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Jan. 6 Panel Questions Cipollone on Pardons and Trump’s Election Claims

WASHINGTON — Pat A. Cipollone, who served as White Home counsel for President Donald J. Trump, was requested detailed questions on Friday about pardons, false election fraud claims and the previous president’s stress marketing campaign in opposition to Vice President Mike Pence, in keeping with three individuals acquainted with his testimony earlier than the Home committee investigating the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol.

The panel didn’t press him to both corroborate or contradict the main points of explosive testimony by Cassidy Hutchinson, a former White Home aide who captivated the nation late final month together with her account of an out-of-control president keen to embrace violence and cease at nothing to remain in energy, the individuals stated.

Throughout a roughly eight-hour interview performed behind closed doorways within the O’Neill Home Workplace Constructing, the panel coated among the similar floor it did throughout a casual interview with Mr. Cipollone in April. Within the session on Friday, which came about solely after Mr. Cipollone was served with a subpoena, investigators centered primarily on Mr. Cipollone’s views on the occasions of Jan. 6 and usually didn’t ask about his views of different witnesses’ accounts.

One individual acquainted with Mr. Cipollone’s testimony stated he supplied new info that helped underscore the committee’s view that Mr. Trump was derelict in his duties on Jan. 6. Mr. Cipollone fought in opposition to essentially the most excessive plans to overturn the 2020 election, in keeping with a number of witnesses.

Mr. Cipollone, who has lengthy held that his direct conversations with Mr. Trump is protected by government privilege and attorney-client privilege, invoked sure privileges in declining to reply among the committee’s questions.

The panel recorded Mr. Cipollone on video with potential plans to make use of clips of his testimony at upcoming hearings. Aides have begun strategizing about whether or not and the place to regulate scripts to incorporate key clips, one individual stated. The following listening to is scheduled for Tuesday.

Within the interview, Mr. Cipollone was requested about Mr. Trump’s false claims of a stolen election. The panel has requested related questions of high Justice Division officers, White Home legal professionals and Trump marketing campaign officers, who’ve testified that they didn’t agree with the hassle to overturn the 2020 election.

Mr. Cipollone additionally broke with Mr. Trump in response to questions in regards to the former president’s stress marketing campaign in opposition to Mr. Pence, which included private conferences, a profane cellphone name and even a submit on Twitter attacking the vice chairman as rioters stormed the Capitol pledging to hold him, individuals acquainted with the testimony stated.

Mr. Cipollone’s settlement to sit down for an interview earlier than the panel had prompted hypothesis that his testimony might both buttress or contradict the account of Ms. Hutchinson, who attributed among the most damning statements about Mr. Trump’s conduct to Mr. Cipollone. As an example, she testified that Mr. Cipollone advised her on the morning of Jan. 6 that Mr. Trump’s plan to accompany the mob to the Capitol would trigger Trump officers to be “charged with each crime possible.”

Two individuals acquainted with Mr. Cipollone’s actions that day stated he didn’t recall making that remark to Ms. Hutchinson. These individuals stated the committee was made conscious earlier than the interview that Mr. Cipollone wouldn’t verify that dialog had been he to be requested. He was not requested about that particular assertion on Friday, in keeping with individuals acquainted with the questions.

“Why are Pat Cipollone & his legal professionals letting the J6 Committee get away with suborning Cassidy Hutchinson’s perjury?” Mr. Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., who has additionally testified earlier than the panel, wrote on Twitter on Saturday. “Solely cowards let the Left bully them into sitting quietly as an alternative of talking up and telling the reality. Cease hiding within the background, Pat. Develop a backbone & go on document.”

Mr. Cipollone was requested, nonetheless, about conversations through which presidential pardons had been mentioned.

Mrs. Hutchinson has testified that on Jan. 7, the day after the assault on the Capitol, Mr. Trump needed to vow pardons for these concerned within the assault, however Mr. Cipollone argued to take away language making such a promise from remarks that the president was to ship.

She has additionally testified that members of Congress and others near Mr. Trump sought pardons after the violence of Jan. 6.

An adviser to Mr. Cipollone declined to touch upon his look earlier than the panel.

“He was candid with the committee,” Consultant Zoe Lofgren, Democrat of California and a member of the panel, stated on CNN on Friday. “He was cautious in his solutions, and I imagine that he was trustworthy in his solutions.”

She added, “We gained some extra perception into the precise day, Jan. 6.”

Mrs. Lofgren stated Mr. Cipollone didn’t contradict different witnesses. “There have been issues that he won’t be current for or in some circumstances couldn’t recall with precision,” she stated.

Mr. Cipollone’s testimony got here after he reached a deal to testify earlier than the panel, which had pressed him for weeks to cooperate and issued him a subpoena final month.

Mr. Cipollone was a witness to key moments in Mr. Trump’s push to overturn the election outcomes, together with discussions about sending false letters to state officers about election fraud and seizing voting machines. He was additionally in direct contact with Mr. Trump on Jan. 6 as rioters stormed the Capitol.

Mr. Trump has railed in opposition to Mr. Cipollone’s cooperation. On Thursday, he posted on his social media platform, Reality Social: “Why would a future President of the US wish to have candid and necessary conversations along with his White Home Counsel if he thought there was even a small likelihood that this individual, basically performing as a ‘lawyer’ for the Nation, could sometime be introduced earlier than a partisan and brazenly hostile Committee in Congress.”

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