Georgia's Pak testifies about false claims of fraud to Jan. 6 congressional committee
The former Atlanta-based federal prosecutor who found no evidence to support false claims of voter fraud in Georgia and resigned under pressure from former President Donald Trump testified Monday in front of a House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Former U.S. Attorney Byung “BJay” Pak said claims made by the former president's attorney Rudy Giuliani were "false" and that his replacement also found no evidence to support numerous claims seeking to undermine Georgia's election results.
The main claims made by Giuliani baselessly alleged that "suitcases of ballots" were illegally counted in Fulton County at State Farm Arena, and that election workers intentionally scanned batches of ballots multiple times to alter the election results.
Pak said then-Attorney General William Barr asked him to investigate the claims before Barr might have to discuss it at the White House.
"We found that the suitcase full of ballots, the alleged black suitcase that was being seen pulled from under the table, was actually in an official lockbox where ballots were kept safe," he said. "Unfortunately, during a Senate hearing, Mr. Giuliani only played a clip that showed them pulling out the official ballot box from under the table and referring to that as a smoking gun of fraud in Fulton County. But in actuality, in review of the entire video, it showed that that was actually an official ballot box that was kept underneath the tables."
Giuliani's claims were almost instantly debunked by elections officials who explained that nothing illegal or untoward was happening — something an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Georgia Bureau of Investigation and others concluded as well.
"The FBI interviewed the individuals that are depicted in the videos that purportedly were double, triple counting of the ballots, and determined that nothing irregular happened in the counting and the allegations made by Mr. Giuliani were false," Pak said.
Pak's testimony came in a day that painted a picture that most of Trump's advisers and confidants knew the election was not stolen and that many claims Trump promoted were false, yet Trump seemed to ignore those advisers in favor of people like Giuliani and attorney Sidney Powell, who now both face lawsuits over false claims they made about voting machines and election results after 2020.
Barr said he told Trump calling the election stolen from him was "bull****" and said a for-profit movie called 2000 Mules that claims to show massive illegal ballot harvesting in Georgia and other states was "unimpressive."
The film, riddled with factual inaccuracies (such as a map of Atlanta that is actually Moscow), does not contain evidence of people illegally dropping off ballots in drop boxes. Even if someone violated Georgia law and returned an absentee ballot that was not from an immediate family member or in other cases allowed, the ballot itself would not be illegal.
Former acting deputy attorney general Richard Donoghue said he told Trump claims made about Georgia and other states were not true.
"I told him flat out that much of the information he was getting was false or not supported by the evidence," Donoghue said.
In recorded testimony, former Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien said he told Trump his chances of winning was "very, very, very bleak" after election results were coming in and that he advised against Trump declaring victory prematurely.
“The president disagreed with that,” Stepien said. “I don’t recall the particular words. He thought that I was wrong. He told me so, and, you know, that they were going to go, and he was going to go in a different direction.”
Georgia has played a prominent role in the Jan. 6 committee process so far, with Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his top deputy slated to testify in a future hearing.