State Sen. Doug Mastriano, the Republican nominee for governor in Pennsylvania, has a date Tuesday with the congressional committee investigating the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol attack.
Whether he answers questions during that deposition is still an open question.
Mastriano is worried about the impact on his campaign if video recordings of what he has to say are made public in edited clips.
His lawyer, Timothy Parlatore, insists on recording Mastriano’s deposition, scheduled to be done by teleconference Tuesday. The Select Committee rejected that this week.
Parlatore, in an interview with The Inquirer, said Mastriano is concerned about how the committee has previously released short clips of testimony from other witnesses during hearings and on social media.
He also accused the committee of attempting to influence the race for governor in Pennsylvania and other midterm elections around the country.
“This is not a real investigative committee,” Parlatore said. “It’s a campaign apparatus for the Democratic Party.”
Parlatore said he offered to record the session but not make that public unless the committee released clips that Mastriano considered “out of context to present a false impression.” Then, the full recording would be made public so “voters can see the full context and make an informed decision.”
The committee, which had previously refused similar requests, did so again this week.
“They want to maintain sole control of the narrative,” Parlatore said. “I said, ‘Why would you object to this unless you intend to release misleading clips?’ ”
Parlatore’s concerns were laid out in a letter to the committee Friday, first reported by Politico.
Parlatore said Mastriano will show up Tuesday and, if the committee again refuses to allow his attorney to record the session, he will challenge the authority of the committee to subpoena testimony.
That, Parlatore said, could lead to an extended court battle that would likely push Mastriano’s testimony until after the Nov. 8 election.
“The senator wants to go in,” Parlatore said. “He wants to answer their questions. He’s got nothing to hide.”
A spokesperson for the committee chair, U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson (D., Miss.), did not respond to a request for comment Friday.
Former President Donald Trump endorsed Mastriano just before the May Republican primary, citing the Franklin County senator as a “fighter” who opposed the 2020 election results.
The committee subpoenaed Mastriano in February, seeking testimony and documents about his attendance at the Jan. 6 rally for Trump in Washington that devolved into the Capitol insurrection.
State Attorney General Josh Shapiro, the Democratic nominee for governor, sent supporters an email last month calling Mastriano “an insurrectionist” who “actively tried to overturn our democracy.”
The committee also sought information about Mastriano’s “knowledge and participation in an attempt to create an alternate slate of electors” after the election and his communications with Trump about “your postelection activities.”
The New York Times reported last month that Mastriano had been designated as the state’s “point person” in the plot to reverse the outcome of the election, citing Trump campaign email.
Mastriano also called for a full audit of the vote in Pennsylvania 10 days after the 2020 election, and for delaying certification until that was completed.
In June, Mastriano submitted to the committee receipts for $3,354 for buses he rented to bring more than 130 supporters to the Jan. 6 rally, along with a manifest of the passengers. He also submitted a tranche of social media postings he made about the 2020 presidential election.
A leader of the election denial movement in Pennsylvania, Mastriano has said he had been scheduled to speak at a follow-up rally on Jan. 6 that was canceled. He was photographed that day near the steps of the Capitol, beyond police lines.
Mastriano has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing on Jan. 6 or in his actions after the 2020 election. Asked about it during a debate in April, he said there was “no legal issue” of concern.
“I was there to hear my president speak and then I was invited to speak in two locations, exercising my constitutional rights,” Mastriano said. “And shame on the media and the Democrats for painting anyone down there as a villain.”