Cipollone, a sought-after witness for the panel, was reported to have expressed concerns about then-President Donald Trump’s actions around January 6 and resisted schemes to overturn the 2020 election….writes Ashok Nilakanthan
Star witness White House counsel to former US President Donald Trump has testified that Trump should have conceded the 2020 election verdict to the winner democrat Joe Biden and he has mostly corroborated and did not deny previous testimonies of witnesses including Cassidy Hutchinson on what happened on the January 6 Capitol Hill’s insurrection.
Cipollone testified in closed doors on Friday before the committee and the video was made public on Tuesday at the crucial hearings of the senate committee which has now lined up another star witness Stephen Bannon, former white house strategist to Trump, media executive and banker, who stands trial for criminal charges on July 18 and he had prior knowledge of January 6 events as he had said in a message on January 5 “all hell is going to break loose tomorrow”.
Former White House counsel Pat Cipollone testified before the January 6 committee on Friday. Rep. Zoe Lofgren said that he “did not contradict” previous witnesses, and the committee had “learned a few things.” The panel subpoenaed Cipollone last week following Cassidy Hutchinson’s bombshell testimony.
Former White House counsel Pat Cipollone “did not contradict” testimony of previous witnesses when he appeared on Friday before the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, Capitol attack, Rep. Zoe Lofgren said.
Lofgren, a Democratic congresswoman and member of the panel, told CNN that the committee had also “learned a few things” after interviewing Cipollone for nearly eight hours. The Congresswoman said details of Cipollone’s testimony would be rolled out in upcoming hearings. She noted that Cipollone appeared voluntarily and said that he answered various questions in a candid, careful, and honest way.
However, she said that just because he did not contradict previous testimony, it did not mean he confirmed all of it, particularly Cassidy Hutchinson’s bombshell testimony. Lofgren said that there were situations in which Cipollone was not present or “couldn’t recall with precision”.
Cipollone, a sought-after witness for the panel, was reported to have expressed concerns about then-President Donald Trump’s actions around January 6 and resisted schemes to overturn the 2020 election.
Cipollone was subpoenaed by the panel last week following Hutchinson’s testimony, after having already spoken with the committee during an informal interview in April.
Hutchinson said in her testimony that Cipollone warned that Trump would be charged with “every crime imaginable” if he went to the Capitol on January 6, 2021, along with thousands of protesters.
It was reported earlier this month that Cipollone was in talks to testify about the riot publicly. He indicated that his testimony revolved around Jeffrey Clark, a former top Justice Department official, who used his position to aid Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election, it is alleged, according to the Business Insider that tracked today’s hearings.
Legal experts previously told Insider’s Camila DeChalus that Cipollone’s first-hand account of whether Trump was aware that he was potentially engaging in criminal activity could strengthen a case against him by the Justice Department. Trump has criticized Cipollone testifying in front of the panel, arguing that it could discourage future presidents from having “candid” conversations with a White House counsel.
“Why would a future President of the US want to have candid and important conversations with his White House Counsel if he thought there was even a small chance that this person, essentially acting as a ‘lawyer’ for the Country, may someday be brought before a partisan and openly hostile Committee in Congress,” Trump wrote on his social-media platform, Truth Social, on Wednesday.
‘Testimony meets expectations’
Congressional Committee Vice Chair and Republican Rep. Liz Cheney has said that Donald Trump’s White House counsel Pat Cipollone’s testimony that the former President should have conceded elections, and that there was no widespread election fraud as claimed by Trump has more or less met the expectations.
The Wyoming Republican, at the center of the party’s ire and fighting for her lone seat from the state to Trump-backed Ms Hagemann, said the recent testimony former White House Counsel Cipollone gave to the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection “met” their expectations. “If you’ve watched these hearings, you’ve heard us call Mr. Cipollone to come forward to testify. He did, and Mr. Cipollone’s testimony met our expectations,” she said during the house select committee’s seventh public hearing.
On queue, the House panel then aired several clips of Cipollone’s sworn testimony at the start of their seventh hearing as part of a push to further show that then-President Donald Trump’s aides disagreed with his push to try to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Cipollone told the January 6 committee that he agreed Trump should concede the 2020 election and that he lost to Democratic nominee Joe Biden fair and square. He also cited Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s floor remarks where he congratulated Biden and said that the process was “done”.
“That would be in line with my thinking on these things,” Cipollone testified.
The committee later played a clip where Cipollone was asked if Trump would need to heed the court rulings that had come down since he lost the 2020 election; Cipollone replied, “Of course, Everybody is obliged to abide by the rules.”
When Cheney was asked whether the former President had “a particular obligation” to ensure US laws are “faithfully executed”, the former White House counsel responded, “That is one of the President’s obligations, correct.”
Legal experts have previously told Business Insider that Cipollone’s testimony could potentially heighten Trump’s legal exposure in several investigations into the former President. His testimony could provide more insight into Trump’s state of mind during the January 6 insurrection and whether he intended to commit a crime.
“The most important and compelling witnesses in a real trial, where the rules of evidence apply, could be people who spoke directly to the former President and can tell a jury what he said and thus what he intended. That could be someone like Pat Cipollone. It could be any number of people. We just don’t yet know,” Chuck Rosenberg, a former federal prosecutor, previously said.
Cipollone’s first-hand account of what Trump did and said on January 6 has become an important part of the January 6 committee’s investigation. It came after former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified that Cipollone expressed concerns about the criminal charges they could face if Trump planned to go to the US Capitol building with his supporters on January 6. During an earlier January 6 committee hearing, Hutchinson recalled Cipollone saying at the time, “We’re going to get charges of every crime imaginable if we make that move”.