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

WASHINGTON — Pat A. Cipollone, who served as White House 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 response to three folks accustomed to his testimony earlier than the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol.

The panel didn’t press him to both corroborate or contradict the small print of explosive testimony by Cassidy Hutchinson, a former White House aide who captivated the nation late final month along with her account of an out-of-control president prepared to embrace violence and cease at nothing to remain in energy, the folks mentioned.

During a roughly eight-hour interview carried out behind closed doorways within the O’Neill House Office Building, the panel coated a few of the identical floor it did throughout an off-the-cuff interview with Mr. Cipollone in April. In the session on Friday, which happened solely after Mr. Cipollone was (*6*), investigators centered primarily on Mr. Cipollone’s views on the occasions of Jan. 6 and typically didn’t ask about his views of different witnesses’ accounts.

One individual accustomed to Mr. Cipollone’s testimony mentioned he supplied new data that helped underscore the committee’s view that Mr. Trump was derelict in his duties on Jan. 6. Mr. Cipollone fought in opposition to probably the most excessive plans to overturn the 2020 election, in response to a number of witnesses.

Mr. Cipollone, who has lengthy held that his direct conversations with Mr. Trump are protected by govt privilege and attorney-client privilege, invoked sure privileges in declining to reply a few of 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 mentioned. The subsequent listening to is scheduled for Tuesday.

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

Mr. Cipollone additionally broke with Mr. Trump in response to questions concerning the former president’s pressure campaign against Mr. Pence, which included private conferences, a profane cellphone name and even a put up on Twitter attacking the vp as rioters stormed the Capitol pledging to hold him, folks accustomed to the testimony mentioned.

Mr. Cipollone’s settlement to take a seat for an interview earlier than the panel had prompted hypothesis that his testimony may both buttress or contradict the account of Ms. Hutchinson, who attributed a few of the most damning statements about Mr. Trump’s habits to Mr. Cipollone. For occasion, she testified that Mr. Cipollone informed 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 every crime imaginable.”

Two folks accustomed to Mr. Cipollone’s actions that day mentioned he didn’t recall making that remark to Ms. Hutchinson. Those folks mentioned the committee was made conscious earlier than the interview that Mr. Cipollone wouldn’t verify that dialog have been he to be requested. He was not requested about that particular assertion on Friday, in response to folks accustomed to the questions.

“Why are Pat Cipollone & his lawyers 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. “Only cowards let the Left bully them into sitting quietly instead of speaking up and telling the truth. Stop hiding on background, Pat. Grow a spine & go on record.”

Mr. Cipollone was requested, nonetheless, about conversations wherein presidential pardons have been mentioned.

Ms. Hutchinson has testified that on Jan. 7, the day after the assault on the Capitol, Mr. Trump wished 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 remark on his look earlier than the panel.

“He was candid with the committee,” Representative Zoe Lofgren, Democrat of California and a member of the panel, mentioned on CNN on Friday. “He was careful in his answers, and I believe that he was honest in his answers.”

She added, “We gained some additional insight into the actual day, Jan. 6.”

Ms. Lofgren mentioned Mr. Cipollone didn’t contradict different witnesses. “There were things that he might not be present for or in some cases could not recall with precision,” she mentioned.

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, Truth Social: “Why would a future President of the United States 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.”

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