House select committee aides said the hearing would scrutinize how Trump embraced false claims of fraud in the 2020 election and how he decided to declare victory in the hours after the election, even though he was told that the numbers didn’t bear it out.
Aides said that the hearing would show how Trump’s team pursued legal challenges in court and lost those cases, and that Trump then chose to ignore the will of the courts and continued to try to overturn the election.
Debunking Trump’s fraud claims
The hearing is the second of seven that the January 6 committee has planned for this month as it lays out a case putting Trump at the center of the efforts to overturn the 2020 election and the violence that unfolded at the Capitol on January 6.
Monday’s hearing is focused on election fraud, and the committee seeks to demonstrate to the public that Trump’s claims that the 2020 election was stolen — which have been embraced by significant share of Republicans, including many GOP candidates running for office this year — are wrong.
“We will reveal information about how the former President’s political apparatus used these lies about fraud about a stolen election to drive fundraising, bringing hundreds of millions of dollars between Election Day 2020 and January 6,” one aide said.
Schmidt and Pak were both in positions to investigate fraud claims after the 2020 election, and neither uncovered evidence of substantial fraud.
Trump aide testifies — but more videos, too
Stepien’s role in the hearing — and what he has to say about election fraud — could be among the most noteworthy moments on Monday. But aides said they also planned to play more video from closed-door interviews they’ve conducted with many in Trump’s orbit.
Those videos proved key in the committee’s opening hearing on Thursday, which previewed how the panel has been told that many of those around Trump knew his claims about election fraud were false.
The panel showed video from closed-door depositions of former Attorney General William Barr saying the fraud claims were “bullshit” and of Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, saying that she respected Barr and “accepted what he was saying” — that there wasn’t significant election fraud.
The Trump campaign’s lead data expert told the President “in pretty blunt terms that he was going to lose,” Trump campaign spokesman Jason Miller told the committee in his deposition that was played during last week’s hearing.
The deposition videos are just snippets of lengthy interviews, and Miller said on Thursday that he had been taken out of context. But Stepien’s appearance shows that the January 6 committee isn’t going to be relying solely on video presentations during the hearings this month.
A more traditional hearing
The first hearing featured two witnesses — a Capitol Police officer and a documentarian who was with extremist groups on January 6 — but their testimony came after a lengthy presentation from committee Chairman Benny Thompson and Cheney that summarized the panel’s findings, as well as a lengthy video showing new footage from the violent attack on the Capitol.
Aides said Monday’s hearing would be a return to a more traditional congressional hearing, with the rest of the committee involved in asking questions and two panels of witnesses.
It’s a pattern that’s likely to continue with the rest of the committee members in future hearings as well, which will examine how Trump and his allies tried to pressure the Justice Department, state legislatures, and his former vice president, Mike Pence, to help try to overturn the election, as well as what the committee says is Trump’s role in inciting the Capitol riot and his failure to respond as the violence was unfolding.
CNN’s Katelyn Polantz contributed to this report.