The committee’s January 6 series of public hearings will resume Monday morning with a number of in-person witnesses expected to shed new light on former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the election results. One of the witnesses will be Bill Stepien, Trump’s 2020 campaign manager.
Committee members are likely to pressure Stepien, a veteran behind-the-scenes Republican campaigner, about what Trump’s inner circle knew about the results of the election they lost, even though their candidate actively contested the result.
Committee aides told reporters on Sunday that the public would hear — both from in-person witnesses and recorded depositions from others who spoke to the committee — about Trump’s decision to declare victory on election night, even if he “was told over and over again that he didn’t do it”. I don’t have the numbers needed to win.
Committee staff members also said the panel “will uncover information about how the former president’s political apparatus used these lies about fraud to drive fundraising” and will bring in millions of dollars between the election and on January 6, when Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in a violent attack aimed at preventing the certification of then-President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. (The aides spoke in the background, meaning their names would not be used.)
Stepien is expected 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 reporter’s decision to accurately call the Arizona for Biden as final votes were tallied.
Monday’s hearing will mark the second in a new series of panels the select committee plans to hold this month. During the initial prime-time hearing on June 9, Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and Vice Chairman Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., explained how the committee plans to use the hearings to reveal what he has learned over the past 11 months about the January 6 attack.
Committee aides told reporters that Monday’s hearing would focus on the ‘big lie’ or ‘the former president’s decision to ignore the will of voters, to declare victory in an election he had lost, to spread allegations of fraud,” and to continue to do so after his attempts to litigate those claims in court failed.
Stepien and Stirewalt will be the first of two witness panels for the day. In a Los Angeles Times op-ed published after his firing, Stirewalt wrote that the refusal of many Trump supporters to believe in the legitimate election results was a “tragic consequence of the informational malnutrition that so gravely afflicts the nation.”
The second panel will feature conservative election attorney Benjamin Ginsberg, former Philadelphia City Commissioner Al Schmidt and BJay Pak, who served as a US attorney in the Northern District of Georgia for the Trump administration.
After the election, Trump falsely claimed that widespread voter fraud enabled Biden to win in swing states like Arizona, Pennsylvania and Georgia. In a taped phone call, Trump even pressured Georgia state election officials to “find” enough votes to take the state from Biden to himself; Pak is likely to testify about this period.
Committee aides also said Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-California, “will play a key role” in Monday’s hearing, which they say will likely last just over two hours.
On June 9, Cheney promised that upcoming hearings would show evidence of Trump’s involvement in what she described as a “sophisticated seven-part plan to nullify the presidential election and prevent the transfer of presidential power.”
During the prime-time hearing last week, committee members also offered insight into how they plan to use live and pre-recorded testimony to connect the dots between Trump’s efforts to overturn the election result and violence that took place at the Capitol on January 6. 2021.
In addition to Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards and documentarian Nick Quested, who appeared in person Thursday night to describe their interactions with members of the extremist group the Proud Boys, who were among the first to rape the Capitol on January 6, the committee also showed excerpts from some of the more than 1,000 witness interviews it has conducted over the past 11 months.
Among the most notable witnesses featured in the clips released Thursday are: Trump’s daughter and former White House adviser Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner; Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller and former attorney general William Barr; Stewart Rhodes, founder and leader of the far-right paramilitary group the Oath Keepers, who was charged with seditious conspiracy in connection with the attack on the Capitol; along with a number of other accused and convicted rioters.