuits against the state of Nevada brought by the Trump campaign and state GOP were unsuccessful. In one ruling, Judge James Wilson Jr. rejected all of Trump’s requests, writing, “There is no evidence that any vote that should lawfully be counted has or will not be counted. There is no evidence that any election worker did anything outside the law, policy, or procedures.”
Ford also harped on the case of Donald Kirk Hartle, a Trump supporter in Clark County who Republicans showcased in their attempts to spread misinformation and unfounded claims about massive voter fraud. Hartle in November pled guilty to voting more than once during the same election.
“My office ultimately proved that he was the one who voted twice using his wife’s identity,” Ford said.
Ford also called out Republican attorneys general, accusing them of perpetrating misinformation about voter fraud. He pointed to previous accounts that the Republican Attorneys General Association sent out robocalls the day before the Jan. 6 attacks encouraging Trump supporters to march to the Capitol.
“We cannot and will not let this week pass without bringing these facts to light,” Ford said.
Biden won Nevada by nearly 34,000 votes, an outcome that has stood up against false accusations of voter fraud and a number of lawsuits.
On Wednesday, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland in a speech from the Justice Department’s Great Hall vowed to hold all those responsible for the Jan. 6 riot accountable and defended his handling of the probe, which some Democrats have panned for not being aggressive enough.
“The actions we have taken thus far will not be our last,” he said.
During the Democratic AGs press conference, Ford defended Garland’s investigation of the Capitol riot. He added that Democratic state AGs are working along with the federal administration to preserve and protect elections.
“I have no doubt in my mind that Merrick Garland has the best interest of justice in mind and is working as diligently as he can,” Ford said. “I am certain that he is engaged thoroughly in investigations around individuals who were involved in the insurrection and who helped coordinate the insurrection.”
The U.S. Justice Department has charged more than 700 of defendants and directed prosecutors to issue a slew of sedition and conspiracy charges against pro-Trump rioters. Some of those insurrectionists are awaiting trial in D.C. jails.
Congressional hearings and investigations into the attack on the Capitol have been ongoing. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Wednesday spoke during a Senate Rules Committee oversight hearing about security improvements made by the Capitol Police.
“January 6th was not merely a senseless act of mob violence that sprung up spontaneously,” he said. “It was an attempt to reverse, through violent means, the outcome of a free and fair election.
“And make no mistake: The root cause of January 6th is still with us today,” he continued. “It is the Big Lie pushed by Donald Trump that is undermining faith in our political system and making our democracy, our country, less safe.”
Trump has continued to make false claims that the presidential election was stolen, and Republicans in state legislatures have used those claims to enact and introduce strict voting requirements and laws to strip county and state election officials of their authority over elections. It’s a trend that has concerned Democrats as they struggle to pass voting rights legislation.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi established a special commission to investigate the attack — similar to one created in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Only two Republicans sit on the committee, Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois. The select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol has issued subpoenas to former Trump aides, House Republicans and Fox News anchors.
States Newsroom reporter Ariana Figueroa contributed to this report.
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