WASHINGTON ( Associated Press) – Former White House lawyer Pat Cipollone arrived on Capitol Hill on Friday for a private interview with the January 6 committee on his role in preventing then-President Donald Trump from challenging the 2020 presidential election and at the violent mob joins. siege of the Capitol.
Cipollone was a coveted witness after bomb testimony revealed his seemingly desperate and last-ditch efforts to prevent Trump’s actions. The panel was told he had warned that the defeated president would be charged with “every crime imaginable” if he went to the Capitol on January 6, 2021 to try to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s election. He was summoned for his testimony.
But the Conservative lawyer, once a loyal presidential confidant who defended Trump during his first deposition trial, was reluctant to formally appear on record for an interview. Like other former White House officials, he can claim that his advice to the Republican president is privileged information he is not willing to share.
The panel said Cipollone was “uniquely positioned to testify” in a letter accompanying the summons issued last week.
“Mr. Cipollone has repeatedly raised legal and other concerns about President Trump’s activities on January 6 and in the days that preceded him,” said D-Miss Bennie Thompson, chairman, in a statement. “Mr Cipollone’s earlier informal involvement in our inquiry should be heard by the committee on the record, as other former White House lawyers have done in other congressional inquiries.”
Cipollone’s central role came into focus during a surprise committee hearing last week when former White House assistant Cassidy Hutchinson described his repeated efforts to stop Trump from joining the crowd at the Capitol.
Hutchinson said Cipollone encouraged her to persuade her boss, Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, not to let Trump go to the Capitol.
Hutchinson testified that she was told that Trump was furious when he was finally prevented by his security team from going to the Capitol that day. The Secret Service disputed parts of her account outlining Trump’s actions when she said he knocked out the driver in the presidential motorcade.
Cipollone was also part of a key meeting on the Sunday before the January 6 attack with White House Justice Department officials who threatened to resign if Trump continued with plans to install a new acting attorney general who false allegations of voter fraud would continue. .
Cipollone and his attorney, Michael Purpura, who also worked at the Trump White House, did not respond to requests for comment.