Trump’s Election Lies Unleashed Racist Death Threats Against Poll Workers

In some of the most dramatic testimony from the fourth hearing of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol, Shaye Moss, a Black election worker in Georgia, and her mother Ruby Freeman described how their lives were forever changed in December of 2020 when Trump’s top campaign lawyer Rudy Giuliani claimed they manipulated ballots to rig the election outcome in the state, which was among those he had lost. They were subject to severe harassment, racism, and death threats by Trump supporters. They had to be relocated. FBISafety. “I don’t want anyone knowing my name. … I don’t want to go anywhere. I second-guess everything that I do,” said Moss, who, like her former colleagues, is no longer an election worker in Fulton County. “Do you know how it feels to have the president of the United States to target you?” said Freeman in taped testimony. “The president of the United States is supposed to represent every American — not to target one.”

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, I’m Amy Goodman.

Some of the most dramatic testimony of Tuesday’s hearing of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol came from Shaye Moss, a former Georgia state election worker, who described threats against her mother and grandmother during questioning by California Congessmember Adam Schiff. Ruby Freeman, her mother who had earlier testified to the committee, was also present during the questioning. This is Schiff, Shaye and Shaye Moss.

REP.ADAM SCHIFF: How did you become aware — how did you first become aware that Rudy Giuliani, the president’s lawyer, was accusing you and your mother of a crime?

SHAYE MOSS: I was at work like every other day, and the former chief Mr. Jones asked me if I would like to visit his office. When I got to his office, the former chief, Mr. Jones, was there and showed me a video on their computer. It was just like a very short clip of us working at State Farm, and it had someone on the video, like, talking over the video, just saying that we were doing things that we weren’t supposed to do, just lying throughout the video. And that’s when I first found out about it.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF: Did they show you responding to these false claims in social media posts?

SHAYE MOSS: Well, when I saw the video, of course, the first thing that I said was, like, “Why? Why is — why are they doing this? What’s going on?” And they, you know, just told me that Trump and his allies were not satisfied with the outcome of the election, and they were getting a lot of threats and being harassed online and asked me, you know, have I been receiving anything, and I need to check on my mom.

And I told them I — you know, I was, like, “Where? Where have they — you know, where have you been getting these threats? I don’t believe I have any.” And Mr. Jones told me, like, they’re attacking his Facebook. And I don’t really use Facebook. I have one so I went to the facebook app. And I’m just kind of panicky at this point, because this has never happened to me, and my mom is involved. I’m like her only child. So, I’m just asking, like, “Where are the messages? I only see the feeds. Like, how do you get to the messages?” And he said it’s another icon on your phone that says “Messenger.” And I went to that icon, and it was just a lot of horrible things there.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF: And those horrible things, did you include threats?

SHAYE MOSS: Yes, a lot of threats, wishing death upon me, telling me that, you know, I’ll be in jail with my mother, and saying things like, “Be glad it’s 2020 and not 1920.” Yeah.

REP.ADAM SCHIFF:Are many of these threats and vile remarks racist?

SHAYE MOSS: Many of them were racist. Many of them were simply hateful. Yes, sir.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF: In one of the videos you just watched, Mr. Giuliani accuses you and your mother to having passed some type of drug. USB Drive to one another. What was it that your mom was actually showing you in that video?

SHAYE MOSS: A ginger mint.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF: It wasn’t just Rudy Giuliani. During President Trump’s call with Secretary Raffensperger we heard him repeatedly make these false claims. Let’s listen to a portion of what he had to say about you and your mother.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We had at least 18,000, that’s on tape. We had them counted meticulously, 18,000 of which were done with Ruby Freeman. That’s — she’s a vote scammer, a professional vote scammer and hustler.

REP.ADAM SCHIFF: Donald Trump called your mother and you 18 times, calling her by her name. Eighteen times. Ms. Moss. Can you describe the feeling of listening to Trump attack your mother and you in a call with Georgia secretary?

SHAYE MOSS: I felt horrible. I felt like it was all my fault, like if I would have never decided to be an elections worker, like, I could have done anything else, but that’s what I decided to do. And now people are lying and spreading rumors and lies and attacking my mom — I’m her only child — going to my grandmother’s house — I’m her only grandchild. And my kid is just — I felt so bad. I felt sorry for my mom and terrible for choosing this job. I was the one who always wanted to help and was always there, not missing a single election. It was all my fault that I put my family in this position.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF: Well, it wasn’t your fault. Your mother was kind enough not to interrupt us earlier. Let’s listen to her story in her words.

RUBY FREEMAN: Ruby Freeman is my name. I’ve always believed it when God says that he’ll make your name great, but this is not the way it was supposed to be. I couldn’t have imagined the events that would follow the 2020 presidential election.

My entire professional life was spent as Lady Ruby. My Georgia community where I was born, and lived my whole adult life, knew me to be Lady Ruby. I built my own business around that name, LaRuby’s Unique Treasures, a pop-up shop catering to ladies with unique fashions. I proudly wore a shirt that said I was Lady Ruby. Actually, I had that shirt on — I had that shirt in every color. That shirt was my election day 2020 shirt. I haven’t worn it since, and I’ll never wear it again.

