Pat A. Cipollone, the White House lawyer under former President Donald J. Trump who tried to stop some of his most extreme efforts to nullify the 2020 election, has been subpoenaed by a grand jury federal investigating activities leading up to the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021, a person familiar with the subpoena said.
It was unclear which grand jury had called Mr. Cipollone to testify as a witness. Two are known to hear evidence and testimony – one examining the scheme of some of Mr Trump’s lawyers and advisers to collate lists of voters who allegedly falsely claim that Mr Trump was the real winner of the election , and another focused on the events of January 6.
But Mr. Cipollone is the most senior White House official working for Mr. Trump during his last days in office, who is known to have been called to testify by federal investigators.
He was in the West Wing when Mr. Trump’s supporters violently stormed the Capitol and the president repeatedly refused to cancel them. Mr. Cipollone also attended several meetings in the run-up to the riot in which Mr. Trump and his allies discussed how they could cancel the election and keep him in power.
Mr. Cipollone has repeatedly rebuffed those efforts.
The subpoena was reported earlier by ABC News. An aide to Mr. Cipollone did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A Justice Department spokesperson declined to comment.
Mr. Cipollone’s appearance was requested at a time when federal prosecutors are focusing their attention on Mr. Trump’s conduct, not just the people who were advising him.
In recent weeks, investigators have questioned witnesses about Mr. Trump and his actions, including people who worked at the White House. Two former senior advisers to Vice President Mike Pence — his chief of staff, Marc Short, and his chief counsel, Greg Jacob — recently testified before one of the grand juries, according to people familiar with their appearances.
Given the nature of Mr. Cipollone’s work, it was unclear how much information he would provide. He was subpoenaed by the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot and the events that helped precipitate it, and sat down for a transcribed and recorded interview.
But some terms were discussed in advance, and Mr. Cipollone, citing attorney-client and executive privilege, declined to discuss specific conversations with Mr. Trump.
Mr. Cipollone witnessed some of the most significant moments of Mr. Trump’s push to overturn the election results, including discussions of the seizure of voting machines, interference in the Justice Department and the sending fake letters to state officials about voter fraud.
“It’s a terrible idea for the country,” he said of suggestions that the Trump administration would seize voting machines, adding, “That’s not how we do things to people. United States”.
Mr. Cipollone was also in direct contact with Mr. Trump on Jan. 6 as rioters stormed the Capitol and told the House committee he believed more should have been done to call out the crowd.
“I think I was pretty clear that there needed to be an immediate and forceful response, a statement, a public statement, that people need to leave the Capitol now,” Cipollone said.
Katie Benner contributed report.