Despite Donald Trump’s whining that presidential privilege forbids his two top White House attorneys, Pat Cipollone and Pat Philbin, from testifying with regard to his actions leading up to January 6th, the legal system disagrees, and the two have returned to testify before a federal grand jury.
Trump also argued the Pats aren’t allowed to share information that would demonstrate his role in the attack and his knowledge that strategies to overturn the 2020 election were in violation of the law, but none of it mattered.
Cipollone and Philbin previously spoke to the grand jury in September, but concern about Trump’s claims of privilege over some matters prevented them from answering some questions.
Now, they’ve returned to testify again — suggesting that perhaps they’re ready to fill in some of the blanks.
While the public may never see most of Cipollone’s testimony, the January 6th Committee has shared bits and pieces that reveal the former White House counsel balancing a duty to give honest testimony with an interest in protecting any information he’s not legally allowed to share.
In one clip, for instance, he assures the panel that Trump’s staff wanted rioters to leave the White House but refuses to comment on whether the then-president himself shared the sentiment.
However, a Thursday ruling changed all that, with a judge rejecting Trump’s claims of privilege and the Pats wasted no time.
On Friday morning, they were spotted at D.C. District Court, where they again gave testimony.
According to ABC:
The move to originally subpoena the two men had signaled a dramatic escalation in the Justice Department’s investigation into the Jan. 6 attack. The recent appearances also show that newly appointed Special Counsel Jack Smith has not slowed any investigative efforts into both the events surrounding Jan. 6 and Trump’s handling of government documents, some of which were marked as classified.
They’re not the only witnesses returning to give the Grand Jury a more complete picture of Trump’s involvement in election interference — according to CNN, the list of witnesses who were re-interviewed after a judge instructed them on matters of privilege includes former Vice President Mike Pence’s two top aides, Marc Short and Greg Jacob.
Check out a portion of Cipollone’s testimony to the January 6th Committee below:
Cipollone's awkward silences here speak volumes pic.twitter.com/SJezZqubVJ
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 22, 2022
Steph Bazzle covers politics and theocracy, always aiming for a world free from extremism and authoritarianism. Follow Steph on Twitter @imjustasteph.