Former Trump White House lawyer Pat Cipollone, who testified to the House committee investigating the Capitol riot last week, left Trump’s lies in tatters with his testimony.
Cipollone testified he agreed there was no evidence of election fraud that would’ve altered the outcome of the 2020 presidential race in any state. Cipollone also testified that he was of the belief Trump should have conceded the election after the outcome — and the integrity of that outcome — became clear. Conceding the election has no legal weight — Biden is still president, even though Trump never conceded; however, it would’ve been a critical step in tamping down his supporters who eventually rampaged through the Capitol and threatened the lives of police officers and top government officials. “I was the White House counsel. Some of those decisions are political,” Cipollone remarked, when asked about whether Trump should have conceded. “But if your question is, did I believe he should concede the election at a point in time, yes I did.”
The riot investigation panel revealed clips from Cipollone’s testimony at Tuesday afternoon’s public hearing. In another clip, Cipollone also indicated he “heard from Mark Meadows” — the then-president’s chief of staff — that Trump would eventually make what the questioner referred to as a “graceful exit.” Discussing a particular November 2020 meeting, the committee questioner asked: “Specifically, we understand that Mark Meadows assured both you and Attorney General Barr that the president would eventually agree to a graceful exit. Do you remember Mr. Meadows making any such representation?” To that, Cipollone replied, in part: “Again, without getting into that meeting, I would say that that is a statement and a sentiment that I heard from Mark Meadows.” “It wasn’t a one-time statement,” Cipollone added.
In another clip, Cipollone reiterated his acknowledgement of the lack of evidence for systematic election fraud. “It’s fair to say that I agreed with Attorney General Barr, Attorney General Barr’s conclusion on December 1” regarding the lack of such evidence, Cipollone stated. In yet another clip, Cipollone blasted the notion that was floated in Trump’s circles and pushed to then-Attorney General Bill Barr by Trump himself of having federal authorities seize voting machines. “To have the federal government seize voting machines? That’s a terrible idea for the country,” Cipollone told investigators. “That’s not how we do things in the United States. There’s no legal authority to do that, and there is a way to contest elections.”
Stunningly, in another clip from Cipollone’s testimony, he indicated Trump goon Sidney Powell may have been under the impression she’d actually been appointed to serve as a special counsel overseeing government responses to imaginary fraud. She was potentially of that belief after a high-profile December 18 meeting at the White House. “We were asking one simple question, as a general matter. Where is the evidence?” Cipollone explained of the response he and allies of his had to fraud claims from Powell and others during that meeting. Cipollone characterized the response from Powell and others as showing “a disregard, I would say — a general disregard for the importance of actually backing up what you say with facts.” Watch some of Cipollone below:
Barr told the January 6 committee that Trump should have acknowledged the election was over in mid-December. Cipollone testified that Mark Meadows shared those sentiments. pic.twitter.com/7wlatHJuFO
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 12, 2022
Michael Flynn takes the fifth when asked about the December 18 meeting. Cipollone testifies he pressed Powell and others for evidence of fraud and they didn't have any, showing "a general disregard for the importance of actually backing up what you say with facts" pic.twitter.com/yubg9PEHQm
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 12, 2022