The House Jan. 6 committee Saturday issued a statement describing the input of an ex-White House lawyer as “reinforcing” alleged misconduct by former President Donald Trump.
The idea that the former Trump White House counsel Pat Cipollone might have confirmed others witnesses’ damning accounts in his much-anticipated private interview Friday was initially tempered by the possibility that he may have invoked executive privilege, a legal concept intended to allow presidents to speak freely with legal advisers.
Responding to multiple reports that Cipollone had invoked that privilege during his daylong testimony under subpoena, a committee spokesman suggested a different storyline.
“In our interview with Mr. Cipollone, the Committee received critical testimony on nearly every major topic in its investigation, reinforcing key points regarding Donald Trump’s misconduct and providing highly relevant new information that will play a central role in its upcoming hearings,” the statement from House Select Committee spokesman Tim Mulvey read.
It continued: “This includes information demonstrating Donald Trump’s supreme dereliction of duty.”
Trump and his representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment late Saturday.
Mulvey did not confirm or deny the reports on privilege, but said Cipollone was never guided by the panel to avoid potentially privileged information.
In fact, the statement suggests that in Cipollone, the committee got another voice to back up some of the vivid testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson, assistant to former Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
She testified that on Jan. 6, 2021, Trump was filled with rage and ordered his Secret Service detail to take him to the Capitol so he could join supporters who would eventually enter the complex and attack police while trying to reach lawmakers and Vice President Mike Pence, all participating in certifying Trump’s loss.
She said Secret Service agents in a presidential SUV with Trump refused to take him, and the president lunged for the steering wheel from behind the front seats and then tried to grab the throat of one agent, claims Trump has denied.
She also testified that Trump showed no sympathy for Pence as the rioters were getting potentially life-threateningly close to the vice president and Trump allegedly had the time and the power to call them off. The former president has denied this as well.
On Saturday Mulvey said in the committee’s statement that Cipollone “corroborated key elements of Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony.”
The Jan. 6 committee will resume with fact finding during a hearing Tuesday.
Julia Jester contributed.