House investigators examining last year’s attack on the US Capitol have set their sights on a figure they deem crucial to discerning former President Trump’s actions through the long hours of the riot: Trump’s former lead attorney.
Pat Cipollone, who served as White House counsel for the final half of Trump’s tenure, has emerged in recent days as a central player in the behind-the-scenes drama that unfolded at the White House on Jan. 6, 2021, after a mob of Trump supporters had breached the Capitol and a team of Trump’s increasing frantic aids scrambled to convince a reluctant president to call them off.
During Tuesday’s revealing hearing on Capitol Hill, Cassidy Hutchinson, the former lead adviser to Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows, said Cipollone had foreshadowed trouble on Jan. 6 days in advance, and grew furious during the attack when Trump and Meadows took no steps to curb the violence, even as the mob was threatening to kill Vice President Mike Pence.
“Mark, something needs to be done or people are going to die and the blood is going to be on your effing hands,” Cipollone warned Meadows, according to Hutchinson’s firsthand account.
Cipollone appears to be a useful foil to Meadows. Both men had front-row visibility to the numerous plots to keep the president in power. But where the committee has cast Meadows as a servile Trump loyalist, they’ve made clear they see Cipollone as being one of the few inner-circle figures to protest the president’s bellicose plans for Jan. 6, including his persistent intention to march with his supporters to the Capitol that day.
“Please make sure we don’t go up to the Capitol, Cassidy,” Hutchinson told the select committee, relaying Cipollone’s plea to her the morning of Jan. 6. “Keep in touch with me. We’re going