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Ex-Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien will no longer appear before January 6 committee Monday

By Kaitlan Collins, Manu Raju, Jamie Gangel and Kate Sullivan, CNN

Former Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien will no longer appear before the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol on Monday due to a family emergency, the committee announced in a release.

Stepien’s wife went into labor, a source familiar with the matter tells CNN, which led the committee to release him from his subpoena for the day.

In his place, Stepien’s lawyer will appear before the committee and make a statement.

Monday’s hearing will focus on former President Donald Trump’s lies about the 2020 election. Stepien was at the center of Trump’s orbit as he sought to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

The committee will use video clips from Stepien’s earlier testimony on Monday.

A source familiar with the January 6 committee’s plans told CNN it is “disruptive” that Stepien won’t testify on Monday but argued the committee will still be able to make its points. The source said the committee has been preparing for such contingencies and has been pulling such video clips for all witnesses in case an emergency arises or witnesses were unable to testify due to a Covid complication.

Stepien is unique from other Trump-world witnesses who have testified before the committee because it is more difficult for Stepien to claim his testimony is protected by executive privilege since he worked for the campaign, not the White House. Stepien can speak first-hand about what the former President said about voter fraud, in his own words, compared to others, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Stepien was expected to be critical of former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani on Monday — testifying his role in spreading unfounded claims of voter fraud that were embraced by the former President even after he was told they were not viable, the source said. His testimony will add to the notion that everyone knew the election had been lost, the source said.

“They are using Trump voices to hang Trump,” the source added, referring to the committee.

Stepien was Trump’s final campaign manager in 2020 and was involved in critical meetings about the results on election night. In the days after the election, Stepien told reporters the Trump campaign was “confident in our math” that Trump would ultimately win.

He was not eager to testify but did not want to defy a subpoena, according to a source familiar with his thinking.

Stepien is currently advising the campaign of Trump-endorsed Harriet Hageman, who is challenging Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming in the state’s GOP primary. Cheney is a vocal Trump critic who voted to impeach him and is the vice chairwoman of the January 6 committee. Stepien’s firm has received more than $190,000 from Hageman’s campaign this election cycle for strategy and fundraising consulting and video production, according to federal election filings.

Former Fox digital politics editor Chris Stirewalt is also among those expected to testify on Monday. Stirewalt’s decision to call Arizona for Joe Biden on election night infuriated the Trump campaign and conservative Fox hosts.

A second panel of witnesses testifying Monday includes former US attorney for the North District of Georgia BJay Pak, who was pressured to embrace Trump’s fraud claims and resigned; former Philadelphia city commissioner Al Schmidt, who debunked false claims about election fraud in Philadelphia; and conservative election attorney Ben Ginsberg, who is expected to speak about the failed court cases pursued by Trump’s team.

™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Jeremy Herb, Zachary Cohen and Annie Grayer contributed to this report.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

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