The hour will feature highlights from the second public hearing by the House Select Committee on Investigating the January 6th Attack at the United States Capitol. Main witnesses were ex-President Donald Trump’s former inner circle, including campaign manager Bill Stepien, Attorney General William Barr, campaign adviser Jason Miller and his own daughter Ivanka Trump, who all said Trump ignored them on election night in November 2020 when they argued against declaring victory. They described how Trump instead turned to his lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who they said was drunk when he urged Trump to claim he’d won and say the election was being stolen.
This is a hurry transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: The House Select Committee for Investigating the January 6th Attack On the United States Capitol held their second public hearing on Monday. Two more are scheduled this week: Wednesday, at 10 a.m. Eastern, and Thursday, at 1 p.m. Eastern. Democracy Now! Democracynow.org will bring you the hearings live. The Washington Post reports there will likely be eight hearings this month with a possible final hearing in September, just ahead of November’s midterm elections.
Monday’s hearing was briefly delayed when one of the witnesses, former Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, pulled out of testifying live when his wife went into labor. In addition to becoming a father, Stepien is also currently serving as an adviser to the Trump-endorsed congressional candidate running against the committee’s Republican vice chair, Liz Cheney, in Wyoming.
Video testimony was aired Monday of numerous Trump White House insiders saying there was no basis to Donald Trump’s claims the election was stolen. The committee also discussed how Trump used lies to raise $250 Million from his supporters for an election fund that did not exist.
This is part of committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney’s opening remarks.
REP. LIZ CHENEY: First, you will hear firsthand testimony that the president’s campaign advisers urged him to await the counting of votes and not to declare victory on election night. Before the election, Trump knew that many more Biden voters had registered to vote by mail. Trump ignored the advice of his campaign advisors and told his supporters to vote in person. Donald Trump knew that the counting of mail-in ballots from several states would not start until late in the evening and would take multiple days to complete. This was widely reported and expected.
You will also hear from Trump that he rejected the advice of his campaign advisors on election night and instead chose to follow the course recommended to him by Rudy Giuliani, an apparently drunk man. He claimed he won and demanded that the vote count stop. This is to falsely claim that everything was fraudulent. He falsely told the American people that the election was not legitimate — in his words, quote, “a major fraud.” Millions of Americans believed him.
Second, pay close attention to the statements Donald Trump and his legal team repeatedly made about Dominion voter machines, far-fetched conspiracies with a Venezuelan communist who allegedly pulled the strings. This was, quote, “complete nonsense,” as Bill Barr said. President Trump’s own campaign advisers, his Department of Justice and his cybersecurity experts all told him the same thing. Eric Herschmann, White House lawyer, is an example. Many of the Trump team members we interviewed shared his view.
ERIC HERSCHMANN: I thought the Dominion stuff was — I never saw any evidence whatsoever to sustain those allegations.
REP. LIZ CHENEY: And third, as Mike Pence’s staff started to get a sense for what Donald Trump had planned for January 6th, they called the campaign experts to give them a briefing on election fraud and all the other election claims. On January 2nd, the general counsel of the Trump campaign, Matthew Morgan — this is the campaign’s chief lawyer — summarized what the campaign had concluded weeks earlier, that none of the arguments about fraud or anything else could actually change the outcome of the election.
MATTHEW MORGAN: The main topic of discussion was whether fraud, maladministration, abuse and irregularities, if combined and read most favorably to this campaign, would be outcome determinative. 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.
REP. LIZ CHENEY: This was before the attack at the Capitol. The Trump campaign legal team knew that there was no legitimate argument, fraud or irregularities to overturn the election. Yet, President Trump continued with his plans for January 6th.
AMY GOODMAN: That’s January 6th committee vice chair, Republican Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney.
