U.S. House holds public hearing on Jan. 6, 2021, assault on Capitol

Who is Bill Stepien and why was he called to testify in the Jan. 6 hearings?

Bill Stepien, a former Trump campaign manager, did not testify in person as scheduled June 13 before the House Jan. 6 committee. But according to previously recorded video testimony played by the committee in its second day of hearings, Stepien said he repeatedly told Trump the truth about losing the election and the lack of evidence of voter fraud.

Stepien had to leave Washington after his wife went into labor, the committee announced at the top of the hearing. In his video deposition, he told the committee that he had a different opinion of what should have happened on election night. Stepien thought the Trump campaign should acknowledge votes were still being counted and say it was too early to make a call, he said. Instead, the president made a speech alleging massive voter fraud, without evidence, and claiming he won the election.

READ MORE: Your guide to key players at the Jan. 6 hearings

“It was far too early to be making any calls like that,” Stepien recalled thinking.

As a Trump campaign manager, Stepien was intimately involved with communicating how the former president was faring in states across the country, in the months leading up to Election Day and on election night.

In the days after the election, Stepien told Trump that his chances were “very, very, very bleak,” and said he was frustrated that some of Trump’s advisers were feeding him false information about fraud.

“I didn’t think what was happening was necessarily honest or professional at that point. That led to me stepping away,” Stepien said.

In contrast to those falsely claiming fraud, “I didn’t mind being categorized as being part of team normal,” Stepien said.

The committee said an hour before its second hearing began June 13 that a family emergency prohibited him from participating in additional questioning.

WATCH LIVE: Jan. 6 committee hearing – Day 2

In its subpoena to Stepien, the committee indicated it was particularly interested in Stepien’s involvement in Trump’s “Stop the Steal” campaign that promoted the false claim there were voting machine inaccuracies during the 2020 election, messaging that was repeated by rioters who attacked the Capitol. The campaign built fundraising around those false claims despite internal memos that acknowledged that they were false. The committee also accused the campaign of asking states to delay or deny the election results.

Stepien, a former advisor to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, is currently advising a candidate who is challenging Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, one of Trump’s few Republican critics and also a member of the Jan. 6 committee.

Stepien told reporters in the run-up to the hearing that he was appearing under subpoena. It’s unclear how cooperative he would have been in his responses.

Read more here on the key players and witnesses in the Jan. 6 committee.

This is a developing story and will be updated.