Former White House attorney Pat Cipollone has been subpoenaed by the Justice Department in an investigation increasingly involving former President Trump’s closest advisers, according to reports of several media outlets.
The subpoena comes as the Justice Department brought other White House officials before a grand jury as part of its Jan. 6 investigation.
Cipollone would be able to offer considerable insight into White House actions both before and on January 6. His testimony before the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack says he had many concerns about the former president’s plans for the day and how he responded to the riot.
The Justice Department has already brought two former advisers to then-Vice President Mike Pence before a grand jury.
He also executed search warrants against Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department assistant attorney general whom Trump was considering installing as attorney general so he could hand over investigations into the baseless allegations of voter fraud by the President, with John Eastman. Eastman, a former law professor, drafted memos for the campaign advising them to submit alternative voter certificates and that Pence waive his ceremonial duty to certify election results.
According to ABC Newswho first reported the subpoena, Cipollone’s attorney is expected to negotiate his appearance, given the former White House attorney’s concerns about executive privilege.
A lawyer for Cipollone did not respond to a request for comment, and the Justice Department also declined to comment.
“It’s probably bad for former President Trump. If he goes to the grand jury, it shows that it’s more than, you know, what did John Eastman do? The lawyer who invented this crazy scheme to overturn the election. And he probably has a very deep interest in what the president has done,” Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) said during an appearance on CNN’s “New Day” Wednesday morning.
“The Department of Justice knows best what it can, in essence, circumvent when it comes to saying executive privilege. And so I hope they go about it wisely. I hope Pat Cipollone is just telling the truth. I’m sure he didn’t, but there’s no reason to protect particularly criminal behavior or what might be criminal behavior behind executive privilege,” he added.
Jan. 6 Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) told reporters last month that the DOJ had requested transcripts with panel investigators related to Trump’s plans to pass fake voter certificates to the Congress.
But the interest in Cipollone suggests the probe could be broader, particularly following a New York Times report that federal prosecutors are beginning to talk more seriously about investigating Trump’s actions directly.
Earlier testimony before the House committee on Jan. 6 indicated that Cipollone pushed back on a plan to issue an executive order authorizing the seizure of voting machines.
According to testimony from White House aide Cassidy Hutchison, he also expressed legal concerns about Trump’s plans to march to the Capitol, warning they could be charged with “every crime imaginable.”
And in part of his taped deposition released during the committee’s last hearing this summer, Cipollone was also shown saying he pushed Trump to call off the mob if his supporters stormed the Capitol.
“There had to be an immediate and forceful public statement that people needed to leave the Capitol now,” Cipollone said.
–-Updated at 11:56 a.m.