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Trump White House counsel Pat Cipollone subpoenaed by Jan. 6 committee

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The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol announced Wednesday that it has subpoenaed former White House counsel Pat Cipollone. The news comes a day after Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, testified before the committee that Cipollone expressed concerns about former President Donald Trump's desire to go to the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and about the language Trump wanted to use in his speech at the Ellipse that day.

"The Select Committee's investigation has revealed evidence that Mr. Cipollone repeatedly raised legal and other concerns about President Trump's activities on January 6th and in the days that preceded," committee chairman Bennie Thompson and vice chair Liz Cheney said in a statement announcing the subpoena. "While the Select Committee appreciates Mr. Cipollone's earlier informal engagement with our investigation, the committee needs to hear from him on the record, as other former White House counsels have done in other congressional investigations."

"Any concerns Mr. Cipollone has about the institutional prerogatives of the office he previously held are clearly outweighed by the need for his testimony," the statement added.

Hutchinson discussed Cipollone multiple times during her testimony Tuesday, perhaps most notably when she told lawmakers that he pushed back on Trump's desire to go to the Capitol on Jan. 6.

"On Jan. 3, Mr. Cipollone had approached me knowing that Mark [Meadows] had raised the prospect of going up to the Capitol on Jan. 6," she said. "Mr. Cipollone and I had a brief private conversation where he said to me, 'We need to make sure that this doesn't happen. This would be a legally a terrible idea for us. We're — we have serious legal concerns if we go up to the Capitol that day.'"

She said she and Cipollone had a similar conversation the morning of Jan. 6, before the rally at the Ellipse.

"We're going to get charged with every crime imaginable if we make that movement happen," Hutchinson recalled Cipollone saying.

She said Cipollone was particularly concerned about "potentially obstructing justice or defrauding the electoral count," in the days leading up to Jan. 6. In previously recorded testimony played at the hearing, she said that he was also concerned that it would look like they were inciting a riot. 

Hutchinson also testified that she was aware of concerns from Cipollone and others about language Trump had proposed for his speech at the Ellipse, telling the committee, "There were many discussions the morning of the 6th about the rhetoric of the speech that day."

Hutchinson said that language was something to the effect of "Fight for Trump. We're going to march to the Capitol," adding that Trump also wanted to include things "about the vice president at the time, too."

She also recalled Cipollone "barreling" down the hallway at approximately 2 p.m. on January 6 to try to get Meadows to talk to Trump. She said Cipollone told Meadows that the rioters had gotten to the Capitol and they needed to see Trump immediately — but said Meadows responded, "He doesn't want to do anything, Pat."

Cipollone then said something to the effect of, "Mark something needs to be done or people are going to die, and the blood's going to be on your effing hands. This is getting out of control," Hutchinson testified. 

She also told the committee that Cipollone was part of a group of people who convinced Trump to speak on Jan. 7, but noted in previously recorded testimony that he tried to discourage the president from saying anything about a pardon.

John Wood, who was the investigative lawyer for the Jan. 6 committee before he resigned last week, told CBS News on Wednesday that subpoenaing Cipollone was a "necessary step" because it's "really important" for the committee to speak with him.

The former White House counsel's name has come up repeatedly during the Jan. 6 hearings, mentioned by witnesses as a White House figure who attempted to stop the president and his allies from taking illegal and destructive actions related to the post-election period.

At the end of the fourth hearing, the committee's vice chair, Rep. Liz Cheney, called on Cipollone to testify voluntarily, noting his rare vantage point into Trump's actions after the election.

"Our committee is certain that Donald Trump does not want Mr. Cipollone to testify here," she said. "Indeed, our evidence shows that Mr. Cipollone and his office tried to do what was right. They tried to stop a number of President Trump's plans for Jan. 6."

"We think the American people deserve to hear from Mr. Cipollone personally," she said. "He should appear before this committee, and we are working to secure his testimony."

More than once, the committee has played a clip addressing Cipollone's threats to resign after the election over plans to try to keep Trump in office. In the videotaped testimony, Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner says that he took Cipollone's threats to resign in the weeks leading up to Jan. 6 to be "whining."

Caroline Linton and Ellen Uchimiya contributed reporting.

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