WSKG – Republican state Sen. Doug Mastriano, who is also his party’s nominee governor, has agreed to sit for an interview with the U.S. House committee that’s investigating the January 6th, 2021 attack on the Capitol.
The committee subpoenaed Mastriano for documents and testimony a few months ago – part of its sweeping request for information related to the attack from public officials across the country.
The Franklin County lawmaker is under scrutiny for chartering buses to attend former President Donald Trump’s 2021 rally and being caught on video walking past a breached police barricade with protestors.
New York-based attorney Timothy Parlatore, who is representing Mastriano, sent a letter earlier this week indicating his client would comply with the panel’s requests. The lawyer added he has represented three witnesses that have been called by the House committee, including Mastriano.
“He [Mastriano] has nothing to hide here, and so that’s why we don’t have a problem doing this,” Parlatore said.
Mastriano has turned over mostly public social media posts and videos laying out his stance on the 2020 election. A longtime observer of the panel’s proceedings said that’s a sign the senator won’t talk about much else.
“I’d be reluctant to take too much away from [this] until there’s a full and complete breakdown of what that engagement looks like,” said Jon Lewis of George Washington University’s Program on Extremism. He is tracking the court battles of those charged in connection with the attack and those called before the panel.
“It’s important not to take this broad statement of cooperation at face value,” Lewis added.
Lewis pointed to others the committee has sought, like lawyer John Eastman, who have slowly cooperated with its requests while avoiding certain questions by asserting their 5th Amendment right to avoid incriminating themselves. Neither Mastriano nor his lawyer have signaled they would do the same.
The committee will likely probe everything Mastriano turned over – including records on the bus trip and statements the Republican made in the videos he handed over.
In one clip dated Dec. 16, 2020, Mastriano talks about a slate of presidential electors the GOP had prepared that would certify revised election results if courts had upheld fraud claims. Courts rejected those claims dozens of times in the lead-up to the Jan. 6th attack.
“If that [a favorable court ruling] happens, in the queue, we legally have an alternate slate of electors that can go forth,” he said. “It’s not overturning the election. It’s making sure the election results are factual and based on one legal vote per person.”
The committee did not ask Mastriano to turn over any records or talk about anything he did in his capacity as a state senator. Lewis said the tactic may have helped speed up the lawmaker’s response.
Others who have been subpoenaed, including U.S. Rep. Scott Perry (R, PA-10), have refused or delayed their responses by claiming the House panel is improperly asking sitting lawmakers to testify in an inquiry.
Federal courts have rejected related legal arguments from groups like the Republican National Committee that have tried to paint the House committee as illegitimate or politically-motivated.
Mastriano has not been charged with any crime. He has repeatedly said he did not participate in any violence on January 6th.