Trump’s top White House lawyer in active talks with January 6 committee to testify publicly

The House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol is in active talks with former White House attorney Pat Cipollone regarding a possible public appearance at one of their upcoming hearings, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Cipollone and former deputy White House counsel Pat Philbin previously met with committee investigators for an informal talk in April.

Cipollone was one of the few aides who were with then-President Donald Trump in the West Wing on Jan. 6. connection to his role encouraging supporters to march on Capitol Hill.

According to sources, a number of circumstances could complicate a possible appearance for Cipollone, including the question of who is questioning him and for how long; if there are questions of privilege pending; and whether Trump would approve of her looks.

Michael Purpura, the former assistant White House attorney who was on the legal team defending Trump in his first Senate impeachment trial, is representing Cipollone in his discussions with committee investigators, sources said.

Cipollone also clarified that his testimony would be limited to efforts by former top Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark to use DOJ powers to prosecute Trump’s attempts to nullify the 2020 election, they said. sources familiar with the deliberations.

Representatives for Cipollone did not respond to ABC’s request for comment. A spokesperson for the committee declined to comment.

White House attorney Pat Cipollone attends a cabinet meeting in the East Room of the White House on May 19, 2020.

Alex Wong/Getty Images, FILE

The committee hopes to get Cipollone’s public testimony on a panel with former acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen and his then-deputy Richard Donoghue, as well as one of the DOJ’s top former attorneys, Steve Engel, officials said. sources. Both Rosen and Donoghue have received formal invitations from the committee to appear.

Both Cipollone and Philbin were part of a January 3 Oval Office meeting where Trump insisted on replacing Rosen with Clark, a Trump loyalist who had vowed to use the Justice Department to investigate the election.

Officials at that meeting also debated a proposal by Clark to send a letter to Georgia state officials urging state officials to investigate unfounded fraud allegations with a view to reversing the victory of the President Joe Biden in the state.

According to Donoghue, Cipollone and Philbin made it clear to Trump that they would resign if Clark was installed, with Cipollone describing Georgia’s letter as a “murder-suicide pact” that would “damage anyone and everything he touches,” according to a The Senate committee report released last year detailed instances where Trump and his allies sought to use the DOJ to nullify the election.

ABC News previously obtained and released emails dated Dec. 28, 2020, showing Clark circulating this draft letter, which he wanted Rosen and Donoghue to sign.

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