Updated 4:45 PM EDT, Sun September 17, 2023
Former President Donald Trump said that he received counsel from numerous people shortly after the 2020 election but that it was his decision to push the false claim he won the presidency and try to overturn the results.
“It was my decision, but I listened to some people,” Trump told NBC’s “Meet the Press” in an interview that aired Sunday.
Trump has been indicted over his efforts to subvert the 2020 election results. He has pleaded not guilty in all cases and denied any wrongdoing.
A central premise of special counsel Jack Smith’s case, according to his indictment of the former president, is that Trump knew the election claims he was making were false after being told by close aides that he had lost but disseminated them anyway to make them appear legitimate – all in service of an alleged criminal conspiracy.
“I was listening to different people, and when I added it all up, the election was rigged,” Trump told Kristen Welker in the interview, again pushing the false claim as he seeks the 2024 Republican nomination for president.
“You know who I listen to? Myself. I saw what happened,” Trump said.
The former president said he didn’t listen to his attorneys who told him he lost the election because he didn’t respect them.
“You hire them, you’ve never met these people, you get a recommendation, they turn out to be RINOs (Republicans in name only), or they turn out to be not so good. In many cases, I didn’t respect them,” Trump said. “But I did respect others. I respected many others that said the election was rigged.”
Following his election loss, Trump tried multiple avenues to overturn the election results. He pressured Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and another official to “recalculate” the numbers and “find” enough votes to let him win.
Trump’s campaign also tried to install fake GOP electors in seven swing states.
The House select committee that investigated Trump’s actions in the lead-up to the January 6, 2021, insurrection argued that the evidence shows he actively worked to “transmit false Electoral College ballots to Congress and the National Archives” despite concerns among his lawyers that doing so could be unlawful.
“That evidence has led to an overriding and straightforward conclusion: the central cause of January 6th was one man, former President Donald Trump, whom many others followed. None of the events of January 6th would have happened without him,” the committee’s final report states.
Smith’s federal election interference investigation is one of four criminal cases against the former president. Trump is facing four charges in Smith’s case, including obstruction of an official proceeding and conspiracy to defraud the United States.
Trump was also charged in a sweeping Georgia indictment accusing him of being the head of a “criminal enterprise” to overturn the 2020 election.