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Doug Mastriano meets with Select Committee investigating Jan. 6, for less than 15 minutes

The state senator's interview Tuesday with the congressional committee investigating the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol was brief, ending in dispute.

Doug Mastriano, the Republican gubernatorial nominee in Pennsylvania, speaking at an event on July 1 at the state Capitol in Harrisburg.
Doug Mastriano, the Republican gubernatorial nominee in Pennsylvania, speaking at an event on July 1 at the state Capitol in Harrisburg.Read moreMarc Levy / AP

State Sen. Doug Mastriano, the Republican nominee for governor in Pennsylvania, had a very brief visit Tuesday with the congressional committee investigating the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

His attorney, Timothy Parlatore, confirmed that Mastriano spent less than 15 minutes speaking to the Jan. 6 committee in a teleconference.

Parlatore, who insisted on being allowed to record Mastriano’s session, contends the committee lacks the legal authority to compel testimony. The committee last week refused to allow the recording.

Parlatore said Mastriano will now take his case to court, challenging the committee’s subpoena.

In seven public hearings this summer, the committee has used short video clips of testimony from witnesses to shape a narrative of what happened before, during, and after Jan. 6.

Mastriano feared similar short clips of his testimony might damage his campaign.

A last-minute legal fight with the committee about subpoena powers could send the issue into a lengthy court challenge, pushing off his testimony until after the Nov. 8 general election.

Mastriano’s attendance at the Jan. 6 rally for former President Donald Trump that preceded the Capitol riot has become a potent political attack for his Democratic opponent, state Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

Shapiro has used that to cast Mastriano as “too dangerous for Pennsylvania.” On Tuesday, he issued a statement calling Mastriano “unfit to be governor.”

“Mastriano continues to show his complete disdain for our democracy, refusing to answer any questions about his efforts to overturn the last election — while he threatens ‘to decertify every voting machine in the state’ if he doesn’t like who wins in 2024,” Shapiro said.

» READ MORE: What we know about Mastriano’s attempts to overturn Trump’s 2020 loss in Pennsylvania

Last week, Parlatore offered to record Tuesday’s session but not make the recording public unless the committee released edited clips of Mastriano. Then, Parlatore said, he would release the full recording so voters could see the testimony in context.

Mastriano has said the Select Committee lacks legal authority to compel his testimony because it does not include a ranking minority member appointed by Republican House leader Kevin McCarthy.

McCarthy balked last year at naming any Republicans to the panel after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi blocked two members of Congress he had selected. The Select Committee does have two Republican members, picked by Pelosi.

Parlatore has called the committee “a campaign apparatus of the Democratic Party” designed to influence midterm elections in Pennsylvania and other states.

The Select Committee in February subpoenaed Mastriano, seeking documents and testimony about his participation “in a plan to arrange for an alternate slate of electors” to support Trump’s claim that he had won a second term and discussions he had with Trump “about your post-election activities.”

The committee also expressed interest in Mastriano’s attendance at Trump’s Jan. 6 rally.

In June, Mastriano submitted receipts for $3,354 for buses he rented to take more than 130 supporters to Washington that day, along with a tranche of social media postings he made about the 2020 presidential election.

Those posts called on his colleagues in the state legislature to stop the certification of the results based on false and debunked fraud claims.

Mastriano’s ties to Jan. 6, fake elector plot

Mastriano, who has insisted he did nothing wrong on Jan. 6, has also said he was invited to speak at a follow-up rally that day that was canceled.

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 called for an audit of ballots 10 days after the 2020 general election and convened a Senate hearing later that month in Gettysburg, where a Trump attorney, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, cited a series of baseless claims about voter fraud.

» READ MORE: Mastriano is deleting his videos from Facebook as he runs for Pa. governor

Mastriano was set to meet with Trump at the White House in the hours after that hearing but had to leave after testing positive for COVID-19 there.

He pushed colleagues to create an alternate set of electors in late November and early December, telling former Trump adviser Steve Bannon during a Nov. 27 podcast: “We’re going to take our power back. We’re going to seat the electors.”

While an alternate slate was developed, Republicans involved have said they did so without Mastriano’s participation in the effort.

Mastriano, who occasionally complains about how people who attended the Jan. 6 rally are cast in the media and by Democrats, said during a primary debate in April that he had “no legal issue” to worry about.

“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.”