Ex-Trump campaign manager says he was considered part of ‘team normal’
Former Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien said he was OK with being described as part of “team normal” in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election, as those around Trump privately split over whether they believed the election was stolen.
The comment came on Monday during the second public hearing for the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. The proceedings focused on showing that Trump knew his claims of election fraud were false.
Stepien was slated to testify in person, but dropped out at the last minute because his wife went into labor. The panel, however, showed clips of Stepien’s previous testimony before the committee.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), a key player in Monday’s hearing, introduced the clip of Stepien, telling the public that the ex-campaign manager testified that he was concerned about the public statements being made after the election by Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell.
Stepien told the panel that “two groups” emerged after the election, characterizing them as “my team and Rudy’s team.”
“I didn’t mind being characterized as being part of team normal, as reporters, you know, kind of started to do around that point in time,” he said in the clip.
Stepien ran through his experience working in GOP politics, noting the 25 years and multiple lawmakers he had worked with, adding that he had built up a reputation of honesty and professionalism.
“I didn’t think what was happening was necessarily honest or professional at that point in time. So that led to me stepping away,” he added.
After the clip ended, Lofgren said that “the president did get rid of team normal.”
After the 2020 presidential election was called for President Biden, Giuliani and others began promoting false claims that Trump would have won if not for fraudulent voting. The committee issued Giuliani a subpoena in January, accusing him, among other things, of trying to get state legislators to get on board with overturning the election results.
The panel also said Giuliani kept in touch with Trump and members of Congress to discuss potential ways to alter the election results.
Giuliani’s name came up a number of times throughout Monday’s hearing.
In one clip shown by the panel, former Trump senior campaign adviser Jason Miller testified that Giuliani seemed to be intoxicated on election night in 2020, as he spoke with White House officials and eventually Trump himself.
“I think the mayor was definitely intoxicated, but I do not know his level of intoxication when he spoke with the president, for example,” Miller said in the clip of his deposition, which took place prior to the public hearing.
Miller said Giuliani was encouraging Trump to declare victory on election night, even though all the votes had not yet been counted. Miller and Stepien both said they advised against doing so because of the number of outstanding mail-in ballots.
“There were suggestions by, I believe it was Mayor Giuliani, to go and declare victory and say that we won it outright,” Miller testified.
Trump ultimately went ahead and declared victory that night.