A member of the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol building and the attempts by Trump allies to overturn the 2020 presidential election results says that former President Donald Trump’s White House counsel, Pat Cipollone, did not contradict previous testimonies from former aides when he met with the panel late last week.
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Maryland), describing Cipollone’s testimony while being interviewed Tuesday morning by NBC News, said that the former White House counsel “has corroborated almost everything that we’ve learned from the prior hearings.”
That included testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson, a former White House aide who had worked directly for the former president’s Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. Hutchinson alleged, among other things, that Trump was adamant about joining his loyalists at the Capitol building as they were breaching their way in to stop the certification of the Electoral College; and that Trump understood that the armed individuals in Washington, D.C. were “not there” to harm him — implying that he knew they were armed to intimidate other politicians who stood in their way.
Hutchinson also claimed to have heard Cipollone say to Meadows that Trump needed to do more to stop the mob, particularly because the loyalists to Trump were calling for the hanging of his Vice President Mike Pence. Meadows brushed off Cipollone’s concerns, saying that Trump felt Pence deserved their scorn, Hutchinson recalled.
Days before the attack on the Capitol, Cipollone pleaded with Hutchinson to help keep Trump away from Congress on January 6, telling her, “We’re going to get charges of every crime imaginable if we make that move.”
Following Hutchinson’s testimony, many in Trump’s orbit, including the former president himself, derided her and the testimony she gave as being “phony.” But Raskin, on Tuesday, said that Cipollone did not say anything in his remarks to the January 6 committee on Friday that would validate those complaints.
“I certainly did not hear him contradict Cassidy Hutchinson. … He had the opportunity to say whatever he wanted to say, so I didn’t see any contradiction there,” Raskin said.
Raskin’s account of Cipollone’s testimony matches that of another member of the panel, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-California).
Shortly after his eight-hour testimony last Friday, Lofgren appeared on CNN, where she also said the former White House lawyer “did not contradict” previous witnesses. While Lofgren recognized that “not contradicting is not the same as confirming,” she added that Cipollone “could say so and so was wrong — which he did not say.”
Some of the video from Cipollone’s appearance before the committee is set to be included in Tuesday’s public hearing. Cipollone’s testimony will include what Raskin has described as “the craziest meeting in the Trump presidency,” which took place on December 18, 2020, just weeks before the Capitol attack, when advisers from both inside and outside the White House were meeting to discuss a “Hail Mary desperation ploy” to overturn President Joe Biden’s election win over Trump.