Live coverage: Jan. 6 panel slated to hear from former Fox News editor at second hearing
The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol holds its second hearing on Monday morning.
BJay Pak, once a U.S. attorney in Georgia, will speak publicly for the first time since resigning as former President Trump fumed over the Justice Department’s refusal to investigate his baseless allegations of voter fraud. Pak will be joined by conservative election attorney Ben Ginsberg and Al Schmidt, a Republican elections official in Philadelphia who drew Trump’s ire after he refused to say the 2020 election was rigged.
Chris Stirewalt, a former Fox News political editor who was a member of the team at the network that made the decision to call Arizona for now-President Biden on election night 2020, will also testify.
Follow The Hill’s live coverage below:
Barr worried Trump was ‘detached from reality’ in aftermath of 2020 election
Former Attorney General William Barr said he worried in the aftermath of the 2020 election that Trump had become “detached from reality” as Trump made repeated claims about voting fraud.
Barr told the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot in recorded testimony that Trump was making increasingly outlandish claims about rigged voting machines and fraudulent vote dumps that Trump claimed were swinging the 2020 election against him.
“And the statements were made very conclusory, like, ‘These machines were designed to engage in fraud,’ or something to that effect. But I didn’t see any supporting information for it,” Barr said in testimony aired Monday during a public committee hearing.
“And I was somewhat demoralized because I thought, ‘Boy if he really believes this stuff he has lost contact with — he’s become detached from reality, if he really believes this stuff,’” Barr continued.
Barr, in his deposition to the House committee, repeatedly dismissed Trump’s claims of fraud as “bullshit,” “nonsense” and “crazy stuff.” But he told the panel Trump did not show an interest “in what the actual facts were.”
— Brett Samuels
Ex-Fox News editor Stirewalt explains Arizona call
Former Fox News political editor Chris Stirewalt testified on Monday that Trump’s chances of winning the 2020 election after all major networks called the race for Biden were “none.”
Stirewalt was among the individuals at Fox News who decided to call Arizona for Biden, beating the competition and drawing the ire of Trump.
Asked about the decision, which became a controversial moment in the 2020 election, Stirewalt walked the committee through how the Fox News team came to the conclusion that Biden had won the Grand Canyon State. He said all members of the group had to agree on the call before making it public.
Pressed by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) on Trump’s chances of winning the election after Nov. 7, 2020 — the day all major networks declared Biden the winner of the presidential race — Stirewalt said “none,” shaking his head.
He continued, emphasizing that the slim chances of a recount changing the results of the election. He said the outcome in three states needed to flip to hand Trump a victory in the election.
“Remember, he had to do it thrice, he needed three of these states to change. And in order to do that, I mean, you’re at, you’re at an infinite, you’re better off to play the Powerball than to have that come in,” Stirewalt said.
— Mychael Schnell
Miller says Rudy Giuliani was intoxicated on election night 2020
Trump’s former campaign adviser told the House Jan. 6 committee he believed Rudy Giuliani was intoxicated on election night 2020 as he tried to seek an audience with the then-president.
The committee showed clips of testimony from senior Trump campaign officials at the onset of Monday’s hearing, in which they described the atmosphere as early results were being tallied across the country.
Jason Miller, who was a senior campaign adviser at the time, told the select committee Giuliani appeared to be inebriated when he spoke with a group of campaign and White House officials on election night.
“I think the mayor was definitely intoxicated, but I do not know his level of toxic intoxication when he spoke with the president, for example,” Miller said in his taped deposition.
Miller and former Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien testified they had argued against the president declaring victory that night given the number of outstanding mail-in ballots that had yet to be counted across the country. But Miller said Giuliani had been urging Trump to prematurely proclaim victory.
“There were suggestions by I believe it was Mayor Giuliani to go and declare victory and say that we won it outright,” Miller said.
In the early morning hours of Nov. 4, Trump falsely claimed to have won the election based on the ballots that had been counted.
