The Jan. 6 Commission Hearings will resume at 7AM my time, so, uh… not sure how awake I’ll be or how long I can listen. Mondays, man.
Anyway, the witnesses who will be testifying (that we know about) include:
- Chris Stirewalt, the former Fox News editor who called the Terrible Sand Kingdom of Arizonastan for Biden and was subsequently fired.
- Bill Stepien, Hair Füror’s 2020 Goat Rodeo campaign manager.
We note that Stepien was Chris Christie’s chief of staff fired during Bridgegate and currently he is “advising” Harreit Hagema, who is the Trump-backed candidate aiming to oust committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney in her Wyoming GOP primary. This has all the makings for DRAMA!
Tiger Beat on the Potomac (thanks Charlie!) email thingie gives us the thumbnail on Stepien:
Two big questions:
- Is Stepien a friendly or hostile witness? Some observers have speculated that because he’s appearing under subpoena, Stepien might not be a “friendly witness” for the committee. But as Kyle points out, (1) if he reallydidn’t want to testify, Stepien could have sued to block or at least delay his testimony (as other Trump allies have), and (2) “existence of a subpoena doesn’t necessarily mean a witness is resistant,” as we saw with filmmaker NICK QUESTED’s testimony Thursday.
- What will Stepien reveal? NYT’s Luke Broadwater and Maggie Haberman report that Stepien “was present for key conversations about what the data showed about Mr. Trump’s chances of succeeding in an effort to win swing states, beginning on election night,” and part of a Nov. 7 meeting after a cascade of news outlets called the election for Biden, in which Stepien told “Trump of the exceedingly low odds of success with his challenges.”
Axios morning email thingie:
Former Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien will be the star witness today as the House Jan. 6 committee holds Hearing 2 at 10 a.m. ET.
- A source familiar with Stepien’s thinking tells Jonathan Swan he didn’t want to testify — he was subpoenaed — and could hardly be classified as a “friendly” witness.
Why he matters: The committee has an opportunity to have the top guy from Trump’s presidential campaign potentially reject in public some of the theories that Trump himself still believes — or claims to believe.
- It could be powerful theater for the committee — and puts Stepien in a tough spot. But the committee could get some statements out of him that are inconvenient for Trump.
Our Quatloos are on Stepien being the media’s focus today; they already are narrowing in on him.
The second panel (presumably after a break) TBotP describes as:
— The second panel has three witnesses: (1) BENJAMIN GINSBERG, a renowned Republican election lawyer who helped craft the GOP’s Florida recount strategy in the 2000 election between AL GORE and GEORGE W. BUSH; (2)BJAY PAK, a former U.S. attorney based in north Georgia who was pressured by Trump to pursue bogus election fraud allegations in the state following the 2020 election and resigned in January 2021 after learning Trump intended to fire him; (3)AL SCHMIDT, a former Republican city commissioner in Philadelphia who was on the board that oversaw the city’s elections and whom Trump falsely accused of refusing “to look at the mountain of corruption & dishonesty.”
UPDATE 1: Stepien will no longer testify on Monday because of a family emergency, the committee announced.