Members of the House Select Committee on Jan. 6 justified their refusal to probe the legitimacy of former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson’s claims last month with arguments that doing so would be against panel policy.
On CNN Sunday, the committee’s Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., acknowledged the panel did not question former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone about remarks Hutchinson attributed to him on the morning of Jan. 6, 2021 (Cipollone had previously spoken with the committee in April, long before Hutchinson’s public testimony). Hutchinson said Cipollone pressured her to keep then-President Donald Trump from going to the Capitol or “we’re going to get charged with every crime imaginable.”
“I saw Mr. Cipollone right before I walked out onto West Exec that morning, and Mr. Cipollone said something to the effect of ‘please make sure we don’t go up to the Capitol, Cassidy. Keep in touch with me,'” Hutchinson said.
Multiple sources told The Federalist, however, that Cipollone was not at the White House on the morning of Jan. 6, 2021. Indiana Rep. Jim Banks, who is leading the Republican investigation of the riot, demanded White House visitation records to investigate Hutchinson’s claims. Banks was previously barred by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi from his appointment as ranking member of the Select Committee.
Lofgren said the Democrats’ probe did not question Cipollone about the remarks in a follow-up interview because it would have run counter to the probe’s operating order.
“We never call in witnesses to corroborate other witnesses or to give their reaction to other witnesses,” Lofgren said.
Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger, one of two Republicans on Pelosi’s Soviet-style inquisition, agreed. “We’re not going to bring somebody in and just sit around and ask them about what other people said, too,” Kinzinger said on ABC’s Sunday political talk show.
At Tuesday’s hearing, however, their colleagues did exactly that, after interviewing Cipollone for eight hours last week.
In her lengthy opening monologue, Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., aired footage of a recent committee interview with Cipollone where lawmakers sat the former White House counsel down and asked him about what other people said. More specifically, Murphy played a clip of Cipollone corroborating what the committee was told about Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller’s views on legal theories from attorney John Eastman. Eastman was the architect of legal maneuvers Trump ordered to delay certification of the electoral college.
Below is the transcript of Tuesday’s testimony from NPR:
STEPHANIE MURPHY: Campaign senior adviser Jason Miller told us that Mr. Cipollone thought John Eastman’s theories were nutty, something Mr. Cipollone wouldn’t refute. [Begin videotape]
UNKNOWN: We’ve received testimony from various people about this. One was Jason Miller, who was a campaign — said that the way it was communicated to me was that Pat Cipollone thought the idea was nutty, and at one point confronted Eastman, basically with the same sentiment, that —
PAT CIPOLLONE: I don’t have a reason to contradict what he said. [End videotape]
In other words, the committee found it perfectly appropriate to ask Cipollone to corroborate what other witnesses said. They simply refused to ask Cipollone about Hutchinson’s testimony, leaving the explosive remarks she attributed to him completely unsubstantiated.