Former Trump White House counsel Pat Cipollone is cooperating with the January 6th investigation. ABC News reports he’s one step closer to testifying publicly in the select committee hearings slated to begin airing this week.
🚨🚨🚨BREAKING: Trump's former WH counsel Pat Cipollone is in active talks with the Jan. 6 committee to testify PUBLICLY, per @ABC. His testimony would be about the efforts by former acting former top DOJ official Jeffrey Clark to further Trump's attempts to overturn the election
— Spiro Agnew’s Ghost (@SpiroAgnewGhost) June 8, 2022
According to ABC News, Cipollone, who was present with Trump in the West Wing on Jan. 6th, stipulates that his testimony will be restricted to top Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark’s attempts to help overturn the 2020 presidential election.
Clark wanted to send letters to Georgia officials who Trump tried to pressure to invalidate the state’s certification of Biden as President-elect. The letters are described by Cipollone as a “murder-suicide pact” and would “damage anyone and anything that it touches.”
When Trump suggested replacing then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen with Clark, Cipollone and former deputy White House counsel Pat Philbin threatened to resign, not unlike Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey in 2017 for his role in investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election – and reminiscent of Watergate.
Then-President Nixon fired Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox, who was investigating connections between the Nixon White House, the break-in at the DNC, and Nixon’s re-election. It was a move that triggered a slew of firings and resignations including Attorney General Elliott Richardson and his deputy Attorney General, William Ruckelshaus, who both resigned after refusing Nixon’s orders to fire Cox in what would be known as the “Saturday Night Massacre.”
The Watergate investigation eventually uncovered multiple cases of abuse of Nixon’s executive powers.
The similarities weren’t lost on John Dean. The former counsel to the Nixon White House tweeted:
As we deal with the Jan 6 insurrection vis-a-vis Trump and his cohorts, it is important to understand what happened 50 years ago during Watergate. This fast-paced, factual analysis blows away the cobwebs. Please tune in or turn on your recorder. May we please learn from our past! https://t.co/JTtNG01lr4
— John W. Dean (@JohnWDean) June 5, 2022
Cox and President Nixon were at odds over the President’s refusal to release almost a dozen hours of White House recordings that revealed Nixon’s involvement in the 1972 Watergate break-in where Nixon associates were caught trying to bug the offices of the Democratic National Convention. The scheme was eerily similar to Trump’s attempts to block the release of White House call logs leading up to — and on — January 6th, the day thousands of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to stop Congress from certifying the results of the 2020 election for Biden.
And when the records were released, over seven hours of the key records of Trump’s communications were conspicuously missing.
Seven hours is the new 18 minutes.
— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) March 29, 2022
The controversies surrounding the alleged corruption during Trump’s one-term presidency have the stench of Watergate all over it. After former FBI head James Comey was fired, Senator Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said:
“What happened during the Nixon period, there were people of principle who stood up against some of then-President (Richard) Nixon’s actions,” Warner said. “I’m hoping in the coming days that we’ll see either out of the administration and frankly from a lot of my colleagues, a willingness to rise above partisanship.”
Even top politicians in the GOP were triggered by Comey’s firing. Senate Intelligence Chair Richard Burr (R-NC), publicly criticized the move, saying “I am troubled by the timing and reasoning of Director Comey’s termination.”
Paul Cipollone and Pat Philbin have already spoken to the January 6th Select Committee – giving informal testimony back in April. In the current negotiations to testify in the upcoming televised hearings, Cipollone is being represented by Michael Purpura, who, if you can remember, was deputy White House counsel during Trump’s first term – and also part of Trump’s first impeachment defense team.
History repeating itself is nothing new, but the similarities between past and present investigations into Trump’s blatant abuse of power cannot be ignored. The difference is that Nixon had the good sense to resign as President when cornered and the proverbial walls closed in. Trump, on the other hand, lacks the patriotism, wherewithal, and decency to withdraw from the jaws of defeat.
Let’s hope Cipollone’s cooperation and testimony will change that and shut a bleak chapter in what will be forever known as the worst — and most corrupt — Presidential administration in U.S. history.
Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick