5 Georgia takeaways from the House Jan. 6 committee

Byung "BJay" Pak, former U.S. attorney for North Georgia, told the U.S. House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol on Monday that nothing improper occurred in the counting of ballots at State Farm Arena in Atlanta during the 2020 presidential election.

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Byung "BJay" Pak, former U.S. attorney for North Georgia, told the U.S. House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol on Monday that nothing improper occurred in the counting of ballots at State Farm Arena in Atlanta during the 2020 presidential election.

Halfway through a series of six expected hearings, a congressional committee has shed light on Georgia’s role in events that led to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

So far, the House select committee has focused on the role that false voting fraud allegations played in fueling the attack, as well as President Donald Trump’s efforts to persuade Vice President Mike Pence to help overturn Joe Biden’s victory in 2020. Here’s some of what we’ve learned — and what’s yet to come.

Advisers told Trump that fraud allegations were bogus: In the months after the election, Trump claimed Biden’s victory in Georgia and other swing states was tainted by fraud. Numerous state and federal investigations have shown that’s not true. And testimony aired this week shows Trump’s advisers knew it.

ExploreFive fraud claims: What investigators found

U.S. Attorney General William Barr, other Justice Department officials, Trump campaign officials and others repeatedly told Trump that allegations of fraud in Georgia and elsewhere were false. But the president continued to make fraud claims — including allegations of ballot stuffing at State Farm Arena in Atlanta — after they had been debunked.

Trump’s team knew the Electoral College scheme was illegal: Thursday’s hearing focused on Trump’s effort to pressure then-Vice President Mike Pence to reject electoral votes from Georgia and other states Biden won. The campaign was based on the discredited legal argument that Pence had the authority to reject the electors or to suspend the Jan. 6 joint session of Congress and ask legislators in the “contested” states to determine who really won their states.

Witnesses testified that plan had no basis in the U.S. Constitution or federal law. Even some of Trump’s own advisers knew the plan was illegal, but he pursued it anyway.

Trump had plenty of help in Georgia. The state Republican Party provided an “alternative” slate of electors who would vote for Trump. And a core group of Republican lawmakers tried to convene a special session of the General Assembly to overturn Biden’s victory.

The committee still wants to talk to U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk: Last month the House committee asked the Cassville Republican for information about a tour of the Capitol complex he led on Jan. 5, 2021. The committee has been investigating allegations that some Republicans led “reconnaissance” tours for people who planned to storm the Capitol the next day.

Loudermilk declined to meet with the committee, saying he had simply joined a tour with constituents who played no role in the attack. On Monday, a Capitol Police investigation concluded Loudermilk did nothing wrong.

On Wednesday the committee released video footage showing a man touring the Capitol complex with Loudermilk. In a letter to Loudermilk, the committee said the man took photos of staircases, hallways and security checkpoints. It said the same man was seen on video outside the Capitol the next day, making threats against congressional Democrats.

The committee renewed its request to speak with Loudermilk about the tour. Loudermilk says the committee is using the footage to mislead the public and turn people against him.

Pak testifies: Byung “BJay” Pak, the former U.S. attorney in Atlanta, told the committee in public what he had already told Senate investigators in private testimony: that the State Farm Arena video that Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani called a “smoking gun” for voting fraud showed nothing improper.

“The FBI interviewed the individuals that are depicted in the videos — reportedly they were double- (and) triple-counting ballots — and determined that nothing irregular happened in the counting and the allegations made by Mr. Giuliani were false,” Pak testified.

Investigators with the Georgia secretary of state’s office reached the same conclusion.

More Georgians to testify: Georgia has been in the spotlight in committee hearings. In addition to Pak, Caroline Edwards, the first police officer to be injured during the Jan. 6 attack, has testified. She’s an Atlanta native and a University of Georgia graduate.

At least two more Georgians are expected to testify in Tuesday’s hearing: Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his top deputy, Gabe Sterling. Raffensperger gained national attention for resisting Trump’s request to “find” the 11,780 votes Trump needed to defeat Biden in Georgia.

Staff writer Tia Mitchell contributed to this article.