Lazy Caturday Reads: January 6 InvestigationsPosted: July 9, 2022
Yesterday, Trump’s former White House counsel Pat Cipollone, met behind closed doors with the House January 6 Committee for more than 8 hours. Naturally reporters are trying to find out what he had to say. Here’s what we know so far, mostly based on an interview on CNN with Rep. Zoe Lofgren.
Cipollone, who panel vice chair Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., has repeatedly described as a critical witness, joined the committee for a videotaped and transcribed closed-door interview around 8:45 a.m. ET, and left shortly before 5:30 p.m., taking numerous breaks with his attorneys throughout the day. He was in the deposition room for about seven-and-a-half hours.
“He’s been a cooperative witness within the parameters of his desire to protect executive privilege for the office of general counsel,” a sourcefamiliar with the first part of his testimony said earlier Friday.
After the interview, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a member of the Jan. 6 committee, told CNN it was “a grueling day for all involved” but “well worth it.” The California Democrat said Cipollone “did answer a whole variety of questions” and “did not contradict the testimony of other witnesses.”
“I think we did learn a few things, which we will be rolling out in hearings to come,” Lofgren said.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), a member of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot, on Friday said former Trump White House counsel Pat Cipollone did not contradict the testimony of previous witnesses when he met with the panel Friday.
The meeting took place behind closed doors and came after explosive public testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to ex-Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows, that placed Cipollone as a central player in the behind-the-scenes drama at the White House on Jan. 6.
“Mr. Cipollone did appear voluntarily and answer a whole variety of questions. He did not contradict the testimony of other witnesses. And I think we did learn a few things, which we will be rolling out in the hearings to come,” Lofgren told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer….
Blizter asked if people could be assume that Cipollone confirmed the testimony offered by Hutchinson.
“Not contradicting is not the same as confirming,” Lofgren said.
“He could say so and so was wrong, which he did not say. There were things that he might not be present for, or, in some cases, couldn’t recall with precision. My sense was that he, as I say, he did appear voluntarily. I think he was candid with the committee. He was careful in his answers, and I believe that he was honest in his answers,” she said.
CNN appears to have at least one more source from the committee: Jan. 6 panel didn’t specifically ask Cipollone about Hutchinson’s testimony on legal consequences of going to Capitol during riot, sources say.
Two people familiar with former Trump White House counsel Pat Cipollone’s testimony Friday told CNN that the House select committee investigating January 6, 2021, did not ask him if he told then-White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson the day of the attack that they would “get charged with every crime imaginable” if they went to the US Capitol.
If asked, he would not have confirmed that particular statement, the sources said.
A separate source familiar with the committee told CNN, “The select committee sought information about Cipollone’s views on Trump going to the Capitol on January 6,” implying that the committee’s questions were focused on Cipollone’s perspective as opposed to his take on other witness’ testimony.
“Mr. Cipollone provided a great deal of new information relevant to the select committee’s investigation, which further underscores President Trump’s supreme dereliction of duty,” the source said. “The committee will show much of this to the American people in the days ahead.”
The source also added that no one has refuted any of Hutchinson’s testimony under oath.
Three different sources familiar with Cipollone’s testimony characterized it as very important and extremely helpful and told CNN it will become evident in upcoming public committee hearings.
Cipollone told the committee on Friday that he wasn’t giving legal advice to staff regarding movements on January 6. This came up during his testimony as part of a question not relating to the specific anecdote from Hutchinson.
It is unclear if Cipollone corroborated other parts of Hutchinson’s testimony, such as telling former chief of staff Mark Meadows he would have blood on his hands if he didn’t help stop the riot.
Both Hutchinson and Cipollone testified under oath.
I heard yesterday that the committee is considering hold more hearings in August.
This morning, MSNBC’s Ali Velshi interviewed attorney Daniel Goldman about the Cipollone testimony. Raw Story: Cipollone’s 8-hour testimony will light a fire under Trump’s inner circle to talk to investigators: legal analyst.
Appearing on MSNBC with host Ali Velshi early Saturday morning, the Democrat’s chief counsel during Donald Trump’s first impeachment trial claimed the 8-hour testimony given by former White House counsel Pat Cipollone will likely provoke a rush of members of Donald Trump’s inner circle to talk to investigators out of fear they might have been implicated in the Jan 6th insurrection….
“They don’t know what each other has said, now they are now starting to see what the committee understands, what the other witnesses have said,” he explained. “It is almost like a sprint to get in first to tell the story in your own terms. That is always more beneficial than being the last one nd having to have a bit more of a target on your back.”
“This is what happens often in criminal investigations,” he elaborated. “I am very interested to see whether and to what extent any of these witnesses go marching into the Department of Justice to cooperate with them. Because what everybody is realizing now is that there was a crime spree as Cipollone indicated to Cassidy Hutchinson. The question now, who is going to have a target on his or her back as a part of the criminal investigation? You don’t want to be the last one standing. You want to be the first one to cooperate and gave your information and get on the right side of the investigation.”
“That is why Cipollone came in,” he suggested. “I expect that others have realized, ‘oh boy, we better get in’.”
