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Who is Pat Cipollone, the Trump White House counsel subpoenaed by the January 6 panel?

The select committee has called on Cipollone to testify before the hearing after claims that he was aware of Trump’s attempts to overturn the election.

Trump's former White House counsel subpoenaed by January 6 panel
Alex WongGetty

The House select committee into the January 6 attack on the Capitol has announced that Pat Cipollone, a former White House counsel during the Trump administration, has been subpoenaed to testify.

During the course of the investigation numerous former administration officials have cited Cipollone as a key figure in preventing former President Trump from engaging in anti-democratic actions during the final months of his presidency.

The announcement was made in a statement from Rep. Bennie Thompson, the panel’s chair, and Rep. Liz Cheney, who said that Cipollone is “uniquely positioned to testify” but that he has “declined to cooperate” beyond a closed door interview in April.

Who is Pat Cipollone?

Cipollone served as White House counsel to Trump for the final two years of his presidency, but came from fairly humble beginnings. His father was an Italian immigrant and factory worker and the young Cipollone spent most of his childhood in the New York borough of the Bronx.

He graduated from Fordham University in 1988 with a degree in economics and political philosophy and worked his way up to partner at law firm Kirkland & Ellis. Trump named him his White House counsel in October 2018, succeeding Don McGahn.

His first major action in the Trump White House was as the most visible figure in the impeachment inquiry in Trump, asserting the President’s right to executive authority. He was part of the team of attorneys representing Trump and testified during the Senate impeachment trial.

In the latter days of the Trump presidency, Cipollone reportedly argued against plans to replace US Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen with Jeffrey Clark, who was thought to be more likely to support Trump’s false claims of election fraud.

Clark was reportedly willing to send a letter urging Georgia’s state legislators to void Biden’s legitimate win in the state. According to a report in the Washington Post, a White House official said later: “Pat pretty much saved Rosen’s job that day.”

Why has Cipollone been called to testify?

The catalyst for the subpoena appears to have been the shocking testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. In a surprise additional hearing earlier this week she told the committee that Cipollone had expressed concern about Trump’s plans for January 6, including his intent to use provocative language in his speech at the Ellipse.

Hutchinson said: “Mr. Cipollone and I had a brief private conversation where he said to me, ‘We need to make sure that this doesn’t happen. This would be a legally a terrible idea for us. We’re — we have serious legal concerns if we go up to the Capitol that day.’”

In announcing the subpoena the committee made clear that the suggested that Cipollone had raised questions before the tragic vents of 6 January 2021 warranted further testimony from him.

In the letter the committee wrote: “The Select Committee’s investigation has revealed evidence that Mr. Cipollone repeatedly raised legal and other concerns about President Trump’s activities on January 6th and in the days that preceded.”


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