Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., has not given up on former President Donald Trump. He’s not apologized or backed away from his claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election. And he’s clearly not worried about the House Jan. 6 committee putting him on blast for his efforts to overturn that election’s results.
If anything, all evidence points toward Biggs and other Trump Republicans positioning themselves to give new breath to their “election fraud” misinformation campaign if the GOP regains control of the House next January.
The Arizona congressman is a member of the House Oversight Committee and is currently circulating a letter addressed to the committee’s chair. In the letter, Biggs urges immediate hearings “to investigate the potential illegal activities revealed in the documentary film ‘2000 Mules.’” It’s only fair, he argues, given that the committee has “held hearings on the Arizona election audit and Texas’ voting laws.”
If you’re unfamiliar with the film in question, that’s probably for the best. Directed by “historian” and Trump pardon recipient Dinesh D’Souza, “2000 Mules” premiered earlier this year at a screening at Mar-a-Lago. While it portends to prove that massive fraud took place in Michigan and Georgia, the movie has already seen its claims of “ballot harvesting” fully debunked. That includes a complete dismissal of the film’s central argument from former attorney general William Barr, whose disparaging takedown was aired as part of the Jan. 6 committee’s second public hearing last month.
Those hearings have seen the Jan. 6 committee methodically lay bare the campaign to keep Trump in office after losing to Joe Biden. Most revealing though has been the breadth and depth of allies he had in this effort, all committed to overturning the will of the voters. Biggs was one of four Republican members of Congress the committee in May identified as working hardest toward this goal and subpoenaed to testify.
Among its reasoning: Biggs was one of the first to text White House chief of staff Mark Meadows about ways to throw out a Trump loss. He was reportedly one of 11 House Republicans present at a Dec. 21 meeting at the White House to discuss boosting attendance at the Jan. 6 rally and the theory that Vice President Mike Pence could swing the election to Trump. And according to testimony from former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, Biggs was one of several members of Congress who requested a blanket pardon from Trump after the attack on the Capitol. (Biggs has denied Hutchinson’s testimony on Twitter but has so far refused to do so under oath.)
Any consequences for Biggs’ behavior certainly won’t be coming from inside his own party.
Now, if I were Biggs, I’d avoid calling attention to my promotion of those lies as the evidence of wrongdoing mounts. But with his letter, he’s instead opted to double down again by spotlighting “2000 Mules,” which despite its tone is just another outlandish series of claims totally lacking proof. It seems that Biggs is so unafraid of the potential consequences for his actions in support of Trump’s lies that he’d rather keep spreading them than keep his mouth shut.
Any consequences for Biggs’ behavior certainly won’t be coming from inside his own party. The House GOP is reportedly already planning how to fight the Jan. 6 committee’s facts with an avalanche of B.S. In true Trumpian fashion, that would include using all the tools that Democrats have used to investigate the previous administration and the Jan. 6 attack to hound the Biden administration over nonsense. “When Republicans retake the majority, we will exercise our oversight responsibilities including subpoena authority to review all transcripts and information that the committee has access to in order to identify the truth,” a senior GOP staffer on the House Administration Committee told Axios about the Republicans’ plans.
Now, will they find anything damning in there or exculpatory toward Trump? Probably not. But that’s not the point — like the “audit” in Arizona that Biggs cited in his letter, the goal would be to use the mere existence of an investigation to cast doubt and buoy the idea that something shady happened and caused Trump to lose in 2020.
Depressingly enough, the GOP’s relentless denials and deflection are already working. A poll from Monmouth University showed that compared to this time last year, half as many Republican voters now say that Jan. 6 was an “insurrection,” dropping from 33% to just 13%. Meanwhile, 61% of GOP respondents now say that Jan. 6 was “legitimate protest,” compared to 47% last year.
I honestly can’t tell you at this point if Biggs is a true believer in the conspiracies he’s hustling or just trying to win votes and raise money like some of his colleagues. I’m not sure it matters at this point.
The unfortunate truth is that the lies that led to the attack on the Capitol will become a permanent part of our discourse if allowed to go on without repercussions. Biggs and his colleagues are still unafraid of that happening — it’s now up to the Jan. 6 committee to put that fear into them.