During Monday’s hearing, the committee featured video testimony from the depositions of some of former President Trump’s top campaign staff, including senior adviser Jason Miller and Trump’s own daughter, Ivanka Trump, who was his senior adviser, who all said Trump ignored them on election night in November 2020 when they argued against declaring victory. They described how Trump instead turned to his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who they said was drunk when he urged Trump to claim he’d won and say the election was being stolen. This is Bill Stepien, former Trump campaign manger, in deposition testimony.
INVESTIGATOR: Do you recall Rudy Giuliani visiting the White House on election night, and staying until the early hours of the morning the next day?
BILL STEPIEN: I do.
INVESTIGATOR: What are your memories of when he arrived?
BILL STEPIEN: He — he was — there were — I had heard that he was upstairs, you know, in that aforementioned reception area. He wanted to speak to the president. And it was suggested instead that he’d come talk to several of us down off the Map Room.
INVESTIGATOR: You said that Mr. — you had heard that Mr. Giuliani wanted to talk to the president, and then he was directed your way. Did you talk to Mr. Giuliani, when he directed you? [inaudible] —
BILL STEPIEN: I did. I did.
INVESTIGATOR: Was that a conversation?
BILL STEPIEN: Many conversations were directed towards me. A few of us — myself, Jason Miller, Justin Clark and Mark Meadows — gathered in a room off the Map Room to — to listen to whatever Rudy presumably wanted to say to the president.
INVESTIGATOR: Did you see anyone in the conversation who had had too much alcohol?
BILL STEPIEN: Like Mayor Giuliani.
INVESTIGATOR: Let me know more. What was your observation about his possible intoxication during the discussion about what the president should speak when he addresses the nation on election night?
BILL STEPIEN: The mayor was clearly intoxicated. However, I don’t know the level of his intoxication at the time he spoke to the president.
INVESTIGATOR: Were you part of any discussions with the people I mentioned — Mr. Stepien, Mr. Meadows or anyone else — about whether the president should make any sort of speech on election night?
RUDY GIULIANI: I meant, I spoke with the president. They might have been present. But the president — spoke to the president several times that night.
JASON MILLER: There were suggestions from, I believe it to be Mayor Giuliani, that we declare victory and declare that we have won it outright.
BILL STEPIEN: It was too early to make such calls. Ballots — ballots were still being counted. Ballots would still be counted for several days. It was too early to make such a proclamation.
JASON MILLER: I remember saying that I — to the best of my memory, I was saying that we should not go and declare victory until we had a better sense of the numbers.
INVESTIGATOR: OK. Can you be more specific about that conversation — in particular, what Mayor Giuliani said, your response, and then anybody else in the room’s response?
JASON MILLER: I think, effectively, Mayor Giuliani was saying, “We won it. They’re stealing it from us. Where did all the votes come? We need to go say that we won,” and, essentially, that anyone who didn’t agree with that position was being weak.
AMY GOODMAN: That’s Jason Miller.
INVESTIGATOR: What was your view at the time as to what he should or shouldn’t say?
IVANKA TRUMP: I don’t know that I had a firm view as to what he should say in that circumstance. The results were still being tallied. It was becoming obvious that the race would not go to the polls on election night.
AMY GOODMAN: That was Ivanka. This is Bill Stepien.
BILL STEPIEN: My belief was that votes were still being counted. It’s too early to — to tell, too early to call the race. But, you know, we are proud of the race we run — we ran, and we, you know, think we’re — think we’re in a — in good position, and we’ll have more to say about this, you know, the next day or the next day, whenever we had something to say.
INVESTIGATOR: Did anyone else in the conversation disagree with your message or not?
BILL STEPIEN: Yes.
INVESTIGATOR: Who is that person?
BILL STEPIEN: The president disagreed. I don’t recall the particular words. He thought I was wrong. He told me so, and, you know, that they were going to, you know, go in a — he was going to go in a different direction.
AMY GOODMAN: Bill Stepien, former Trump campaign manger. When we come back, other former members of President Trump’s inner circle, including former Attorney General William Barr. The January 6th committee also revealed how Trump lied about election corruption to raise $250 million from supporters for an election defence fund that didn’t exist. Stay with us.