The committee investigating last year’s attack on the US Capitol has summoned Donald Trump’s former White House counsel to testify following revelations about his central role in the events of January last year.
The congressional panel’s subpoena was issued to Pat Cipollone on Wednesday, a day after a former Trump adviser gave bombshell testimony in which she alleged Cipollone had concerns about the legality of the then-president’s actions on January 6 2021.
Bennie Thompson, the Democratic chair and his Republican vice-chair Liz Cheney issued a joint statement saying the committee needed to hear from Cipollone on the record.
“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,” the statement read.
Cheney has made similar calls before, but her words had greater urgency since Tuesday’s testimony from Cassidy Hutchinsona White House aide who depicted Cipollone as central to the events of January 6 2021.
Cipollone is a former commercial lawyer who counted Trump as a client until the then president brought him into his administration in 2018 as White House counsel.
He came to public attention during Trump’s first impeachment when he refused to co-operate with the inquiry, calling it “unfair” and “completely baseless”. He went on to serve as head of Trump’s legal team in the subsequent congressional hearings.
During the recent series of public hearings into the US Capitol attackCipollone was depicted as one of the few people inside the White House willing to stand up to Trump.
The congressional committee investigating the events of that day had previously heard from former administration officials who said Cipollone helped persuade Trump not to replace Jeffrey Rosen with Jeffrey Clark at the Department of Justice days before the riot.
Trump had grown frustrated with Rosen for his refusal to back the former president’s false claims of electoral fraud and believed Clark would be more compliant.
The committee heard explosive testimony on Tuesday from Hutchinson, a former aide to Mark Meadows, who was Trump’s chief of staff during those final days of administration.
Hutchinson told the committee that Cipollone had resisted Meadows’ suggestion that Trump travel to the Capitol to join his supporters. According to her testimony, Cipollone said: “We’re going to get charged with every crime imaginable if we make that movement happen.”
Hutchinson also told the hearing that Cipollone had angrily confronted Meadows as the riot broke out. “Mark, something needs to be done or people are going to die,” she reported him as saying. “The blood is going to be on your effing hands.”
John Dean, the former White House counsel who became a star of the Watergate hearings in 1973 when he argued against his former boss Richard Nixon, has also called on Cipollone to appear. “I think we need a Pat Cipollone moment,” he told CNN.
Cipollone did not respond to a request for comment.
Meanwhile, the Secret Service has said it will respond to separate allegations made by Hutchinson that Trump had an altercation with its agents as he tried to force them to take him to the Capitol.