Jun 29, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Jan. 6 panel subpoenas former White House counsel Pat Cipollone

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The House select committee investigating Jan. 6 on Wednesday subpoenaed former White House counsel Pat Cipollone.

Why it matters: Cipollone has come up frequently in the committee's public hearings this month and is often described as a voice within the administration who warned about the legal risk of former President Trump's efforts to overturn the election.

  • That contemporaneous perspective could be central to the panel's case for Trump's criminal culpability in the Jan. 6 riot and surrounding events.
  • As the hearings have unfolded, Committee vice chair Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) has become increasingly vocal in calling for Cipollone to testify.

What they're saying: Cheney and Chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said in a statement that their probe has "revealed evidence that Mr. Cipollone repeatedly raised legal and other concerns about President Trump’s activities on January 6th and in the days that preceded."

  • According to the subpoena, Cipollone sat for an "informal interview" with the committee on April 13.
  • "In the weeks since, the Select Committee has continued to obtain evidence about which you are uniquely positioned to testify," it said, adding that Cipollone "declined to cooperate with us further" after April 13.
  • Now, Cheney and Thompson said, "the committee needs to hear from him on the record, as other former White House counsels have done in other congressional investigations."

The details: The subpoena says the panel has "credible evidence" Cipollone could provide information on "Trump's awareness of and involvement in activities undertaken to subvert the outcome of the 2020 presidential election," including:

The context: Cipollone has been referenced in all six hearings the committee held this month.

  • Former White House senior advisor Jared Kushner said in closed-door testimony he viewed Cipollone "always" threatening to resign as "whining."
  • Former Attorney General Bill Barr said in a deposition that Cipollone was present at a Nov. 23 meeting at which Barr rejected Trump's fraud claims.
  • Former Trump campaign aide Jason Miller testified that Cipollone thought pro-Trump lawyer John Eastman's idea to have former Vice President Mike Pence reject electors was "nutty," and that he "confronted" Eastman about it.
  • At end of the fourth hearing, Cheney said the panel is "certain that Donald Trump does not want Mr. Cipollone to testify here," adding, "We think the American people deserve to hear from Mr. Cipollone personally."
  • Cipollone was frequently mentioned in testimony during the fifth hearing as an opponent of Trump's efforts to install Jeffrey Clark as acting attorney general – and was cited multiple times by Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) as a witness about meetings on the subject.
  • Former top White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified on Tuesday that Cipollone warned her on Jan. 6, "we're going to get charged with every crime imaginable" if Trump went to the Capitol.

Between the lines: Underpinning Cipollone's hesitation to fully engage with the panel are "serious institutional concerns and privilege issues," according to the New York Times.

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