The Justice Department’s investigation into the Trump administration’s involvement in trying to overturn the 2020 election results just heated up. Former White House counsel Pat Cipollone has just been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury.
In a story first reported by ABC News, sources told the outlet that attorneys for Cipollone are negotiating their client’s appearance and addressing concerns about executive privilege protections.
The former Trump White House official has already been cooperating with the House Select Committee’s investigation into events leading up to – and including the day of – the Capitol riot. Cipollone has spent hours giving closed-door testimony that the panel showed clips of during two of the most recent public hearings, and the former White House attorney was adamant that he wanted then-President Trump to put an end to the violent assault on the nation’s capital.
“I was pretty clear there needed to be an immediate and forceful response, statement, public statement, that people need to leave the Capitol now,” Cipollone said.
Cipollone was also present at the December 18, 2020, Oval Office meeting with Trump attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell — which has been described as “unhinged” — where it was suggested that Powell be named as special counsel to investigate election fraud and that the Defense Department seize voting machines. These are suggestions that Cipollone said he “vehemently opposed.”
“I remember the three of them were really sort of forcefully attacking me verbally,” Cipollone said in a videotaped deposition after he was subpoenaed following Hutchinson’s testimony.
Two top aides to former Vice President Mike Pence testified before the grand jury in July. Pence attorney Greg Jacob and the Vice President’s chief of staff Marc Short detailed the pressure campaign by Trump allies to intimidate Pence into illegally overturning the electoral votes in a clear violation of the Electoral Count Act.
Pat Cipollone was a central figure in the public testimony of former senior White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson. Assistant to then-chief of staff Mark Meadows, Hutchinson recalled several encounters between Cipollone and members of Trump’s inner circle on January 6.
“We’re going to get charged with every crime imaginable if we make that movement happen,” Hutchinson quoted Cipollone as telling her.
Executive privilege or not, the subpoenaing of a key White House official present during Trump’s attempt to subvert democracy and cling on to power is a sign that the Justice Department is not shying away from its commitment and its oath to hold accountable all enemies – foreign and domestic – who would seek to destroy this country and its founding principles.
Original reporting by Pamela Brown at CNN.
Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick.
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