In recorded testimony this morning, former Donald Trump Campaign Manager Bill Stepien likened the notion of illegal votes in Arizona as a “wild claim.”
The testimony appeared to drive – from his 2020 campaign manager no less – a stake into Trump’s claims of a stolen election.
In a deposition heard by the bipartisan committee investigating the Jan. 6th, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol, Stepien said there were reports of thousands of illegal votes in that state and someone had “thrown out that claim to President Trump.”
From NBC News:
“Stepien asked others to look at the claim, and the response he received was that there was nothing to it. The votes, he said, were from overseas, not illegally cast. U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren, who was running that part of the hearing, said Trump was frustrated by the response and replaced the legal team.”
Stepien said he advised Trump not to declare victory on election night 2020 – but that the then-President went ahead and did it anyway.
“It was far too early to be making any calls like that,” Stepien said in videotaped testimony, a portion of which was played Monday. “Ballots were still being counted… it was far too early to be making any proclamation like that.”
Stepien went to work for Trump after leaving the side of then-Governor Chris Christie because of Stepien’s role in the Bridgegate scandal.
The House Committee summoned Stepien – who chose not to appear today amid reports of his wife going into labor – as it pursues evidence that then-President Trump incited a mob of his supporters to march to the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, 2021, to overturn the results of the presidential election, by preventing then-Vice President Mike Pence from certifying the results.