Trump shed campaign team for others willing to promote election fraud claims, aides testify

Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Redlands) during a House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th hearing.
Rep. Pete Aguilar, Rep. Pete Aguilar, and Rep. Zoe Lofgren during a House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th hearing last week.
(Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times)

The Jan. 6 House Select Committee presented testimony in video depositions Monday that recounted the skepticism of former President Trump’s stolen election claims among his campaign team, with many on his staff unwilling to perpetuate claims of alleged fraud and distancing themselves from his team due to the statements.

“I think I had conversations with probably all of our counsel who were signed up to assist on election day as they disengaged with the campaign,” said Matthew Morgan, a former Trump campaign lawyer. “The general consensus was that law firms were not comfortable making the arguments that [Trump’s personal attorney] Rudy Giuliani was making publicly.”

As Trump’s campaign team informed him that allegations of voter fraud were false, “he became frustrated, and he replaced his campaign’s legal team,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose), who helped lead the presentation at Monday’s hearing alongside Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Vice Chair Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.).

Former Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, who was slated to be an in-person witness Monday but unable to appear due to a family emergency, corroborated Lofgren’s account stating that Trump “was becoming increasingly unhappy with his team.”

Stepien said he was also personally dissatisfied with the campaign’s new direction, noting that he took over in managing the Trump campaign when it was “structurally and fiscally deficient.”

“I didn’t think what was happening was necessarily honest or professional at the time,” he said. “I didn’t mind being characterized as ‘Team Normal,’” distinguishing himself from the Giuliani wing of the campaign team, which propagated claims of election fraud.

“There was a great deal wrong with the campaign,” Stepien said. “Most of my time was spent fixing the things that could be fixed with 150 days left in the campaign.”

Lofgren said that Trump instead leaned on those willing to spread his claims of voter fraud. The panel played a clip of Giuliani sharing a story on Fox News of alleged election fraud that he said consisted of “100,000 ballots in garbage cans, in wastepaper baskets, in cardboard boxes, in shopping baskets.”


“We can prove every single thing I just said,” Giulani said in the clip.