Mastriano is an ally of former President Donald Trump and supported his post-election efforts to challenge the 2020 results in Pennsylvania. Trump and attorney Rudy Giuliani both later backed Mastriano in the competitive Republican gubernatorial primary.
The select committee subpoenaed him for documents and testimony on February 15. Three months later, on May 17, he won the Republican primary. And a few weeks later, he produced a series of documents to the panel. At the time, Mastriano’s lawyer told POLITICO that he and the committee had agreed that the candidate would appear for a voluntary interview instead of a forced deposition.
But in the three months that followed, the situation seems to have changed. Parlatore, the attorney, opened his letter by noting that the committee “now demands” that Mastriano sit for a compelled deposition, rather than a voluntary interview.
He argued that the select panel cannot hold compelled depositions because the rules governing it require the participation of a ranking member appointed by the minority party – and none of the choices of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, n ‘is sitting. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) is the panel’s vice chair, but was nominated by Chair Nancy Pelosi.
Unlike other litigants, Parlatore did not argue that the committee was illegitimate or incapable of issuing lawful subpoenas. Rather, he specifically considered the narrow and technical question of whether depositions can begin given the composition of the committee. Other legal challenges to the subpoenas have all failed.
Parlatore claimed in his letter that this same argument led the committee to allow another of his clients, Giuliani ally Bernie Kerik, to attend a voluntary interview instead of a forced deposition.
Parlatore accused the committee “of a demonstrated propensity to post edited interview clips without the required context to support a false partisan narrative”, and said he feared they would do the same with Mastriano. As a solution, he suggested that he record the session itself and only post portions if the panel posted clips “that require additional context, so as not to mislead Pennsylvania voters.”
Parlatore concluded the letter by raising the prospect of a legal fight.
“If we cannot agree on a reasonable arrangement for a voluntary interview, we will have no choice but to go to court and argue this issue,” he wrote.
A spokesperson for the select committee declined to comment.
Parlatore told POLITICO that Mastriano was concerned about how the interview’s video clips might be edited.
“Senator Mastriano has nothing to hide and is happy to answer questions from the committee, but is concerned that through misleading editing, the committee may attempt to influence the outcome of the 2022 election in the State of Pennsylvania by spreading misinformation,” he said in a statement. . “As long as we can agree on prophylactic measures to prevent such an occurrence, he is happy to carry out the voluntary maintenance.”
Civil litigation related to congressional proceedings can take years, as was the case when Trump’s White House attorney Don McGahn resisted testifying publicly about the Russia investigation. The Jan. 6 committee, meanwhile, was aggressive in referring uncooperative witnesses to the Justice Department, though prosecutors only brought charges based on some of those referrals. They notably refused to indict Trump’s White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, and his senior aide, Dan Scavino.
Select committee investigators said Mastriano participated in efforts to recruit so-called surrogate voters in Pennsylvania who would pledge to vote for Trump in the Electoral College even if Biden won the state. Mastriano was also in the crowd outside the Capitol on January 6 as the mob grew increasingly violent and forced their way into the building.
FiveThirtyEight’s polling average shows Mastriano’s Democratic opponent, state Attorney General Josh Shapiro, leading him in the race by about eight points.