WASHINGTON — The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol on Wednesday issued a subpoena for the testimony of Pat A. Cipollone, the White House attorney for President Donald J. Trump. who has repeatedly retaliated against extreme plans to cancel the 2020 election, after resisting public testimony.
In a statement accompanying the subpoena, committee leaders said they were seeking Mr. Cipollone’s deposition testimony because investigators needed to “hear it officially, like other former House attorneys Blanche have done so in other congressional investigations.”
The committee said it was seeking information about Mr. Trump’s efforts to void the 2020 election and his involvement in plans to submit fake voters lists to Congress and interfere with the Justice Department.
The subpoena of a White House attorney, a rare step for a congressional committee, sent a clear signal of the aggressive tactics the panel is prepared to use in an attempt to coerce even the former best’s cooperation. White House attorney, who could most likely summon an attorney-client privilege in response to many questions. But the testimony of Mr. Cipollone – who participated in key conversations on January 6 and throughout Mr. Trump’s efforts to annul the election, and is known to have doubted the legality of many of these plans – could turn out to be substantial.
The committee sometimes used the leverage created by a subpoena to force witnesses to negotiate an agreement for their cooperation.
“Any concerns Mr. Cipollone has about the institutional prerogatives of the position he previously held are clearly outweighed by the need for his testimony,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi, and Rep. Liz Cheney, Republican of Wyoming. , in a press release.
A lawyer familiar with Mr Cipollone’s deliberations, who was not authorized to speak for the record, said the subpoena was needed before the former White House lawyer could consider transcribed testimony before the committee , and that Mr. Cipollone would now assess questions of privilege. if applicable.
In April, Mr. Cipollone and Patrick F. Philbin, who was his deputy, met separately with the panel, said two people familiar with the sessions, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose the meetings.
At the time, the two men were not under oath, and their interviews were not transcribed. Since then, Mr. Cipollone has resisted testifying publicly, despite calls from the committee that he do so.
“Our committee is certain that Donald Trump does not want Mr. Cipollone to testify here. But we believe the American people deserve to hear from Mr. Cipollone personally,” Ms. Cheney announced from the dais during a hearing last week. “He is expected to appear before this committee, and we are working to obtain his testimony.”
At a hearing on Tuesday, the committee heard testimony from a former White House aide, Cassidy Hutchinson, who described Mr Cipollone’s central role in the events of January 6.
“Mark, we need to do something more,” Ms. Hutchinson said she heard Mr. Cipollone tell Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, on January 6, as Mr. Trump’s supporters entered the Capitol. “They are literally asking for the vice president to be hanged.”
Key revelations from the January 6 hearings
“You heard it, Pat,” she said, Mr Meadows replied. “He thinks Mike deserves it. He doesn’t think they are doing anything wrong.
Ms. Hutchinson also testified that Mr. Cipollone objected to suggestions that staffers would allow Mr. Trump to join a crowd of his supporters marching toward the Capitol. “We are going to be charged with every crime imaginable,” Ms Hutchinson said, Mr Cipollone said.
Mr. Cipollone was also present at important times in the build-up to the Capitol storming, including key conversations and meetings in which Mr. Trump discussed using the powers of his office to attempt to cancel the election.
Mr. Cipollone, who defended Mr. Trump in his first impeachment trial, pushed back against some of the more extreme plans considered by the president. He participated in meetings with Trump allies who lobbied for the military to seize voting machines and in which Attorney General William P. Barr offered his resignation after making it clear that the Justice Department did not found no widespread fraud in the 2020 election.
Mr. Cipollone, who was aligned with Mr. Barr and a lawyer working at the White House named Eric Herschmann, also tried to persuade Mr. Trump to stop pursuing baseless fraud allegations. He balked at following through with a plan proposed by Jeffrey Clark, a Justice Department lawyer who had wanted to distribute official letters to state legislatures falsely alerting them that the election may have been stolen and urging them to reconsider the certified results.
“This letter that this guy wants to send – this letter is a murder-suicide pact,” Mr. Cipollone told Mr. Trump, according to testimony received by the panel. “It will damage anyone who touches it. And we should have nothing to do with this letter. I never want to see that letter again.