Stephen R. Castor is a career congressional staffer who will serve as the Republican’s attorney during the impeachment inquiry concerning President Donald Trump and his dealings with Ukraine. Equal to Democratic lawyer Daniel Goldman, he will get at least 45 minutes to question the witnesses during the open hearings which kick off on Wednesday, November 13.
While Castor, 46, has been heavily involved in the closed-door inquiries which have already taken place, this will be the first time he steps out into the national spotlight, as the hearings will be broadcast on every major cable network.
Castor, who earned his law degree from George Washington University, and is originally from Philadelphia, worked in commercial litigation before being hired in 2005 by former Republican House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Tom Davis. Aside from a keynote address at Wayne State University Law School in 2018, Castor has rarely spoken publicly about Trump and his presidency.
Here’s what you need to know about Steve Castor:
1. Castor Has the Support of the Republican Party
Castor, who’s known for working more behind the scenes for the Republican House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which he’s done since 2005, and right-wing congressional members are confident he will do during the impeachment inquiries.
“He has the longest-running institutional knowledge of most anybody on our side of the aisle,” said former Utah Representative Jason Chaffetz, who served as chairman of the Oversight panel from 2015 to 2017, to The Daily Beast. “He’s been through several of these fights in the past. From Tom Davis to Darrell Issa to me to Jim Jordan to Trey Gowdy, he’s always had everybody’s confidence and we are an eclectic group of oversight chairs and ranking members. And the fact that he’s had all of our confidence is saying something.”
2. He Was Known as the ‘GOP’s Get Obama’ Lawyer
Castor was in charge of the Republicans’ probes into President Barack Obama’s administration, including the Internal Revenue Service targeting scandal, and he was the top attorney investigating how U.S. diplomats handled Benghazi, and has become well known for overwhelming officials with demands for answers and documents.
One of his first major investigations was during the George W. Bush administration, where he interrogated the President on their response to Hurricane Katrina. He has been the GOP’s top attorney both when they were in the majority and the minority in the House. Washington-based lawyer, Bob Driscoll, who represents clients before the Oversight Committee said that’s a feather in his cap.
“When you’ve got the experience having done it both ways, you dispatch a little bit of the drama,” Driscoll said. “People who’ve only been on one side tend to act like you’re about to light the Constitution on fire if you take a position they don’t agree with, whereas I think he’s mature enough that he recognizes that the other side isn’t trying to light the Constitution on fire by asserting their constitutional prerogatives.”
3. Castor Has Used the Purported Anonymous Whistleblower’s Name During Depositions
Democrats have accused Republicans of purposely using witness interviews to out the anonymous whistleblower. Senator Rand Paul threatened to subpoena and reveal the identity of the whistleblower, while Donald Trump Jr., tweeted out an article from Breitbart which named the alleged whistleblower.
In a deposition, Steve Castor directly asked Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, who will be testifying during the open hearings, if he’s heard of or had communicated with the alleged whistleblower, and used his name. However, Taylor denied knowing him.
4. Castor Likes To Ask Witnesses The Same Question Multiple Times & Laughed At Witness Fiona Hill During Her Interrogation
Before Castor started working for Congress, he practiced commercial litigation in Philadelphia and Washington D.C. His style of questioning has been described as annoying to witnesses and those representing them. He likes to ask the same questions over and over again, and during the hearings, it’s expected that he will follow a dialogue of questioning that will please Trump.
During the closed-door depositions, Castor has interrogated officials about Burisma, the Ukrainian gas company where Joe Biden‘s son, Hunter Biden, used to serve as a board member. Even after Pentagon Official, Laura Cooper, said, “I have no level of personal knowledge or detail on these,” he continued to ask the same question three more times.
After it was revealed that Fiona Hill’s lawyer, Lee Wolosky, wanted it on the record that Castor laughed in response to Hill being targeted by Alex Jones and Info Wars, he received a lot of ridicule on Twitter.
5. Castor Is Described As Someone Who’s Could’ve Left Congress To Become A Wealthy Lawyer
Chaffetz told the Washington Post of Castor, and his new role of leading the GOP in these hearings, “It’s not in his DNA to ask for something like this. He’s a fairly unassuming guy, but he speaks with authority… He’ll just ask a few simple questions and demonstrate that there’s no there there.”
Former Oversight chairman, Republican representative from California, Darell Issa said, “He’s a very dedicated institutionalist. He’s one of those people you see on the Hill that you know he could have left a long time ago and made a lot of money in any number of places. I did ask him… ‘How do you feel about 11 million people watching you on television?’ And he said, ‘I’m going to look at the witness.'”