What to expect from the second Jan. 6 committee hearing
Two panels of in-person witnesses will testify publicly before the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Monday as the panel continues making its case that former President Donald Trump was responsible for the deadly riot.
The committee announced Monday morning that its headliner witness, Bill Stepien, the campaign manager to former President Donald Trump, will no longer appear at today’s hearing “due to a family emergency.” The session will be delayed 30-45 minutes from its scheduled 10 a.m. start time.
A source familiar with the situation tells NPR that the family emergency keeping Stepien from testifying is that his wife went into labor.
Today’s hearing is focused on the “the decision by the former president to ignore the will of the voters, declare victory on election he lost, spread claims of fraud and then decide to ignore the rulings of the courts when the judgment of the courts didn’t go his way,” House select committee aides told reporters on Sunday. The hearing will look at the “political apparatus to drive fundraising” to bring in hundreds of millions of dollars between Election Day and Jan. 6, they said.
And they said the committee will present a “great deal” of new information — chiefly in the forms of records and depositions.
Who’s on the witness panels
In announcing that Stepien would not testify Monday morning, the committee said his counsel will appear instead and make a statement. Video clips of Stepien’s previous testimony to the committee will be played at the hearing, a source familiar with the situation told NPR.
Stepien was Trump’s campaign manager from July 2020 through the election. He previously served as deputy campaign manager when Brad Parscale was running the operation during much of the 2020 cycle and also served as political director inside the White House at the start of Trump’s term, after working on the 2016 Trump campaign. Stepien was set to appear under subpoena. He was one of about 100 people, including members of Congress, the panel subpoenaed over its nearly 11-month investigation.
Former Fox News digital political director Chris Stirewalt, who was ousted following the election, will testify.
On the second panel is veteran GOP election lawyer Ben Ginsberg, who was outspoken against Trump’s election lies even before the 2020 vote. He will testify with BJay Pak, the former U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Georgia who abruptly resigned following the leak of the recorded phone call in which Trump pressured state officials in Georgia to “find” enough votes to overturn President Biden’s victory there. During the call, Trump referred to a “never-Trump U.S. attorney” in Georgia, though he didn’t explicitly refer to Pak.
Also appearing will be Al Schmidt, a Republican former city commissioner in Philadelphia who was outspoken in the days and weeks after the election defending the city’s administration of the vote as Trump allies launched unfounded allegations of fraud and legal action that failed to show any widespread issues with the vote count. A Trump campaign case against Philadelphia officials was dismissed by a federal judge nominated by former President George W. Bush after acknowledging their accusation that Republican observers had been barred from the city’s ballot-counting venue was false.
The hearing will be the second in a series the committee has planned throughout June
At the first hearing, on Thursday, panel Chairperson Rep. Bennie Thompson said Trump was at the center of the conspiracy that the 2020 election was stolen from him and then “spurred a mob of domestic enemies of the Constitution to march down to the Capitol and subvert American democracy.”
California Democrat Rep. Zoe Lofgren will play a key role in the panel’s second presentation, committee aides said. The meeting will last roughly two hours with a 10-minute recess between the two panels.
The presentation will generally follow chronologically – starting on Election Day, election night and then up through Jan. 6.
In September, the panel is expected to release an extensive report on its findings.