National Security

Jan. 6 committee subpoenas Pat Cipollone

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol has subpoenaed former White House counsel Pat Cipollone following public pleas for him to testify before the panel. 

“The Select Committee’s investigation has revealed evidence that Mr. Cipollone repeatedly raised legal and other concerns about President Trump’s activities on Jan. 6 and in the days that preceded,” Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Vice Chairwoman Liz Cheney said in a statement. 

“While the Select Committee appreciates Mr. Cipollone’s earlier informal engagement with our investigation, the committee needs to hear from him on the record, as other former White House counsels have done in other congressional investigations.”

“Any concerns Mr. Cipollone has about the institutional prerogatives of the office he previously held are clearly outweighed by the need for his testimony,” they added.

The subpoena follows testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson, a special assistant to Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows, that Cipollone raised legal concerns over former President Trump’s plans to march to the Capitol and that he repeatedly insisted the White House do more as the violent attack was unfolding on Jan. 6. 

Cipollone met with the committee’s investigators in April but did not sit for a formal recorded deposition.

Cipollone would be the second former White House official to testify publicly and is also uniquely positioned to weigh in on the former president’s state of mind and his personal awareness of various schemes to keep him in power.

It’s a detail the panel notes in its subpoena, which references plots to send fake election certificates to Congress and to replace Justice Department leadership in favor of a department attorney willing to forward an investigation into Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud.

Cipollone was among those present in a Jan. 3 meeting in which he and others talked Trump off the idea. His office also pushed back against the false elector scheme as being not legally sound, Hutchinson indicated in a previously released deposition.

“The select committee has continued to obtain evidence about which you are uniquely positioned to testify; unfortunately, however, you have declined to cooperate further,” the panel stated in its subpoena.

“We are left with no choice but to issue you this subpoena.”

Cipollone did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Cheney reasserted her public call for his testimony under oath as recently as Wednesday morning with a tweet, which followed a plea at a hearing last week for the White House lawyer to appear.

Still, the committee may have little recourse if he refuses to comply.

Other Trump aides like Meadows sued the committee, citing executive privilege. While the committee and the House voted to hold him in contempt, the Justice Department has indicated it does not plan to act on the recommendation.

Hutchinson indicated in a quickly scheduled hearing on Tuesday that Cipollone had major concerns about Trump’s plans to march alongside his supporters to the Capitol on Jan 6.

He relayed it could appear Trump was trying to incite a riot, obstruct justice or defraud the electoral count.

“Please make sure we don’t go up to the Capitol, Cassidy,” Hutchinson said, relaying Cipollone’s message to her that morning. “We’re going to get charged with every crime imaginable if we make that movement happen.”

Cipollone also burst into Meadows’s office shortly after rioters entered the Capitol, determined to get some kind of response from Trump.

“He doesn’t want to do anything, Pat,” Meadows said.

“Mark, something needs to be done or people are going to die and the blood is going to be on your effing hands,” Cipollone responded, according to Hutchinson’s testimony.

Updated at 8:07 p.m.

Tags Bennie Thompson House select Jan. 6 committee Jan. 6 Capitol riot Liz Cheney Pat Cipollone Trump
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