Next week the committee plans hearings on Tuesday at 10AM and Thursday at 8PM. Here’s what they plan to cover.
Kyle Cheney at Politico:
A federal judge noted in February that there’s no evidence former President Donald Trump ever met or plotted with a Proud Boy or an Oath Keeper. But some conspiracies, he added, can be “tacit.”
The Jan. 6 select committee’s next hearing is expected to delve deeply into that relationship, exploring all the subtle signaling between Trump’s orbit and the seamy underworld of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers that prosecutors and congressional investigators have been probing….
On Tuesday, the committee will…plunge into conspiracy-driven fever swamp, where groups like the Proud Boys flourished and strategized openly ahead of Jan. 6.
The hearing is unlikely to produce explicit evidence of Trump’s approval of the groups’ tactics or plans, but the more important concept, according to Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), is “convergence.”
“Our investigation shows that there was a tremendous convergence of interests between the domestic violent extremist groups and the broader MAGA movement,” Raskin, who will lead next week’s hearing, told Nightly in an interview. “This hearing will be the moment when one sees both the convergence of efforts at a political coup with the insurrectionary mob violence. We see how these two streams of activity become one.”
The select committee only recently obtained one of its most potent pieces of evidence on the nexus between Trump and the Jan. 6 violence from former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, who testified that Trump was informed early on that members of his rally crowd were armed. Hutchinson also testified that she heard the words “Oath Keepers” and “Proud Boys” when Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani was around.
According to Cheney, the DOJ will be closely watching the next week’s hearings since their investigation of the January 6 insurrection has revealed a great deal of information about these groups and their involvement with Trump world.
Hugo Lowell at The Guardian: Trump’s possible ties to far-right militias examined by January 6 committee.
Towards the end of her testimony to the House January 6 select committee, former Trump aide Cassidy Hutchinson raised for the first time the prospect that Donald Trump might have had a line of communication to the leaders of the extremist groups that stormed the Capitol.
The potential connection from the former US president to the extremist right-wing groups came through her account of Trump’s order to his White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to call Roger Stone and Mike Flynn – which Meadows did – the evening before the Capitol attack.
Trump’s order to Meadows, even though Hutchinson said she did not know what was discussed, is significant because it shows the former president seeking to have a channel to two figures with close ties to the leaders of the far-right Proud Boys and Oath Keepers groups.
The directive is doubly notable since it was Trump himself who initiated the outreach to Stone and Flynn, suggesting it was not an instance of far-right political operatives freelancing, for instance, potential strategies to overturn the 2020 election results….
Now next Tuesday, at its seventh public hearing led by congressman Jamie Raskin, the select committee is expected to examine the connections between Trump and the extremist groups in closer detail, according to a source familiar with the investigation. There seems to be a lot to go after.
The account of Trump’s order was not the only link from the White House to the extremist groups. Hutchinson also testified that she recalled hearing the terms “Oath Keepers” and “Proud Boys” whenever former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani was around at the White House.
Read the rest of the article to learn why Stone and Flynn could have given Trump information about what the Oathkeepers and Proud Boys were planning for January 6.
If you’re interested, you can also check out Bernard Gellman’s deep dive into Michael Flynn’s fall from grace at The Atlantic: What Happened to Michael Flynn?
One more from CNN on the DOJ investigation: Oath Keeper members brought explosives to DC area around January 6 and had a ‘death list,’ prosecutors say.
The Justice Department released new details Friday evening of the alleged extensive planning by the Oath Keepers to prepare for violence in Washington, DC, on January 6, 2021, including lessons to conduct “hasty ambushes,” a “death list” of Georgia election officials and attempts to acquire homemade firearms.
The details, many of which have not been alleged publicly before, were revealed in a court filing from the government, which includes a list of evidence that prosecutors intend to use against the Oath Keepers during their trial in September.
Prosecutors will attempt to prove that nine Oath Keepers charged with seditious conspiracy — Stewart Rhodes, Kelly Meggs, Kenneth Harrelson, Jessica Watkins, Roberto Minuta, Joseph Hackett, David Moerschel, Thomas Caldwell, and Edward Vallejo — extensively prepared for violence and plotted to stop Joe Biden from assuming the presidency.
All nine have pleaded not guilty and have denied allegations of preparing for or participating in violence on January 6. CNN has reached out to their attorneys for comment.
The Justice Department has also secured at least seven cooperation agreements from members of the Oath Keepers, three of whom pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy. A number of the cooperators are named in the new filing and had close contacts with the Oath Keepers heading to trial….
Among the new details in the government’s allegations is a document with the words “DEATH LIST” that the government says it found in Oath Keeper Thomas Caldwell’s home through a search warrant in the weeks after January 6.
The handwritten list included the name of a Georgia 2020 election official and their family member who, according to the new court filing, were both targets of “unfounded conspiracy theories that they were involved in voter fraud.”
Read the rest at CNN.
Can you tell I’m looking forward to next week’s hearings? I know there’s plenty of other news, so please feel free to post about any topic in the comment thread. Have a great weekend!