Wednesday, February 28

Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien to testify before Jan. 6 committee

The will summarize Monday morning with a number of in-person witnesses who are expected to shed new light on former President Donald Trump’s effort to overturn the results of the election. One of the witnesses will be Bill Stepien, Trump’s 2020 campaign manager.

Committee members are likely to press Stepien, a behind-the-scenes veteran of Republican campaigns, on what Trump’s inner circle knew about the results of the election they lost, even as their candidate actively contested the outcome.

Then-Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, son Eric Trump, and press secretary Kayleigh McEnany listen as then-President Trump speaks to a crowd in Old Forge, Pa. (AP/Evan Vucci)

Committee aides told reporters Sunday that the public will hear — from both in-person witnesses and taped depositions of others who’ve spoken to the committee — about Trump’s decision to declare victory on election night, even though he “was told again and again he didn’t have the numbers needed to win.”

The committee staffers also said that the committee “will reveal information about how the former president’s political apparatus used these lies about fraud to drive fundraising,” and bring in millions of dollars between the election and Jan. 6, when Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in a violent attack aiming to stop the certification of then-President-elect Joe Biden’s win. (The aides spoke on background, meaning that their names would not be used.)

Stepien is set to testify alongside Chris Stirewalt, a former Fox News political editor who was fired by the cable network in January 2021, amid backlash from Trump supporters over the journalist’s decision to accurately call Arizona for Biden as the final votes were tallied.

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FILE - Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., vice chair of the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 US Capitol insurrection, joined at left by Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., testifies before the House Rules Committee seeking contempt of Congress charges against former Trump advisers Peter Navarro and Dan Scavino in response to their refusal to comply with subpoenas, at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, April 4, 2022. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., vice chair of the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 US Capitol insurrection, joined at left by Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss. (AP/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Monday’s hearing will mark the second in of panels that the select committee plans to hold this month. During its initial primetime hearing on Thursday evening, the Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and Vice Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., outlined how they plan to use the hearings to reveal what they’ve learned over the past 11 months about the Jan. 6 attack.

Committee aides told reporters that Monday’s hearing would be focused on “The Big Lie,” or “the decision by the former president to ignore the will of the voters, to declare victory in an election that he’d lost, to spread claims of fraud ,” and to continue to do so after his attempts to litigate those claims in court were unsuccessful.

Stepien and Stirewalt will make up the first of two panels of witnesses for the day. In a published article after his firing, Stirewalt wrote that the refusal of many Trump supporters to believe the legitimate results of the election was a “tragic consequence of the informational malnourishment so badly afflicting the nation.”

The second panel will feature conservative election attorney Benjamin Ginsburg, former Philadelphia city commissioner Al Schmidt, and BJay Pak, who served as US attorney in the Northern District of Georgia for the Trump administration.

After the election, Trump falsely claimed that widespread voter fraud delivered Biden’s victory in swing states like Arizona, Pennsylvania and Georgia. In a recorded phone call, Trump even officials to “find” enough votes to flip the state from Biden to himself; Pak is likely to testify about this period of time.

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In addition to Thompson and Cheney, committee aides said that Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., “will play a key role” in Monday’s hearing, which they predicted will likely last a little more than two hours.

Cheney promised that the upcoming hearings would show evidence of Trump’s involvement in what she described as a “sophisticated seven-part plan to overturn the presidential election and prevent the transfer of presidential power.”

In the Thursday primetime hearing last week, committee members also offered a preview of how they plan to use both live and pre-taped witness testimony to between Trump’s efforts to subvert the outcome of the election and the violence that took place at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

In addition to Capitol Police officer Caroline Edwards and documentarian Nick Quested, who appeared in person on Thursday night to describe their interactions with members of the extremist group the Proud Boys who were among the first to breach the Capitol on Jan. 6, the committee also showed clips of some of the more than 1,000 witness interviews it has conducted over the last 11 months.

Among the most notable witnesses featured in the clips shown Thursday include: Trump’s daughter and former White House adviser, Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner; Trump campaign advisers Jason Miller and William Barr; Stewart Rhodes, founder and leader of the far-right paramilitary group the Oath Keepers, who has been charged with seditious conspiracy in connection with the attack on the Capitol, as well as a number of other accused and convicted rioters.

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