Pat Cipollone, the White House counsel under former President Donald Trump who pushed back against efforts to prove that the 2020 election was fraudulent, has been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury investigating the lead-up to the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021, the New York Times reports.
There are two grand juries hearing evidence and testimony on the matter, with one focusing on the plan of some of Trump's advisers to assemble electors who had the opinion that Trump was the true winner over Biden in the election, and the other focused specifically on the events of Jan. 6. It is currently unclear which jury called Cipollone to testify as a witness.
Cipollone, who is the highest-ranking Trump White House official who was working for the president during his last days in office to have been called to testify by federal investigators, claimed to have been in the West Wing as protestors breached the Capitol. However, sources allegedly told Jack Posobiec of Human Events that he lied and was not actually in the building at that time.
Cipollone also claimed to have shown pushback at meetings in which Trump refused to call off the Jan. 6 protestors, and strategized on how to overturn the election results.
“I think I was pretty clear there needed to be an immediate and forceful response, statement, public statement, that people need to leave the Capitol now,” Mr. Cipollone testified.
“That’s a terrible idea for the country,” he said of suggestions that the Trump administration should seize voting machines at the seventh House Jan 6 Select Committee hearing, adding, “That’s not how we do things in the United States.”
Sources told ABC News that Cipollone's attorneys are expected to engage in negotiations around any appearance, while weighing concerns about potential claims of executive privilege, like they did with the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
Justice Department officials declined an invitation to comment, and Cipollone's representatives weren't able to be reached.
The move to subpoena Cipollone shows a greater escalation in the Justice Department's investigation into Jan. 6, following appearances by senior members of former Vice President Mike Pence's staff before the grand jury just two weeks ago.
Cipollone has declined to discuss specific conversations with Trump in his upcoming hearing, citing attorney-client and executive privilege.