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Trump White House counsel Cipollone wraps Jan. 6 panel testimony

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Pat Cipollone, former White House counsel, arrives to seem before the Select Committee to Investigate the January sixth Attack on the US Capitol in Washington, D.C., US, on Friday, July 8, 2022.

Ting Shen | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot interviewed one among its most sought-after witnesses on Friday because it continues to assemble evidence implicating former President Donald Trump within the attack.

Pat Cipollone, Trump’s former White House counsel, met with the committee behind closed doors for a transcribed interview that lasted eight and a half hours. He spent greater than an hour of that point outside the deposition room conferring along with his lawyers, and departed the Capitol Hill office constructing after 5 p.m. ET. He didn’t answer reporters’ questions.

Cipollone was subpoenaed last week by the panel, which said it has obtained evidence that he “repeatedly raised legal and other concerns about President Trump’s activities on January sixth and in the times that preceded.”

Cipollone, who spoke with investigators informally in April, has taken center stage in a number of the committee’s recent public hearings through the testimony of other witnesses who cited his quite a few warnings to Trump.

The panel is hoping he could confirm a number of the most incendiary allegations shared last week by Cassidy Hutchinson, a former top aide to Trump’s ex-chief of staff Mark Meadows.

Ahead of the Jan. 6 riot, Cipollone warned staff against allowing Trump to fulfill protestors on the U.S. Capitol where lawmakers were meeting to verify President Joe Biden’s electoral victory, in response to Hutchinson’s testimony. “We will get charged with every crime possible” if Trump followed through on those plans, she recalled him saying.

“It could appear to be we were obstructing justice,” Cipollone explained, in response to Hutchinson.

Trump told his followers he would meet them on the Capitol at a rally near the White House that shortly preceded the riot. But his security detail refused to take him to the Capitol and he ultimately returned to the White House, at which point Cipollone urged Meadows to act to get Trump to quell the attack, Hutchinson testified.

“I remember Pat saying something to the effect of, ‘Mark, we want to do something more. They’re literally calling for the vice chairman to be effing hung,'” she said.

“Mark had responded something to the effect of, ‘You heard him, Pat. He thinks Mike [Pence] deserves it. He doesn’t think they’re doing anything flawed,'” she said.

Cipollone didn’t reply to CNBC’s request for comment. A spokesman for the select committee declined to comment.

The interview was set to happen just 4 days before the committee’s next public hearing, when it’s to put out the initial findings from its yearlong investigation into the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the usCapitol by a violent mob of Trump’s supporters.

The committee has yet to disclose the subject of its upcoming hearing, scheduled for 10 a.m. ET on Tuesday. Chair Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said last month that the panel would hold its final two public hearings in July. Vice Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., previously said that those hearings will show how Trump illegally directed his supporters toward the Capitol, after which did not take quick motion to stop the riot once it began.

However the committee has modified its plans to accommodate recent evidence — most notably, by adding last week’s public hearing last week to spotlight Hutchinson’s bombshell testimony.

Before being subpoenaed, Cipollone had resisted the committee’s efforts to bring him in for an interview. Cheney openly appealed to Cipollone to cooperate, saying in a previous hearing that Trump “doesn’t want Mr. Cipollone to testify here” since the evidence shows that he and his office “tried to do what was right.”

Trump, in a post on his social media platform Thursday morning, suggested the committee’s push to talk with Cipollone would make future presidents less willing to debate sensitive issues with their White House counsel. “So bad for USA!” Trump wrote on Truth Social.

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