WASHINGTON — Pennsylvania’s Republican governor nominee Doug Mastriano appeared briefly Tuesday before the Jan. 6 committee investigating the U.S. Capitol insurrection but shared little as the panel probes Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
Mastriano, who was at the Capitol the day before and had helped coordinate efforts in Pennsylvania for alternate presidential electors under Trump’s control, cut off the interview. According to his lawyer, he denied the existence of the panel and the conditions of his appearance.
Mastriano’s attorney, Timothy Parlatore, said his client wanted to be able to record the interview and said little during the brief session, which was over in less than 15 minutes. Parlatore stated that they intend to challenge the committee before the court.
“Because he’s currently in a general election, we just want some protective measures,” Parlatore said in a phone interview, “to prevent them from putting out a false or misleading quote that would potentially impact the election.”
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Mastriano was among two individuals expected to speak in private to the committee on Tuesday, according to someone familiar with the situation. The person was not authorized to talk about the details. CNN, among other outlets reported that Mike Pompeo, former Secretary of State, was also in negotiations to give evidence on Tuesday.
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Committee chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson issued the subpoena for Mastriano back in February as the panel intensified its probe of the “fake electors” scheme, seeking documentation from him and others potentially involved and in close contact with Trump.
The committee “is seeking information about efforts to send false slates of electors to Washington and change the outcome of the 2020 election,” Thompson wrote. “We’re seeking records and testimony from former campaign officials and other individuals in various states who we believe have relevant information about the planning and implementation of those plans.”
Mastriano organized two buses from Pennsylvania to deliver the Trump speech. He also had VIP seating at that rally. After the event, Mastriano walked towards the Capitol. Mastriano was scheduled to address the Capitol steps on that afternoon.
Parlatore said Mastriano “knows nothing about any insurrection” and did not witness any violence or see any firearms. Parlatore stated that his client was willing to testify before the panel.
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Mastriano is a former Army officer, who defeated several candidates to be the GOP nominee in Pennsylvania. He has been open to talking to the committee before. Mastriano also spoke with FBI in 2013 and stated that he was not aware of any planned insurrection. His lawyer confirmed this statement.
Mastriano has said he had regular calls with then-President Donald Trump in the months between Trump’s reelection defeat and the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
Mastriano’s lawyer tried to protect him from speaking out about the plan for alternative electors because it was created while Mastriano served as a state senator.
Parlatore said much of Mastriano’s contacts with Trump in the lead-up to Jan. 6 involved Mastriano’s capacity as a state lawmaker — a status that complicates the committee’s efforts to interview him about what the lawyer described as “alternative electors” to the Electoral College.
Parlatore said he planned to file a court action in Washington, D.C., federal court, seeking to have a judge determine if Jan. 6 committee’s makeup and procedures violate House rules.
The committee is working through August, deepening its work after blockbuster public hearings this summer that began to outline its investigation into Trump’s multi-pronged effort to reverse his election loss to Joe Biden and the subsequent storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
The scheme to compile alternative electors emerged as a last-ditch plan by Trump’s team to stop Biden’s victory when Congress met for the typical routine job of certifying the state election results.
Growing from Trump’s false claims of voter fraud, the fake electors strategy relied on having several battleground states that Biden won submit their tally for the defeated Republican president, rather than the Democratic winner, Biden.
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Federal officials issued subpoenas to several individuals from key battleground states in Arizona, Pennsylvania Nevada, Georgia, and any other Republican officials involved in the plan to elect Trump voters earlier this summer.
Prosecutors in Georgia are similarly probing Trump’s attempt to subvert the election results in that state.
The Justice Department has charged more than 800 people in the deadly Capitol riot and is investigating Trump’s actions in the run up and aftermath of the insurrection.
On Jan. 6, at least nine people died in the violence and aftermath. These included a Trump supporter, who was shot and killed by police officers and one officer who also died from injuries sustained later.
ScolforoThis report was made from Harrisburg (Pa.).
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