Trump's baseless claim about 'Indian people getting paid to vote' appears to have originated with Peter Navarro aide
Garrett Ziegler (Official White House photo).

A former Justice Department official raised eyebrows when he testified that Donald Trump complained that Native Americans were paid to vote against him, but the claim appears to have originated with a White House staffer.

Richard Donoghue, who served as Trump's acting deputy attorney general in December 2020 and January 2021, told the House select committee the former president claimed voter fraud had deprived him of re-election, and many observers were surprised by some of the baseless allegations.

"Dead people are voting, Indian people are getting paid to vote," Trump said, according to Donoghue. "There's lots of fraud going on here."

Donoghue testified that he told the former president those allegations were false, and it appears that Trump heard the claims from Garrett Ziegler, an aide to then-White House economic adviser Peter Navarro.

IN OTHER NEWS: Rudy Giuliani erupts at 'completely hysterical' Liz Cheney over Jan. 6 hearing

"The young and earnest Garrett Ziegler rides to the sound of the guns in Nevada," wrote Navarro in his book, "In Trump Time: A Journal of America's Plague Year." "He will soon find himself criss-crossing an Indian reservation investigating outrageously illegitimate bribes for Biden votes."

Although some election advocates such as Nevada Native Vote Project did offer free food, gift cards and raffle entries to voters, the giveaways were available to all voters, and not in exchange for backing any specific candidate.

NOW WATCH: 'No Question' a Republican House Will Impeach Joe Biden: CNN Legal Analyst

'No Question' a Republican House Will Impeach Joe Biden: CNN Legal analyst