There are plenty of people who are still eager to speak to the Jan. 6 committee, but in all fairness, Pat Cipollone, former Trump White House counsel, is a unique figure of particular interest to investigators.
The Republican attorney has already spoken to the House panel, but it was an informal interview in April that covered a limited amount of ground. Last week, the committee took its interest to a higher level, Subpoena Cipollone†
It was unclear if and how the lawyer would obey. This morning, as NBC News reportedthe answer became clearer.
Pat Cipollone, who was former White House counsel to President Donald Trump, is expected to testify behind closed doors Friday with the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol, said a person familiar with the situation on Wednesday. The interview with Cipollone will be transcribed and videotaped, a person familiar with the case said.
Just in case anyone needs a refresher, we were reminded last week how important this witness is. For example, when former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified, his name came up 18 times†
like us discussed shortly thereafter, based on what we now know, it was Cipollone who did not want Trump to go to the Capitol after his speech at the Ellipse. It was Cipollone who wanted then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to intervene with Trump over the rioters. It was Cipollone who lobbied to keep dangerous lies out of Trump’s comments before the riot.
It was also Cipollone who warned Team Trump not to challenge the election results and even threatened to resign at some point in the post-election process.
There’s no great mystery as to why Jan. 6 researchers want — and think they need — to talk to this man.
It may seem unusual for a White House counsel to give a congressional testimony, but it is by no means unprecedented. Rather, former White House attorney Don McGahn — Cipollone’s predecessor in Donald Trump’s administration — testified before the House Judiciary Committee last year.
What about attorney-client privilege? The legal dynamics are complex, and there are experts who can speak with more authority on this than I can, but because of professional responsibilities, the White House attorney is not the president’s attorney. The counsel’s office represents the interests of the presidency, not the president.
During his tenure, Trump had numerous attorneys representing him and his interests. Cipollone’s job was to represent the presidency as an institution and the interests of the White House.
That’s why Rep. Liz Cheney, Republican Vice Chairman of the Jan. 6 Committee… insubtle in her public and private calls for Cipollone’s testimony.
Now that he’s agreed to answer questions under oath, it’s likely Team Trump’s anxiety levels have reached new and higher levels.