Now I won’t even introduce myself by my name anymore. I get anxious when someone I know says my name in the grocery store. I’m worried about who’s listening. I get anxious when I have my name called for food orders. I’m always concerned of who’s around me. I’ve lost my name, and I’ve lost my reputation. I’ve lost my sense of security, all because a group of people, starting with number 45 and his ally, Rudy Giuliani, decided to scapegoat me and my daughter Shaye to push their own lies about how the presidential election was stolen.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF: Ms. Moss: How has the experience of being targeted and beaten by the former president and his aides impacted your life?

SHAYE MOSS: It turned my life around. I no longer give out business cards. I don’t transfer calls. I don’t want anyone knowing my name. I don’t want to go anywhere with my mom, because she might yell my name out over the grocery aisle or something. I don’t go to the grocery store at all. I haven’t been anywhere at all. I’ve gained about 60 pounds. I just don’t do nothing anymore. I don’t want to go anywhere. Everything I do is second-guessed. It’s affected my life in a major way, in every way, all because of lies, for me doing my job, same thing I’ve been doing forever.

REP.ADAM SCHIFF: Your mother also spoke to the select committee about how she had left her home to protect her safety and went into hiding after the events. FBI She told her it wouldn’t be safe for her to go there before January 6th, and until the inauguration. Let’s listen to a clip of her story in her own words.

RUBY FREEMAN:The following week, January 6th to 7th, will see the following: FBI My mother advised me to leave my home in order to be safe. I was advised to leave my home at that time.

INVESTIGATOR: Understood. You are not alone.

RUBY FREEMAN: I was away for two months. It was terrible. I felt homeless. I felt, you know, I can’t believe — I can’t believe this person has caused this much damage to me and my family, to have to leave my home that I’ve lived there for 21 years. And, you know, I’m having to have my neighbors watch out for me, you know, and I have to go and stay with somebody. It was hard. It was terrible.

INVESTIGATOR: And the — your conversation with the FBI Are you concerned about having to leave your house for your safety or possibly recommending it? Do you remember if there was a specific threat or an accumulation of threats that led you to do this?

RUBY FREEMAN: What prompted it was — was getting ready to — January 6th was about to come. They didn’t want me to be there because of all the threats I had received. They didn’t want me to be there in fear of, you know, that people were coming to my home. And I had a lot of that, so they didn’t want me to be there, just in case something happened. I asked, “How long am I going to have to be gone?” They said, “At least until the inauguration.”

REP. ADAM SCHIFF: Ms. Moss, I understand that people once showed up at your grandmother’s house. Tell us about that experience.

SHAYE MOSS: My grandmother called me. This woman is my everything. I’ve never even heard her or seen her cry ever in my life. And she called me, screaming at the top of her lungs, like, “Shaye! Shaye! Oh my god! Shaye!” just freaking me out, saying that there were people at her home, and they — you know, they knocked on the door, and of course she opened it, and seeing who was there, who it was.

And they just started pushing their way through, claiming that they were coming in to make a citizen’s arrest. They wanted to find me and my mother. They knew that we were there. And she was just, like, screaming and didn’t know what to do. And I wasn’t there. I felt helpless and terrible for her. And she was screaming.

I told her to close the door, don’t open the door for anyone. And, you know, she’s a 70-something, I won’t say, -year-old woman. And she — she doesn’t like having restrictions. She is eager to answer the door. She loves to walk around the neighborhood, getting her steps in. And I had to tell her, like, “You can’t do that. You have to be safe.” You know, she would tell me that at night people would just continuously send pizzas over and over to her home, you know, and they were expecting her to pay for these large amounts of pizzas. And she went through a lot that she didn’t have to. It made me feel so awful, once again.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF: Aside from the personal effects this experience has had upon you and your family members, one thing that I find most troubling about lies is how they discourage long-term election workers from continuing this important work. If you could, tell us, which of the other election workers and their supervisors were still working in Fulton County in that State Farm Arena video.

SHAYE MOSS: There is no permanent election worker or supervisor in that video that’s still there.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF: Did you ever leave your job?

SHAYE MOSS: Yes, I did.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF: Ms. Moss: I want to thank for coming in to speak to us and for your service to democracy. We have only shown a small selection of the horrible and disturbing things that were said about your mother and you after the election. I want to say how very sorry I think we all are for what you’ve gone through. And tragically, you’re not alone. Other election workers in the country have also been threatened and lie to. This should not be allowed to happen to an election worker just for doing their job. I am allowing you to speak for my mother.


REP.ADAM SCHIFF: We’re just going to play the tape.

RUBY FREEMAN: I don’t feel safe anywhere. Nowhere. Do you know what it is like to have the president from the United States target you? The president of the United States is supposed to represent every American — not to target one. He targeted Lady Ruby, a small-business owner, mother, and proud American citizen who stood up to help Fulton County win an election in the midst of the pandemic.

AMY GOODMAN: Video deposition of Ruby Freeman, mother to Shaye Moss. Their testimony was heard Tuesday at the House Select Committee for Investigating the January 6th Attack on The United States Capitol. Ruby was sitting behind her daughter during Shaye’s testimony.

You can visit to view all four public hearings. We’re also live-streaming the fifth hearing on Thursday at 1 p.m. Eastern at

Democracy Now! produced with Renée Feltz, Mike Burke, Deena Guzder, Messiah Rhodes, Nermeen Shaikh, María Taracena, Tami Woronoff, Cam Baker. I’m Amy Goodman. Thank you so much for joining us.