Updated Jul 12, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Pat Cipollone describes "unhinged" Dec. 18 White House meeting

Pat Cipollone, who served as White House counsel for President Trump, appears on a video screen above members of the select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Former President Trump's White House counsel Pat Cipollone described a Dec. 18 meeting in the White House as "unhinged" during a clip of a closed-door interview shared by the Jan. 6 select committee during Tuesday's public hearing.

Driving the news: Cipollone testified that an outside group pushing election conspiracy theories, including election lawyer Sidney Powell and Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn, exhibited a "general disregard for backing what you actually say with facts."

  • The meeting, which lasted roughly six hours, included two groups of Trump advisers "trading insults, accusations of disloyalty to the president and even challenges to physically fight," the Jan. 6 committee said on Tuesday.
  • "I looked at him and I said, ‘Who are you?'" Cipollone testified he said to former Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne, who was also in the room.

Details: During the same meeting, Cassidy Hutchinson, a top aide to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, texted White House aide Tony Ornato about who was in attendance, noting Powell and Flynn.

  • "Oh holy hell," Ornato wrote back, the panel revealed in text screenshots.
  • Cipollone also recalled saying that "the idea that the federal government" could seize election voting machines "is a terrible idea." the Jan. 6 committee revealed Tuesday during its seventh public hearing.
  • "I don't understand why we even have to tell you why that's a bad idea, it's a terrible idea for the country," Cipollone recalled telling Powell.

The big picture: Senior DOJ officials testified during the Jan. 6 committee's fifth hearing that former President Trump asked the Justice Department to seize voting machines from state governments as part of his campaign to overturn the 2020 election.

Go deeper: Jan. 6 hearing to focus on Trump allies and extremist groups

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional details throughout.

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