Former White House counsel Pat Cipollone met for a private interview with the Jan. 6 committee for about eight hours Friday regarding his role in trying to prevent then-President Donald Trump from challenging the 2020 presidential election and joining the crowd that laid siege to the Capitol.
Cipollone, once a staunch presidential confidant who had defended Trump during his first impeachment trial, had been reluctant to appear formally for an on-record interview. Like other former White House officials, it is possible he claimed his counsel to the Republican president as privileged information he was unwilling to share with the committee.
It remained unclear after he left the Capitol Hill building Friday afternoon whether he had remained within those parameters during the hourslong interview.
Cipollone has been a sought-after witness after bombshell testimony suggested last-minute efforts to prevent Trump's actions. The panel was told he warned the defeated president would be charged with “every crime imaginable” if he went to the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, trying to stop the certification of Joe Biden's election. Cipollone was subpoenaed for his testimony.
The panel said Cipollone is “uniquely positioned to testify” in a letter accompanying the subpoena issued last week.
“Mr. Cipollone repeatedly raised legal and other concerns about President Trump’s activities on January 6th and in the days that preceded,” Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., 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.”
Cipollone's central role came into focus during a surprise committee hearing last week when former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson alleged he'd tried to stop Trump from joining the Capitol breach.
Hutchinson said Cipollone urged her to persuade her boss, chief of staff Mark Meadows, not to let Trump go to the Capitol.
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