January 6 Committee Summons Pat Cipollone, Trump’s White House Counsel

WASHINGTON — The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol on Wednesday issued a subpoena for the testimony of Pat A. Cipollone, White House counsel to President Donald J. Trump, who repeatedly fought back against extreme violence. plans to undo the 2020 election after he resisted testifying publicly.

In a statement accompanying the subpoena, committee leaders said they were seeking Mr. Cipollone’s statement because investigators “had to hear from him in the report, as other former White House counsel have done in other congressional investigations.”

The commission said it was seeking information about Mr Trump’s efforts to reverse the 2020 election and his involvement in plans to submit false voter rolls to Congress and interfere with the Justice Department.

The subpoena of White House counsel, a rare move for a congressional committee, sent a clear signal of the aggressive tactics the panel is willing to use to try and coerce even the former top White House attorney, who could most likely invoke an attorney-client privilege in answer to many questions. But the testimony of Mr. Cipollone — who took part in key talks on Jan. 6 and during Mr. Trump’s efforts to reverse the election, and is known to question the legality of many of those plans — could have ramifications. .

The committee has sometimes used the leverage a subpoena creates to force witnesses to negotiate an agreement for their cooperation.

“Any concerns Mr. Cipollone has about the institutional prerogatives of the office he previously held clearly outweigh the need for his testimony,” Mississippi Democrat Bennie Thompson and Wyoming Republican Representative Liz Cheney said. in a statement.

An attorney familiar with the deliberations of Mr. Cipollone, who was not authorized to speak for the record, said the subpoena was necessary before the former White House counsel could consider a transcribed testimony for the committee, and that Mr Cipollone would now judge matters of privilege as appropriate.

In April, Mr. Cipollone and Patrick F. Philbin, his deputy, met with the panel separately, said two people familiar with the sessions, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to make the meetings public.

The two men were not under oath at the time and their interviews were not transcribed. Since then, Mr. Cipollone resists testifying publicly, despite the committee’s calls to do so.

“Our committee is confident that Donald Trump does not want Mr. Cipollone to testify here. But we believe the American people deserve to hear from Mr. Cipollone in person,” Ms Cheney announced from the podium at a hearing last week. “He should appear before this committee and we are working to secure his testimony.”

At a hearing on Tuesday, the committee heard testimony from a former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, who described Mr. Cipollone described during the events of January 6.

“Mark, we need to do something more,” said Ms. Hutchinson, who heard Mr. Cipollone say to the White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, on Jan. 6 as Mr. Trump’s supporters entered the Capitol. “They’re literally calling for the vice president to be hanged.”

“You heard him, Pat,” she said, Mr. Meadows replied. “He thinks Mike deserves it. He doesn’t think they’re doing anything wrong.”

Ms. Hutchinson also testified that Mr. Cipollone objected to suggestions that Mr. Allowing Trump to join a crowd of his supporters marching toward the Capitol. “We’ll be charged with every crime imaginable,” Mrs. Hutchinson said, Mr. Cipollone told her.

Mr. Cipollone was also present at key moments leading up to the storming of the Capitol, including key talks and meetings where Mr. Trump discussed how he would use his office’s powers to try to undo the election.

Mr. Cipollone, who defended Mr. Trump during his first impeachment trial, opposed some of the most extreme plans the president was considering. He attended meetings with Trump allies who urged the military to confiscate voting machines and in which Attorney General William P. Barr tendered his resignation after making clear that the Justice Department had found no widespread fraud in the US election. 2020.

Mr. Cipollone, who was on a par with Mr Barr and a White House attorney named Eric Herschmann, also tried to persuade Mr Trump to stop pursuing unfounded claims of fraud. He opposed carrying out a plan suggested by Jeffrey Clark, a Justice Department attorney who had sought to distribute official letters to state lawmakers falsely warning them that the election may have been stolen and urging them to get the certified reconsider results.

“That letter this man wants to send — that letter is a murder-suicide pact,” Mr Cipollone told Mr Trump, according to testimony the panel has received. “It will damage anyone who touches it. And we must have nothing to do with that letter. I never want to see that letter again.”

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