Jun 13, 2022
The House January 6 committee announced that Bill Stepien, former President Donald Trump's 2020 campaign manager, will no longer be testifying at Monday's hearing due to an unspecified "family emergency."
Stepien's counsel is expected to appear and deliver a statement for the record.
The announcement of Stepien's withdrawal came less than an hour before the hearing's original 10:00 am ET start time. The hearing is now expected to be delayed by 30 to 45 minutes.
Former President Donald Trump's false claim that the 2020 presidential contest was stolen from him and his decision to declare victory on election night are set to be the central focus Monday during the second in a series of high-profile hearings held by the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Now slated to begin at around 10:30-10:45 am ET, the hearing follows a primetime session Thursday night during which the House panel outlined evidence that the January 6, 2021 insurrection was the culmination of "a sprawling, multi-step conspiracy aimed at overturning the presidential election aimed at throwing out the votes of millions of Americans."
On Monday, the select committee is expected to make the case that Trump and his right-wing campaign operatives knew he lost the election but decided to plow ahead with brazen lies that ultimately fueled the January 6 attack.
According to the New York Times, committee leaders "plan to describe the origin and spread of Mr. Trump's election lies, including the former president's refusal to listen to advisers who told him that he had lost and that there was no evidence of widespread irregularities that could change the outcome."
"A committee aide said the panel would focus in particular on Mr. Trump's decision on election night to declare victory even though he had been told he did not have the numbers to win," the Times added.
Monday's hearing will consist of two separate panels, with the first featuring testimony from Bill Stepien, who managed Trump's 2020 presidential campaign.
As Politico notes, Stepien--who is appearing under subpoena--was "present for campaign discussions about Trump's chances in the election, and the committee contends he can speak to the campaign's reliance on election fraud claims to juice fundraising."
In an appearance on CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.)--a member of the January 6 panel--said he believes the committee can "prove to any reasonable, open-minded person that Donald Trump absolutely knew" he lost the election.
"I think any reasonable person in America will tell you, he had to have known he was spreading a 'Big Lie,'" Raskin added. "He continues to spread it to this very day. He continues to foist that propaganda on his followers."
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