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Former President Donald Trump’s White Home counsel Pat Cipollone testified earlier than the January 6 House committee behind closed doorways on Friday.
His interview comes over a yr into the committee’s investigation of the circumstances across the January 6, 2021, assault on the USA Capitol and after weeks of televised hearings. In these hearings, witnesses described Cipollone as one of many few figures who repeatedly witnessed Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election with out being a participant in them. Though Cipollone appeared behind closed doorways with the committee in April, that was not a proper deposition.
Cipollone’s testimony could also be linked within the public creativeness with one other former White Home counsel who testified about potential crimes dedicated by a former president — John Dean. In the course of the Watergate hearings, Dean testified towards Richard Nixon and performed an important position in establishing the thirty seventh president’s culpability within the scandal.
It’s unlikely that publicity-adverse Cipollone will observe in Dean’s footsteps, however he might present new particulars on what Trump was doing throughout the assault on the Capitol, and on the political and authorized efforts to reverse Joe Biden’s win.
Who’s Pat Cipollone?
Former senator and two-time Republican presidential main candidate Rick Santorum spoke to Vox about his good pal Cipollone on Friday, and described the previous counsel as “a fairly easy and simple man” who centered on his religion, his household, and his work. The 2 met when their youngsters went to highschool collectively and bonded over their mutual backgrounds.
“He’s a robust Catholic, I’m a robust Catholic,” Santorum mentioned. “He’s an Italian, I’m an Italian, he’s a lawyer, I’m a lawyer. He’s a conservative political particular person, I’m a conservative political particular person.”
Santorum made clear that it doesn’t matter what Cipollone, a father of 10, is like outdoors the office, he believes that Cipollone is a “straight shooter … the lawyer who tells you in a deposition to easily reply the query and nothing extra” and somebody “who will not be solely not all in favour of fame however can be completely joyful to by no means see his identify in print.”
However Cipollone is now going to see his identify in print around the globe. It represents a jarring change from the final time that the previous White Home counsel was the focus in 2019, when he helped lead Trump’s protection in his first impeachment. Then, he crafted a bellicose legal strategy on behalf of his consumer.
Even earlier than his time as Trump’s White Home counsel, which started in 2018, Cipollone was a pillar of Washington’s right-wing legal establishment. He worked for Attorney General Bill Barr in his first stint on the Division of Justice and was in-house counsel for the Knights of Columbus, the distinguished Catholic fraternal group, earlier than changing into a reputation companion at a legislation agency the place he made $6.7 million the yr earlier than he joined the Trump administration.
The College of Chicago Regulation graduate’s ties to conservative circles run so deep that he was even the godfather to distinguished Fox Information persona Laura Ingraham when she transformed to Catholicism. Nevertheless, he comes from a humbler background. The son of an Italian immigrant, Cipollone was born in New York and grew up within the Bronx earlier than graduating from a Catholic highschool in Kentucky after his father’s manufacturing facility job was transferred there.
What the January 6 committee desires to be taught from Pat Cipollone
The committee views the previous White Home counsel as a key witness who was contained in the room with Trump all through his months-long effort to overturn the 2020 election. He may present a firsthand account of conditions different witnesses had secondhand information of, and supply new details about Trump’s habits and actions on January 6.
Cipollone’s deposition comes simply over every week after former White Home aide Cassidy Hutchinson’s surprise testimony earlier than the January 6 committee, and a bit over two weeks after Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), the vice chair of the committee, implored Cipollone to testify on nationwide tv, saying, “Our proof exhibits that Pat Cipollone and his workplace tried to do what was proper. They tried to cease a lot of President Trump’s plans for January 6.”
She went on to say, “We predict the American folks deserve to listen to from Mr. Cipollone personally. He ought to seem earlier than this committee, and we’re working to safe his testimony.” Apparently, her plea was profitable.
The previous White Home counsel has been a fixture in testimony on the televised hearings to this point. Hutchinson testified that Cipollone repeatedly warned Trump that the previous president would face authorized legal responsibility if he went to the Capitol on January 6, and that she heard White Home chief of employees Mark Meadows explicitly inform Cipollone that Trump agreed with the mob chanting “Cling Mike Pence” outdoors the Capitol.
“You heard him, Pat, he thinks Mike deserves it, he doesn’t suppose they’re doing something flawed,” Hutchinson testified Meadows mentioned. Additional, prime Justice Division officers testified at another hearing that Cipollone threatened to resign as effectively if Trump appointed Jeffrey Clark appearing lawyer normal and helped block transition efforts.
However this solely scratches the floor of what Cipollone may know because the White Home’s prime lawyer. The query is just how a lot he’ll share.
Cipollone’s lawyer didn’t reply to a request for remark from Vox and a spokesperson for the January 6 committee declined to remark.