Former White House attorney Pat Cipollone arrived on Capitol Hill on Friday for a private interview with the Jan. 6 committee about his role in trying to stop then-President Donald Trump from challenging the 2020 presidential election and join the violent mob that besieged the Capitol.
Cipollone had been a wanted witness after bombshell testimony revealed his seemingly desperate and last-ditch efforts to prevent Trump’s actions. The panel was told that it had warned that the defeated president would be charged with “every crime imaginable” if he went to the Capitol on January 6, 2021, trying to prevent the certification of Joe Biden’s election. He was subpoenaed for his testimony.
But the conservative lawyer, once a staunch presidential confidant who defended Trump in his first impeachment trial, had been reluctant to formally appear for a recorded interview. Like other former White House officials, he could claim his advice to the Republican president is inside information he doesn’t want to share.
The panel said Cipollone was “in a unique position to testify” in a letter accompanying the subpoena issued last week.
“Mr. Cipollone has repeatedly raised legal and other concerns regarding President Trump’s activities on January 6 and in the days leading up to it,” President Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said in a statement. that the select committee appreciates Mr. Cipollone’s prior informal engagement in our investigation, the committee needs to hear it formally, as other former White House attorneys have done in other congressional investigations.”
Cipollone’s pivotal role was highlighted during a surprise committee hearing last week when former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson described his repeated efforts to keep Trump from joining the crowd on Capitol Hill.
Hutchinson said Cipollone urged her to persuade her boss, chief of staff Mark Meadows, not to let Trump go to the Capitol.
Hutchinson testified that he was told Trump was furious when he was ultimately blocked by his security team from going to the Capitol that day. The Secret Service disputed parts of her account detailing Trump’s actions when she said he attacked the driver of the presidential motorcade.
Cipollone was also part of a key meeting the Sunday before the Jan. 6 attack with Justice Department officials at the White House threatening to resign if Trump goes ahead with plans to install a new attorney general. interim who would pursue his false allegations of voter fraud. .
Cipollone and his attorney, Michael Purpura, who also worked in Trump’s White House, did not respond to requests for comment.
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