Pennsylvania’s Republican candidate for governor will appear virtually before the House select committee investigating the attack on the US Capitol but is unlikely to provide substantive answers to the committee’s questions, according to his attorney.
Doug Mastriano, who was endorsed by Donald Trump in the governor’s race, has been negotiating with the committee for several weeks over disagreements about his testimony and arrangements for his interview, including whether he would be allowed to record or access the unedited deposition.
“Ultimately, we’ve tried to work out an arrangement with the committee for his testimony in a way that’s not going to be misrepresented,” his attorney Timothy Parlatore told The Independent. “They’re refusing to even discuss it.”
He is scheduled to appear in a virtual testimony at 10am on 9 August, Mr Parlatore confirmed. The appearance may last only five minutes.
Mr Parlatore expressed concern that the committee “takes peoples’ depositions and interviews, edits out small clips of them and releases them out of context” which could be used to damage his client before the general election.
The Pennsylvania state senator was a key figure in the former president’s attempts to challenge and subvert the outcome of the 2020 presidential election in the battleground state, including holding a meeting in a hotel where Mr Trump’s then-attorney Rudy Giulani amplified spurious claims about election fraud.
He was among 10 Republican state senators to call for delaying certification of the Electoral College votes and claimed that the state legislature has the “sole authority” to nominate electors.
Mr Mastriano also spent roughly $3,000 to hire charter buses to bring 100 supporters of Mr Trump to Washington DC on 6 January, 2021.
The committee issued Mr Mastriano a subpoena for documents and testimony on 15 February, alleging that Mr Mastriano participated in the so-called alternate electors strategy despite Joe Biden’s victory in the state.
Following his election in the Republican primary, he agreed to sit for a voluntary interview instead of a compelled deposition, according to Politico.
But in a letter to the committee dated 5 August, Mr Parlatore said the committee now is demanding a compelled deposition, which he argued the committee is not legally able to do.
He argued that the select panel cannot hold compelled depositions because the rules require that a ranking member appointed by the minority party be involved; House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s appointments are not on the committee, though Republican US Rep Liz Cheney is its vice chair.
Mr Parlatore alleged that the committee has a “demonstrated propensity for releasing edited clips of interviews without the requisite context to support a false partisan narrative.”
He suggested instead that he also record the interview himself and only release portions if the panel released clips “that require additional context, so as not to mislead the voters in Pennsylvania.”
“If we cannot agree on a reasonable arrangement for a voluntary interview, then we will have little choice but to go to court and litigate this issue,” Mr Paraltore said.
The House committee declined to comment to The Independent.
Following Mr Mastriano’s victory in the GOP primary, Mr Trump said in a statement that “there is no one in Pennsylvania who has done more, or fought harder, for Election Integrity than State Senator Doug Mastriano … He has revealed the Deceit, Corruption, and outright Theft of the 2020 Presidential Election, and will do something about it.”
Mr Mastriano will face current state Attorney General Josh Shapiro in the November general election.