Former White House counsel Pat Cipollone met with the January 6 committee in a closed-door session for more than eight hours on Friday, during which he “did not contradict” previous witnesses in his testimony.
“Not contradicting is not the same as confirming,” Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), a January 6 committee member said in an interview during an interview with CNN on Friday. “Well, [Cipollone] could say so and so was wrong — which he did not say. There were things that he might not be present for or in some cases couldn’t recall with precision.”
Cipollone was launched into the spotlight last week when former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson gave her explosive testimony. She recalled Cipollone telling her that then-President Donald Trump would be charged with “every crime imaginable” if he went to the Capitol on January 6 in an attempt to halt the certification of Joe Biden as the next president.
However, sources familiar with Cipollone’s testimony told CNN that not only was the former White House lawyer not asked about Hutchinson’s quote, but if questioned about it, Cipollone would not have confirmed it.
Although the exact contents of Cipollone’s testimony are still under lock and key, a source told Politico that the committee found his testimony to be “very helpful.” Lofgren supported this view: “We did learn a few things which we will be rolling out in hearings to come.”
While Cipollone had previously sat for an “informal interview” back in April, the committee had been pressing for him to testify under oath for weeks, and finally issued a subpoena to the former White House counsel following Hutchinson’s appearance. Lofgren said he testified voluntarily.
Cipollone was a witness to some of the former president’s most egregious claims of election fraud and plans to overturn Joe Biden’s certification, and often disagreed with Trump’s tactics, as he reportedly threatened to resign with some frequency.
Last month, Jared Kushner waved off Cipollone’s threats of resignation: “Him and the team were always saying, ‘Ooh, we’re going to resign, we’re not going to be here if this happens, if that happens,‘ so I kind of took it up to just be whining, to be honest with you,” Kushner said.
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wy.), the committee’s vice-chair, emphasized that Cipollone’s threats should not be dismissed and should instead serve as an indicator of the level of discord in the Trump White House: “That is exceedingly rare and exceedingly serious. It requires immediate attention, especially when the entire team threatens to resign.”