Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R), an avowed ally of former President Donald Trump, has agreed to an interview by the House committee investigating the Capitol riot, according to a new report from POLITICO. Mastriano is the current GOP pick for governor in his state — and he was also outside the Capitol on January 6, although he’s not been charged with any criminal acts.
Mastriano has also provided an array of documents to the riot committee, although these submitted materials incorporate a significant amount of public social media posts. Documents in the submission also cover Mastriano’s involvement in setting up bus rides to D.C. for January 6. In an earlier subpoena demanding Mastriano’s cooperation, the riot committee explicitly exempted materials relating to work conducted in his official capacity as a Pennsylvania state Senator. Now, Mastriano lawyer Tim Parlatore extolled the extent of his client’s ostensible cooperation in a statement to POLITICO: “Sen. Mastriano has nothing to hide and has provided all responsive documents and will be sitting for a voluntary interview as the committee has agreed to forego a formal deposition for him,” Parlatore said.
Mastriano’s campaign committee — known as Friends of Doug Mastriano — apparently dished out $3,354 to a charter bus firm in late December 2020, not long before the riot — bus capacity that was apparently used to ferry Trump supporters to D.C. The seats weren’t free — Mastriano advertised spots for sale on Facebook. The push was apparently successful: one of the items provided by Mastriano to the riot panel is an apparent passenger manifest indicating more than 130 tickets for the trip to D.C. were sold.
To be clear, protests that were planned for D.C. on January 6 were not explicitly billed as including plans to storm the Capitol, but events in the city — including, perhaps most prominently, the large rally where Trump spoke — essentially morphed into what happened at the Capitol. The most recent riot defendant to be convicted of all counts by a jury, Timothy Hale-Cusanelli, said at his trial he was under the impression at the time of the riot that Trump would speak at the Capitol. Trump did, in fact, indicate in his speech at that rally that he’d go to the Capitol — somewhere he never actually went that day.
Mastriano’s connections to Trump are multi-faceted. Mastriano was, for instance, involved in efforts to assemble essentially faked electoral votes on the then-president’s behalf, and he also wrote to prominent legislators and the Justice Department in support of Trump’s anti-election crusades. Mastriano also helped put on a November 2020 gathering in Pennsylvania where Rudy Giuliani spoke of supposed evidence of issues with the election. Following Election Day, Giuliani also appeared in-person in other states, such as Georgia — where his claims to state officials are among the topics targeted by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’s criminal investigation into efforts by Trump and his allies to undercut Biden’s election victory in the state.