Conspiracy theorist, election denier, and Trump-endorsed GOP candidate for governor Doug Mastriano walked out of his deposition with the US House committee investigating the US Capitol insurrection after only 15 minutes and without answering any questions.
Pennsylvania’s Republican governor nominee Doug Mastriano appeared for only 15 minutes Tuesday before the Jan. 6 committee investigating the US Capitol insurrection before leaving without answering any questions.
After being subpoenaed in February and skipping his scheduled deposition in March, Mastriano agreed to speak with the committee Tuesday but cut the interview short. He disputed the validity of the committee and the terms of the appearance, his attorney said.
Mastriano’s attorney, Timothy Parlatore, said his client wanted to be able to record the interview and said little during the brief session, which was over in less than 15 minutes. Parlatore said he planned to file a court action in Washington, D.C., federal court, seeking to have a judge determine if the Jan. 6 committee’s makeup and procedures violate House rules.
“Because he’s currently in a general election, we just want some protective measures,” Parlatore said in a phone interview with the Associated Press, “to prevent them from putting out a false or misleading quote that would potentially impact the election.”
Mastriano organized bus trips to the Trump rally that led to the deadly riot in Washington, and he was in regular communication with Donald Trump as the then-president sought to reverse his 2020 election loss to Democrat Joe Biden. He attended the rally and was on Capitol grounds when rioters breached barricades and entered the building.
In a New York Times story last month, Mastriano was identified as the “point person” in the fake elector scheme to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in Pennsylvania.
Last week, Parlatore sent a letter to the committee saying Mastriano would not testify unless it could be recorded.
The committee had been negotiating the terms of Mastriano’s deposition for weeks.
Committee chairman, Rep. Bennie Thompson, issued the subpoena for Mastriano back in February as the panel intensified its probe of the “fake electors” scheme, seeking documentation from him and others potentially involved and in close contact with Trump.
The committee “is seeking information about efforts to send false slates of electors to Washington and change the outcome of the 2020 election,” Thompson wrote. “We’re seeking records and testimony from former campaign officials and other individuals in various states who we believe have relevant information about the planning and implementation of those plans.”
Parlatore said much of Mastriano’s contacts with Trump in the lead-up to Jan. 6 involved Mastriano’s capacity as a state lawmaker — a status that complicates the committee’s efforts to interview him about what the lawyer described as “alternative electors” to the Electoral College.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.