WASHINGTON — The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on Capitol Hill issued a subpoena Wednesday for the testimony of Pat A. Cipollone, the White House attorney for President Donald J. Trump, who has repeatedly fought against the extreme plans to nullify the 2020 election after he resisted publicly testifying.
In a statement accompanying the subpoena, committee leaders said they were seeking Cipollone’s testimony because investigators needed to “hear him officially, as other former White House aides have done in other congressional investigations.”
The committee said it was seeking information on Mr. Trump’s efforts to nullify the 2020 election and his involvement in plans to submit bogus voter lists to Congress and interfere with the Justice Department.
The subpoena of a White House lawyer, an unusual step for a congressional committee, sent a clear signal of the aggressive tactics the panel is willing to use to try to force cooperation even from the former top White House lawyer, who could most likely summon the lawyer. -Customer privilege in response to many questions. But the testimony of Cipollone, who participated in key conversations on January 6 and during Trump’s efforts to nullify the election, and is known to have doubted the legality of many of those plans, could prove important.
On occasion, the committee has used the leverage that a subpoena creates to force witnesses to negotiate a settlement for their cooperation.
“Any concerns Mr. Cipollone has about the institutional prerogatives of the position he previously held are clearly outweighed by the need for his testimony,” Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Mississippi, and Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Mississippi, said in a statement. Wyoming.
An attorney familiar with Mr. Cipollone’s deliberations, who was not authorized to speak for the record, said the subpoena was necessary before the former White House counsel could consider transcribed testimony before the committee, and that Mr. Cipollone would now assess matters of privilege. as appropriate.
In April, Mr. Cipollone and Patrick F. Philbin, who was his deputy, met separately with the panelsaid two people familiar with the sessions, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the meetings.
At the time, the two men were not under oath and their interviews were not transcribed. Since then, Cipollone has resisted publicly testifying, despite calls from the committee for him to do so.
“Our committee is certain that Donald Trump does not want Mr. Cipollone to testify here. But we believe the American people deserve to hear Mr. Cipollone personally,” Ms. Cheney announced from the dais at a hearing last week. “He should appear before this committee, and we are working to secure his testimony.”
A a hearing on TuesdayThe committee heard testimony from a former White House aide, Cassidy Hutchinson, who described Mr. Cipollone’s pivotal role during the events of January 6.
“Mark, we have to do something else,” said Mrs. Hutchinson who heard Mr. Cipollone say mark meadows, the White House chief of staff, on January 6 as Trump supporters entered the Capitol. “They are literally asking for the vice president to be hanged.”
Key revelations from the January 6 hearings
“You heard him, Pat,” he said, Mr. Meadows responded. “He thinks Mike deserves it. He doesn’t think they’re doing anything wrong.”
Ms. Hutchinson also testified that Mr. Cipollone objected to suggestions that staff members allow Mr. Trump to join a crowd of his supporters marching on Capitol Hill. “We are going to be charged with every conceivable crime,” Ms. Hutchinson said Mr. Cipollone told her.
Mr. Cipollone was also present during significant moments in the build-up to the assault on Capitol Hill, including key conversations and meetings in which Mr. Trump discussed using the powers of his office to try to overturn the election.
Cipollone, who defended Trump during his first impeachment trial, rejected some of the more extreme plans the president considered. He participated in meetings with Trump allies who were lobbying for the military to seize voting machines and in which Attorney General William P. Barr offered his resignation after clarifying that the Department of Justice had not found any widespread fraud in the 2020 elections.
Cipollone, who was aligned with Barr and a White House lawyer named Eric Herschmann, also tried to persuade Trump to stop making baseless fraud claims. He resisted acting on a plan proposed by Jeffrey Clark, a Justice Department lawyer who had wanted to distribute official letters to state legislatures falsely warning them that the election might have been stolen and urging them to reconsider the certified results.
“That letter that this guy wants to send, that letter is a murder-suicide pact,” Cipollone told Trump, according to testimony the panel received. “It will harm anyone who touches it. And we should have nothing to do with that letter. I never want to see that letter again.”