Former Philadelphia City Commissioner to Testify Before House Committee Investigating Capitol Attack


PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riots is digging deeper into what it calls “the big lie,” Donald Trump’s false claims of voter fraud that fueled his relentless effort to overturn the 2020 election and led a mob of their supporters to lay siege to the United States Capitol.

Panel 1/6 resumes its hearings Monday with live witnesses, including Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, as committee members say they have uncovered enough evidence for the Justice Department to consider an unprecedented criminal indictment against Trump. The ex-president. Stepien was subpoenaed for public testimony about him.

The chair, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Mississippi, and the vice chair, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, are set to lead the morning hearing after last week’s blockbuster session drew nearly 20 million Americans to view their findings in prime time.

For the past year, the committee has been investigating the most violent attack on the Capitol since the War of 1812 to ensure it never happens again. His findings come as Trump is considering another run for the White House, with some warning that his effort to overturn Joe Biden’s election victory posed a serious threat to democracy.

Stepien, a longtime Trump ally, is likely to face questions about what members of Trump’s inner circle were saying to the president as the election results came in. He is now one of the top campaign advisers to Trump-backed House candidate Harriet Hageman, who is challenging Cheney in the Wyoming Republican primary.

In addition to Stepien, the committee will also hear testimony from Chris Stirewalt, a former Fox News political editor who had a front row seat to election night coverage. He could be asked about Trump’s actions when Fox stated that Biden won multiple states.

A second group of witnesses set to testify Monday will be made up of election officials, investigators and experts likely to discuss Trump’s responses to the election, including dozens of failed court challenges, and how his actions deviated from American norms.

The three scheduled to testify are former federal prosecutor in Atlanta, BJay Pak, whom Trump deemed disloyal and wanted him fired; former Philadelphia City Commissioner Al Schmidt, the only Republican on the election board and who faced criticism when Biden was called into the state election; and prominent Washington attorney and election attorney Benjamin Ginsberg.

As he ponders a White House bid, Trump calls the investigation into his efforts to overturn Biden’s election a “witch hunt.” He said last week that Jan. 6 “represented the greatest movement in the history of our country.”

Nine people were killed in the unrest and its aftermath, including a Trump supporter shot dead by police. More than 800 people have been arrested in the siege, and members of two extremist groups have been indicted on rare sedition charges for their role in leading the charge against Capitol Hill.

SEE ALSO: Capitol Riot Panel Blames Former President Trump for Jan. 6 ‘Coup Attempt’

In its prime-time hearing, the committee exposed how Trump was repeatedly told by his trusted advisers and officials at the highest levels of government that there was no voter fraud on a scale that could have changed the outcome. But Trump continued his false claims about the election, calling his supporters to Washington on Jan. 6 to overturn Biden’s victory just as Congress was ready to certify the Electoral College results.

Additional evidence is set to be released at this week’s hearings focused on Trump’s decision to ignore the election result and the court cases that ruled against him.

Monday’s hearing will also focus on the millions of dollars Trump’s team raised in the run-up to Jan. 6, according to a committee aide who insisted on anonymity to discuss details.

SEE ALSO: Just before Jan. 6 hearing, 3 Capitol rioters express regret, plead for clemency

The committee has said that most of those interviewed in the investigation come forward voluntarily, although some have wanted the subpoenas to appear in public. It is unclear why Stepien received a citation. A Trump spokesman, Taylor Budowich, suggested the committee’s decision to call Stepien was politically motivated.

Lawmakers said perhaps their most important audience over the course of the hearings is Attorney General Merrick Garland, who must decide whether his department can and should prosecute Trump. They left no doubt as to their own opinion as to whether the evidence is sufficient to proceed.

Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., said on CNN that he does not intend to “intimidate” Garland, but noted that the committee has already laid out in legal pleadings the criminal statutes they believe Trump violated.

“I think he knows, his staff knows, US prosecutors know what’s at stake here,” Raskin said.

No president or former president has ever been prosecuted. Garland has not specified whether he would be willing to prosecute, which would be difficult in a political election season in which Trump has openly flirted with the idea of ​​running for president again.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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