The Jan. 6 Committee now appears to be looking into former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale, with Parscale telling The Daily Beast late Wednesday night the committee investigating the attack on the Capitol had subpoenaed his phone records from November through January.
Parscale said he had received a notice from his phone carrier earlier in the day and “just agreed.”
“I had nothing to do with Jan. 6,” said Parscale, who has not played an active role in the campaign since a month before the election. The Guardian reported in September that the committee was considering a subpoena for Parscale’s communications.
“I have zero to hide,” he said.
Asked about the prospect of testifying, Parscale told The Daily Beast, “All of this makes me think they want me to turn on him.” The “him” in that statement would be former President Donald Trump, Parscale’s boss for nearly two-and-a-half years. Asked whether he would appear if asked to testify, he did not reply.
The Daily Beast has not seen a copy of the subpoena, and a spokesperson for the select committee would not provide comment.
Parscale fell out of Trump’s favor over the spring and summer of 2020, amid personality clashes and behind-the-scenes maneuvering among other top Trumpworld figures. Trump demoted him in July, and cut the relationship off entirely in late September, after Parscale went through what appeared to be a personal crisis. His wife had called law enforcement to report that Parscale appeared unstable, and was alone in the house with a loaded gun; Parscale was medically detained, but not charged.
Despite his distance from the campaign after the election, Parscale admitted in a Fox News interview last December that he had long known about a Trump campaign plan to stoke unfounded fears about “rampant voter fraud” in the 2020 election. In fact, Parscale said, he was a founding architect of the scheme, which he claimed was a well-funded public relations and legal operation with the Republican National Committee, involving “lawyers everywhere.”
“In April of 2019, I sat down with my team, and I said, let’s come up with the biggest Election Day operation ever, because voter fraud is going to be rampant,” he said in the interview, adding that “if it’s not going to be rampant, everyone’s going to think it’s rampant. Or they’re going to game it.”
Trump’s former data guru told Fox that the proposal was the “largest budget ever of Election Day operations, in partnership with the RNC.” They would “have lawyers everywhere, file suits beforehand, protect beforehand,” Parscale said. He continued that the plan “fell apart” between last July, when he left, and Election Day. “And that’s a question. I don’t know exactly what the answer is. But, from everything I’m hearing, it did not occur,” Parscale claimed.
There is, of course, ample evidence that a stunningly similar plan did occur. Trump and his surrogates sowed baseless fears of election fraud among his supporters, starting months before the election, and a number of Republican lawyers filed state-level lawsuits ahead of Nov. 3, challenging new voting regulations to accommodate COVID-19.
But at some point Parscale’s planned barrage shifted focus to a coordinated effort to challenge the results. And the man who replaced Parscale, Bill Stepien, appears far more involved in that effort.
Stepien was subpoenaed by the committee in early November, and his testimony was slated for this past Monday. However, his appearance was reportedly delayed, because he had been “engaging with the committee,” CNN reported.
It was Stepien, not Parscale, who steered the campaign from July through January, when Trump schemed to overturn the results and berated the nation with false accusations of fraud. The text of the subpoena, which the committee released, noted that Stepien had “supervised the conversion of the Trump presidential campaign to an effort focused on ‘Stop the Steal’ messaging and related fundraising.”
The Stepien subpoena was part of a blitz of summons targeting Trump campaign aides: former senior adviser Jason Miller, who stayed on with Trump after he departed the White House; former national executive assistant on the 2020 campaign, Angela McCallum; and Ret. Gen. Mike Flynn, who upon getting fired from the Trump White House in 2017 descended into a conspiracy theory-riddled world, spinning false and bizarre election fraud theories which ultimately carried him back into the White House as an informal adviser in late December.
The day after those subpoenas went out, the select committee issued another round. That list included Trump confidant and former campaign aide Roger Stone, who pushed false claims of election fraud and riled up a D.C. “Stop the Steal” crowd in a Jan. 5 speech; Taylor Budowich, Trump’s top spokesperson and communications director for his Save America leadership PAC; and former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who that fall had simultaneously served the campaign in a blurry and nominally “volunteer” capacity.
However, Parscale would appear to stand out from that group. He and the campaign had reportedly kept a mutual distance during those months, while Parscale focused on mending his private life and building out a political digital marketing conglomerate.
Parscale didn’t participate in any events surrounding Jan. 6, and he was among the first of Trump’s inner circle to call publicly for an end to the riot. At 3:22 p.m. on Jan. 6, after a Capitol Police officer had shot and killed Ashli Babbitt, Parscale tweeted, “This is not MAGA. We are not ANTIFA and the left. We should do it the correct way, leave the Capital and Stop!”
He continued: “The world is laughing at us. Live to fight in elections in the future. Save this country by growing our base and winning elections.”
Earlier that morning, a few minutes before Trump took the stage to speak at the Ellipse, Parscale had posted another tweet.
“It is more important than ever to protect the 2nd amendment,” he wrote. “Democrats will come for our constitutional rights. Excited to join @2AFDN in the fight to protect our 2nd amendment.” Parscale linked out to a press release from that morning, announcing his digital marketing partnership with the Second Amendment Foundation.