Former White House counsel Pat Cipollone’s meeting with the select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection yielded “relevant information” for the panel, though he claimed privilege in some areas, one committee member said in an interview airing Sunday.
“He claimed privilege on conversations that related to the advice he provided directly to the president or conversations with the president,” Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.) said in an interview with “Meet the Press.” “But I think we still got a lot of relevant information from him, and it provides us another perspective on what was happening in the White House in those weeks running up to January 6th that were so critically important.”
Cipollone met with the panel for more than eight hours on Friday. He reached an agreement to sit for a transcribed interview after the committee subpoenaed late last month.
“I think there was a lot of information that fit into this bigger puzzle that we’re putting together,” Murphy said. “And we have different voices telling about the same meeting, and more or less telling the same narrative.”
“The overall message that we have been gathering out of all of these witnesses is that the president knew he had lost the election, or that his advisers had told him he had lost the election, and that he was casting about for ways in which he could retain power and remain the president,” she added.
As the top White House lawyer, Cipollone could be a key source of information on former President Donald Trump and his allies’ attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. In her bombshell public testimony last month, for instance, former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson said Cipollone warned of legal culpability if Trump went to the Capitol with his supporters on Jan. 6.
Murphy said the select committee was able to get Cipollone “to confirm the concerns that he did have” about efforts to subvert the election.
“He made very clear that he took the side of many of the folks that you’ve already seen come before the committee, and was asserting that there wasn’t enough evidence to prove that the election was not free and fair,” Murphy said.
Asked if Cipollone’s testimony will be featured publicly this week, Murphy said, “I imagine that you will be hearing things from Mr. Cipollone, but also from others that were in the White House.”
The panel is slated to hold a hearing Tuesday on the convergences between Trump world and extremist groups such as the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers surrounding Jan. 6. Another hearing is possible this week, but has not been announced by the committee.
Murphy is expected to lead Tuesday’s hearing along with Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.). The Maryland Democrat said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that they plan to highlight a Trump tweet from December 2020 proactively calling on people to join the Jan. 6 protests at the Capitol. Raskin noted the tweet came just hours after the the president met with allies at the White House about schemes to overturn the election.
“People will hear the story of that tweet and then the explosive effects it had in Trump world and specifically among the domestic violence extremist groups, the most dangerous political extremists in the country at that point,” Raskin said.
Raskin said they also planned to discuss the “fundamental importance” of a Dec. 18, 2020, White House meeting where Trump’s allies “came in to try to urge several new courses of action, including the seizure of voting machines around the country.”
Trump’s allies, such as Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani, were part of the discussion, Raskin said, while “against this ‘team crazy’ were an inside group of lawyers who essentially wanted the president at that point to acknowledge that he had lost the election and were far more willing to accept the reality of his defeat.” The select panel didn’t expect to have witnesses who were at the meeting speaking publicly about it on Tuesday, Raskin said, though they were going to present other evidence.
POLITICO has previously reported that former New York City Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik, who worked with Giuliani on his efforts to find voter fraud, told the select panel that retired Army colonel Phil Waldron had first floated the idea of Trump issuing an executive order to seize the voting machines.