The Democratic National Committee wants to interview former Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus about ballot-security efforts on Election Day after the Democrats questioned former White House press secretary Sean Spicer about his presence on the fifth floor of Trump Tower on the night of the election.
Angelo Genova, a lawyer for the DNC, made the request to depose Priebus as part of the Democrats’ efforts to extend a 35-year-old consent decree prohibiting the RNC from participating in ballot-security operations, according to Politico.
He also asked permission from a federal judge to interview Mike Roman, who ran “election protection” for the Trump campaign, and Brad Parscale, the campaign’s digital director.
Spicer’s deposition stemmed from an interview with GQ Magazine during which he recalled watching the returns from key counties in an “oversized utility room” located on the fifth floor of Trump Tower.
President Trump ran his campaign out of Trump Tower, and the fifth floor was the “nerve center” of the Trump campaign’s ballot-security operation, according to Politico. Sources told Politico that on Election Day, Trump campaign staffers were told to call the room on the fifth floor if they saw any voter fraud occurring at polling places.
Spicer, who served as the RNC’s communications director before joining the White House, said in his deposition he didn’t see signs telling him to stay away from the fifth floor on election night, and said RNC employees were informed not to engage in any activities that could violate the consent decree.
But RNC staffers told Politico there were large signs telling the Republicans to steer clear of the fifth floor.
The consent decree stemmed from the 1981 gubernatorial race in New Jersey, during which Republicans were accused of trying to pressure African-Americans not to vote. The settlement prohibited the RNC from questioning at polling sites whether a voter could cast a ballot.
The settlement was supposed to expire Dec. 1, but Democrats argued Republicans were present for poll-watching efforts at Trump Tower.
A federal judge denied a request from the Democrats to hold hearings, but allowed for Spicer to be deposed.
Genova, the DNC lawyer, said Priebus should now be interviewed based upon “several points” Spicer brought up during his own interview.
“The DNC submits that it should be permitted to question Mr. Priebus to determine whether he had any communications related to ballot-security efforts on Election Day," Genova wrote. "In addition, the DNC seeks to question Mr. Priebus on the material discrepancies noted above between Mr. Spicer’s testimony and POLITICO's reporting. Given that Mr. Priebus was the Chair of the RNC and was present on the fifth floor of Trump Tower on Election Day, he should be able to testify directly to the pertinent points."