National Security

Who is Bill Stepien and why is he testifying on Jan. 6

Donald Trump and Bill Stepien
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Donald Trump and his 2020 campaign manager Bill Stepien.

On Monday, the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol will host its second public hearing and hear additional testimony from witnesses including former Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien.

Stepien, who was subpoenaed by the committee last November, managed the former president’s 2020 reelection campaign.

He is currently an adviser to Harriet Hageman, a Trump-endorsed opponent to Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), according to The New York Times. Cheney is the vice chair of the Jan. 6 committee.

Stepien reportedly “supervised the conversion” within Trump’s campaign around “Stop the Steal” messaging and associated fundraising, the committee said at the time of his subpoena.

That messaging “included the promotion of certain false claims related to voting machines despite an internal campaign memo in which campaign staff determined such claims were false,” the committee added.

But when Stepien took over Trump’s campaign in 2020, he was viewed as an operative with ties to the traditional GOP establishment.

“Bill knows who the boss is, but I also think he’s willing to tell the boss in the appropriate forum when he thinks the boss is making a mistake,” former Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), said in 2020. “His greatest attribute is he knows what he doesn’t know, so he’s willing to ask questions.”

Stepien was one of the closest advisers to former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) until he was sacked in 2014 over the “Bridgegate” scandal, in which the George Washington Bridge connecting New Jersey’s Fort Lee to New York City was reportedly closed off to punish a political opponent. 

Christie said he was “disturbed by the tone and behavior and attitude of callous indifference” in emails from Stepien at the time, adding that it “made me lose my confidence in Bill’s judgment.”

But in 2020, the former governor walked those statements back, praising Stepien as Trump’s new campaign manager.

Stepien attended Rutgers University, where he was an academic all-American hockey player. After that, he worked in ​​state and local Republican campaigns in New Jersey, on former President George W. Bush’s 2004 reelection campaign and on voter turnout programs for the Republican National Committee. 

He also ran field programs for the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) after he secured his presidential nomination in 2008 and for former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. 

Stepien worked for Giuliani alongside Jason Miller, another former Trump strategist. Both Giuliani, who served as Trump’s personal lawyer, and Miller were also subpoenaed by the Jan. 6 committee. 

In addition to Stepien, the Monday morning hearing will include testimony from former Fox News political editor Chris Stirewalt, election attorney Benjamin Ginsberg, former U.S. Attorney BJay Pak and former Philadelphia City Commissioner Al Schmidt, the committee announced on Sunday. 

Tags Bill Stepien Bill Stepien Harriet Hageman Jan 6 attack John McCain Liz Cheney Rudy Giuliani Rudy Giuliani Tom Davis Trump
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