Donald Trump’s former White House legal adviser Pat Cipollone is coming under mounting pressure to testify before the committee investigating last year’s attack on the US Capitol after he emerged as a key figure in bombshell testimony from a former aide on Tuesday.
Liz Cheney, the committee’s Republican vice-chair, called again on Wednesday for Cipollone to testify, a day after the committee heard he had told a colleague they would get “charged with every crime imaginable” if they had let Trump join his supporters outside Congress.
Cheney has made similar calls before, but her words have been given greater urgency since Tuesday’s testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson, a White House aide who depicted Cipollone as central to the events of January 6 2021.
Cheney wrote in a tweet on Wednesday: “It’s time for Mr. Cippollone [sic] to testify on the record. Any concerns he has about the institutional interests of his prior office are outweighed by the need for his testimony.”
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.
The recent series of public hearings into the US Capitol attack, however, has depicted Cipollone as one of the few people inside the White House who were willing to stand up to Trump.
The congressional committee investigating the events of that day has previously heard from former administration officials who Cipollone helped persuade Trump not to replace Jeffrey Rosen with Jeffrey Clark at the justice department 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.
On Tuesday, the committee heard explosive testimony from Hutchinson, a former aide to Mark Meadows, who was Trump’s chief of staff during those final days of the 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 testified 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.