Pat Cipollone has agreed to provide testimony by this coming Friday to the House committee investigating the Capitol riot, according to a new report in The New York Times. Cipollone was White House counsel in the Trump administration at the time of the Capitol violence last year.
Cipollone was recently subpoenaed by the committee after he was among the prominent subjects of public testimony delivered by ex-Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson. Among other concerning revelations, Hutchinson indicated Cipollone expressed concerns about somebody potentially getting criminally charged in apparent connection to a push by Trump to go to the Capitol on January 6. That plan — for Trump to visit the Capitol — was in the works before January 6 rolled around, but even once the Trump-incited mob descended on the Capitol and the head of the then-president’s Secret Service detail pushed Trump to go back to the White House instead of the Capitol after his January 6 rally, Donald still wanted to head to the Capitol, according to testimony Hutchinson provided.
Cipollone was also a firsthand witness to some of Trump’s reactions to the Capitol violence. Hutchinson recounted a conversation she heard for the panel in which the then-White House counsel said to then-chief of staff Mark Meadows more needed to be done to quell the violence. “I remember Pat saying something to the effect of, Mark, we need to do something more,” Hutchinson told the committee. “They’re literally calling for the vice president to be f’ing hung. And Mark had responded something to the effect of, you heard [Trump], Pat. He thinks Mike deserves it.” Cipollone is not at this point set to testify in public, although his forthcoming interview with the committee will be videotaped and transcribed. According to reporting from the Times on a previous agreement between Trump’s and Cipollone’s teams — along with representatives for Patrick Philbin, who was deputy White House counsel — Cipollone and Philbin appeared before the riot panel back in April for “informal interviews.”
The agreement restricted Cipollone and Philbin from discussing conversations they or others had with Trump himself, “other than one discussion in the Oval Office with [Jeffrey] Clark in a pivotal meeting on Jan. 3, 2021,” the Times said. That meeting appears to be one in which top Justice Department officials pushed back on an idea Trump had to replace then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen with Clark, who was supportive — unlike Rosen — of Trump’s ambitions regarding the election. Rosen was one of the top officials who pushed back on the idea in that January 3 meeting with Trump. Then-acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue was also there. Donoghue indicated in recent public testimony to the riot committee that Cipollone was on department leadership’s side and was sharply opposed to a push from Clark to send letters to officials in states including Georgia raising false claims of potential election fraud.
A letter Clark promoted and wished for Rosen and Donoghue to sign for Georgia leaders claimed the Justice Department “identified significant concerns that may have impacted the outcome of the election in multiple States, including the State of Georgia.” That wasn’t true — no such real-world concerns had been identified.