“We’ll be going to the U.S. Supreme Court, we want all voting to stop,” he said in his remarks. “We don’t want them to find any ballots at 4 o’clock in the morning and add them to the list.”
— Harper Neidig
Stepien says he and McCarthy made case to Trump in favor of mail ballots
Former Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) made the case personally to Trump in the summer of 2020 for encouraging voters to vote by mail, Stepien testified.
In a taped deposition played during Monday’s House committee hearing, Stepien told the panel he invited McCarthy to join a meeting with Trump to make the case “for why we believed mail-in balloting, mail-in voting not to be a bad thing for his campaign.”
“But, you know, the president’s mind was made up,” Stepien said.
Stepien said he laid out to Trump that urging voters to only cast their ballot on Election Day was a risky move, and he detailed how the Republican Party and the Trump campaign had a grassroots advantage among volunteers who could increase return rates on mail-in ballots among GOP voters.
The former campaign manager said he and McCarthy “were echoing the same argument. His words echoed mine and vice versa on those two topics.”
A historic number of mail ballots were cast in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump, who himself has voted by mail, spent much of 2020 deriding the concept of mail-in voting and casting doubt on their reliability. For months, Trump suggested mail-in ballots were rife with fraud, despite multiple states using all mail-in voting in their elections and data showing limited instances of fraudulent mail ballots.
The committee sought to make the connection that Trump was told about the benefits of encouraging mail-in ballots for his campaign months before it became a prime target of his claims of widespread fraud.
— Brett Samuels
Cheney plays video of Trump legal team shooting down election arguments
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) opened the Jan. 6 select committee’s second hearing on Monday by playing video of members of former President Trump’s legal team shooting down claims that the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent.
Cheney, the vice chair of the panel, introduced a clip of Matt Morgan, the former general counsel for the Trump campaign, testifying before the committee. In it, Morgan said campaign officials had determined that claims of election fraud would not alter the results of the election.
“What was generally discussed on that topic was whether the fraud, maladministration, abuse or irregularities, if aggregated and read most favorably to the campaign, would that be outcome determinative,” Morgan said.
“And I think everyone’s assessment in the room, at least amongst the staff, Marc Short, myself and Greg Jacob, was that it was not sufficient to be outcome determinative,” he added.
In a second clip introduced by Cheney, former White House lawyer Eric Herschman debunked the conspiracy involving Dominion voting machines.
“I thought the Dominion stuff was, I never saw any evidence whatsoever to sustain those allegations,” Herschman testified.
— Mychael Schell
Thompson not sure if Stepien will appear at a later date
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the chairman of the select committee, said he was “not sure” if former Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien would appear before the committee at a later date.
Stepien was to appear on Monday but had to cancel when his wife went into labor.
— Mychael Schnell
The hearing has been delayed
The Jan. 6 panel was supposed to start its hearing at 10 a.m. — before the surprise news that its big witness, former Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, would not appear because his wife had gone into labor.
The panel said it would begin its hearing late as a result but is expected to get things going around 10:30 a.m.
— Ian Swanson
Former Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien will no longer testify
Former Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien will no longer appear before the House Jan. 6 committee Monday, removing a key witness for the panel as it seeks to show how the campaign forwarded baseless claims of election fraud.
“Due to a family emergency, Mr. William Stepien is unable to testify before the Select Committee this morning. His counsel will appear and make a statement on the record,” the committee said in a statement Monday morning less than an hour before the hearing was set to begin.
Stepien’s wife has gone into labor, a source familiar with the situation told The Hill.
In its advisory, the committee delayed the start of its second day of hearings by “30 to 45 minutes.”
Stepien’s attorney will made a statement in his place.
The former campaign attorney’s absence comes after he told multiple outlets that he was appearing before the panel under subpoena.
— Rebecca Beitsch and Brett Samuels
While you’re waiting for the hearing to begin
The Jan. 6 committee’s second hearing starts at approximately 10:30 a.m. ET. Catch up on The Hill’s latest coverage while you wait:
— The Hill staff