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As He Speaks To Jan 6 Panel, Here’s A Reminder Of What Cipollone Was Up To Pre-Insurrection

White House Counsel Pat Cipollone at a signing ceremony for H.R. 1327, an act to permanently authorize the September 11th victim compensation fund, in the Rose Garden at the White House on July 29, 2019. (Jabin Botsf... White House Counsel Pat Cipollone at a signing ceremony for H.R. 1327, an act to permanently authorize the September 11th victim compensation fund, in the Rose Garden at the White House on July 29, 2019. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images) MORE LESS
April 13, 2022 3:28 p.m.

Pat Cipollone and Patrick Philbin, two of former President Trump’s top White House lawyers, are reportedly set to speak informally with the Jan. 6 Select Committee on Wednesday.

It’s unclear what if any information the pair might share with the committee, but Cipollone’s voluntary appearance is interesting on its face. During the waning days of Trump’s presidency, Cipollone emerged as one of the few voices in Trump’s inner circle who pushed back against against the former president’s efforts to overturn the election, albeit quietly.

Days before the deadly Capitol insurrection last year, Cipollone found himself at odds with Trump. Amid his refusal to concede his loss to then-President-elect Joe Biden, Trump proposed a last-ditch plan to install loyalist Jeffrey Clark as acting attorney general to follow through on his demands to subvert the 2020 election results.

Cipollone aggressively pushed back at Trump’s proposal during a Jan. 3, 2021 Oval Office meeting, which Cipollone’s top deputy Philbin and other Justice Department bigwigs also attended. According to a Senate Judiciary Committee report released last October, Cipollone supported DOJ leaders’ warning to Trump that they would all resign if Trump followed through on installing Clark. Cipollone reportedly made it clear that he and Philbin would join DOJ leaders in resigning if Trump carried out his plan.

One participant in the Jan. 3 Oval Office meeting recalled Cipollone comparing Trump’s proposed plan to install Clark to a “murder-suicide pact,” according to the New York Times.

Trump reportedly backed off of his plan, which was part of his attempts to pressure the DOJ to do his Big Lie bidding, toward the end of the nearly three-hour Oval Office meeting.

Cipollone also appeared to be the subject that Trump ally and Fox News host Sean Hannity raised in a text message to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows the day before the insurrection. Hannity, at the time, repeatedly warned Meadows in text messages obtained by the Jan. 6 Select Committee that Trump’s pressure campaign — for then-Vice President Mike Pence to use the Jan. 6 joint session of Congress to overturn the election results — would not go as planned.

“Pence pressure … WH counsel will leave,” Hannity wrote in a message to Meadows on Jan. 5, 2021.

And despite the lack of a full accounting of Trump’s conversations on Jan. 6, which the Washington Post and CBS News revealed in a report last month noting the seven-hour call gap in Trump’s Jan. 6 call logs, Cipollone is known to be one of Trump’s officials who were in contact with the then-President on the day of the insurrection.

After the hours-long gap in Trump’s Jan. 6 call log, it is noted that Trump called Cipollone at 7:01 p.m., hours after the insurrection.

Cipollone also reportedly fielded demands from top Trump allies, such as Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), for the then-President to call off the mob of his supporters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6.

In a preview obtained by Axios of an upcoming book by New York Times reporters Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns, titled “This Will Not Pass,” it is reported that Graham called Cipollone as the insurrection unfolded. Graham reportedly warned Cipollone that if Trump didn’t act more aggressively to denounce the mob “we’ll be asking you for the 25th Amendment” to boot Trump from office.

Signs of Cipollone’s resistance to doing Trump’s Big Lie bidding were apparent well before the days leading up to Jan. 6, however.

During an infamous Dec. 18, 2020 meeting at the White House, Cipollone made clear that he was opposed to a proposal by Michael Flynn and Sidney Powell. Flynn and Powell presented Trump with the draft executive order to have Defense Department personnel seize voting machines in states across the country in a brazen attempt to help Trump to steal a second term in the White House.

Alongside Rudy Giuliani and Trump himself, Cipollone was reportedly vehemently against the idea.

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