National Security

Jan. 6 hearing details heated meeting on election challenges: ‘What they were proposing, I thought was nuts’

Former White House lawyers and Trump allies recalled a heated Dec. 18, 2020, meeting in which they fought over whether there was an avenue to proceed with election challenges.

In recorded testimony shown as part of a Tuesday hearing by the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, former White House counsel Pat Cipollone recalled pressing Sidney Powell, Michael Flynn and Rudy Giuliani for evidence of their claims of election fraud but getting none in response.

Eric Herschmann, another former White House lawyer, told the committee, “What they were proposing, I thought was nuts.”

Herschmann expressed exasperation at Powell’s claim that dozens of lawsuits on behalf of Trump alleging fraud were dismissed because every single judge involved was “corrupt.”

Powell told the committee that she felt Trump should have fired Cipollone and Herschmann on the spot.

Giuliani, who was also advising Trump at the time, said he felt the White House lawyers were not fighting hard enough for the president.

“You guys are not tough enough,” Giuliani said of his message to the White House lawyers. “You’re a bunch of p——. Excuse the expression. But I’m almost certain that was the word that was used.”

Ultimately, no clear progress was made on next steps, according to those in attendance.

“We landed where we started the meeting. … Sidney Powell was fighting. Mike Flynn was fighting. They were looking for avenues that would result in President Trump remaining President Trump for a second term,” said Derek Lyons, the former White House staff secretary.

Updated at 2:42 p.m.

Tags Jamie Raskin Jan. 6 hearings Pat Cipollone Rudy Giuliani Sidney Powell

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