The House Select committee lost its “star witness,” former Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, due to a “family emergency” Monday.
The committee delayed its schedule by 30-45 minutes after the announcement that Stepien would not be testifying in Monday’s hearing that is set to focus on former President Donald Trump’s election fraud claims during and after the 2020 presidential election, The Hill reported.
“Due to a family emergency, Mr. William Stepien is unable to testify before the Select Committee this morning,” the committee’s statement read, according to The Hill. “His counsel will appear and make a statement on the record.”
Persons familiar with the matter reported that Stepien’s wife is in labor, The Hill reported.
Am told Stepien’s wife is in labor.
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) June 13, 2022
Stepien had been seen as a major witness in the panel’s hopes to to prove that the former president’s claims on election fraud “set the stage” for the Capitol riot, the outlet reported. He was subpoenaed by the committee in November, citing his involvement in the “Stop the Steal” rallies and claiming there were issues with voting machines. The panel is seeking information on what Trump’s campaign officials were telling the former president about the election results. (RELATED: It Took Only Minutes For Dem To Invoke KKK, Slavery During Jan. 6 Hearing)
He had ordered the campaign to ask “states to delay or deny certification of electoral votes and by sending multiple slates of electoral votes to the United States Congress,” the subpoena said in November, according to The Hill.
“The Select Committee will present evidence that Trump knew he lost the 2020 election but continued to spread false claims of election fraud,” the committee said Monday. “Trump’s false claims set the stage for the violent attack on January 6.”
The Select Committee will present evidence that Trump knew he lost the 2020 election but continued to spread false claims of election fraud.
Trump’s false claims set the stage for the violent attack on January 6. https://t.co/X7gJgyRl5E
— January 6th Committee (@January6thCmte) June 13, 2022
It is unknown if Stepien was considered to be a cooperative witness, the outlet reported.
Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich said the subpoena was politically motivated by Republican Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, who is being challenged by Trump-endorsed Republican candidate Harriet Hageman. Stepien currently serves as her top campaign adviser, according the Associated Press.
The day after a poll was released showing [Liz Cheney] getting destroyed by Trump-endorsed [Hageman], the committee just happened to subpoena Stepien, who is running Harriet’s campaign. This circus is beyond an embarrassment and will forever stain the integrity of congress,” Budowich said on Twitter.
Witnesses scheduled to testify at the hearing include former Fox News political editor Chris Stirewalt, who was laid off by the network after announcing Arizona’s results for then-Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden during the 2020 election. Election attorney Benjamin Ginsberg, former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia BJay Pak, and former Philadelphia city commissioner Al Schmidt will also testify, the AP noted.