Pa. House speaker Bryan Cutler details Trump's 2020 pressure campaign

Colin Deppen
Spotlight PA

Then-President Donald Trump's pressure campaign around the 2020 election included daily phone calls from his legal team to Pennsylvania House Speaker Bryan Cutler (R., Lancaster), all part of an effort to make state legislatures the frontline in the administration's push to void Joe Biden's victory. 

The revelation came during Tuesday's televised hearing of the U.S. House panel investigating the Jan. 6 attack, and months after Cutler said he'd received two related calls from Trump himself. 

In pre-recorded testimony, Cutler said he thought the outreach from Trump lawyers Jenna Ellis and Rudy Giuliani was inappropriate and that he had his attorneys ask them to stop. The calls continued.

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Cutler also said he was targeted by Trump allies, including one-time White House strategist Steve Bannon, who urged podcast listeners and fellow Trump supporters to protest outside Cutler's home, which they did.

Central to the outreach from Team Trump and others was the baseless belief that state lawmakers could void a state's election results, appoint pro-Trump electors, and override the popular vote.

Cutler and other GOP leaders in Harrisburg denied they could do so, instead opting to send a formal letter urging Congress to reject Pennsylvania's votes, which eight of the state's nine U.S. House Republicans did. 

House Speaker Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster, during a news conference at the Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa., Wednesday, May 26, 2021. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Among them: U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, who J6 congressional investigators say played an integral role in Trump's election meddling. Perry has refused to speak with the Democrat-led panel. GOP nominee for governor Doug Mastriano, a prominent election denier, is said to be cooperating.

Cutler's testimony comes as the panel works to directly link Trump to the targeting of state lawmakers and "alternate electors scheme."

The panel also is probing the coordination of far-right groups it says orchestrated and instigated the violence seen at the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6, as Congress met to certify Biden's win. 

A 17-minute New York Times video offers a painstaking look at how one such group, the Proud Boys, worked to incite multiple breaches of the building with help from leaders like Zachary Rehl of Philadelphia.

Additional testimony from several witnesses close to Trump is expected Thursday, starting at 3 p.m.