Mastriano threatens to renege on testifying to Jan. 6 panel

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Mastriano is an ally of former President Donald Trump and supported his post-election efforts to contest the 2020 leads to Pennsylvania. Trump and lawyer Rudy Giuliani each later backed Mastriano within the aggressive Republican gubernatorial major.

The choose committee subpoenaed him for paperwork and testimony on Feb. 15. Three months later, on Could 17, he received the Republican major. And just some weeks after that, he produced a tranche of documents to the panel. On the time, Mastriano’s lawyer instructed POLITICO that he and the committee had agreed the candidate would sit for a voluntary interview as a substitute of a compelled deposition.

However within the three months since then, the state of affairs appears to have modified. Parlatore, the lawyer, opened his letter by noting that the committee is “now demanding” that Mastriano sit for a compelled deposition, relatively than a voluntary interview.

He argued that the choose panel can’t maintain compelled depositions as a result of the principles governing it require the involvement of a rating member appointed by the minority social gathering — and none of Home Minority Chief Kevin McCarthy’s picks are seated. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) is the vice chair of the panel, however she was appointed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Not like different litigants, Parlatore didn’t argue that the committee was illegitimate or incapable of issuing lawful subpoenas. Fairly, he particularly regarded on the slender and technical challenge of whether or not depositions can start given the committee’s composition. Different authorized challenges to committee subpoenas have all failed.

Parlatore asserted in his letter that this similar argument resulted within the committee agreeing to have one other consumer of his, Giuliani ally Bernie Kerik, sit for a voluntary interview as a substitute of a compelled deposition.

Parlatore charged the committee with “a demonstrated propensity for releasing edited clips of interviews with out the requisite context to assist a false partisan narrative,” and stated he fearful they may do the identical to Mastriano. As an answer, he recommended that he additionally document the session himself and solely launch parts if the panel launched clips “that require further context, in order to not mislead the voters in Pennsylvania.”

Parlatore concluded the letter by elevating the prospect of a authorized combat.

“If we can’t agree on an inexpensive association for a voluntary interview, then we can have little alternative however to go to courtroom and litigate this challenge,” he wrote.

A spokesperson for the choose committee declined to remark.

Parlatore instructed POLITICO that Mastriano is fearful about the best way video clips from the interview might be edited.

“Senator Mastriano has nothing to cover and is completely happy to reply the committee’s questions, however is anxious that by misleading enhancing, the committee may try to affect the result of the 2022 Pennsylvania state election by the dissemination of disinformation,” he stated in a press release. “So long as we are able to comply with prophylactic measures to forestall such an incidence, he’s completely happy to proceed with the voluntary interview.”

Civil litigation associated to congressional proceedings can take years, as was the case when Trump White Home Counsel Don McGahn resisted publicly testifying in regards to the Russia probe. The Jan. 6 committee, in the meantime, has been aggressive in referring uncooperative witnesses to the Justice Division, although prosecutors have solely introduced costs based mostly on a few of these referrals. They’ve notably declined to cost Trump’s White Home chief of employees Mark Meadows and shut senior aide Dan Scavino.

Choose committee investigators have said Mastriano participated in efforts to recruit so-called alternate electors in Pennsylvania who would decide to voting for Trump within the electoral school despite the fact that Biden received the state. Mastriano was additionally in the crowd outdoors the Capitol on Jan. 6 because the mob turned more and more violent and compelled its manner into the constructing.

FiveThirtyEight’s polling average reveals Mastriano’s Democratic opponent, state Lawyer Basic Josh Shapiro, main him within the race by about eight factors.

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