Donald Trump’s White House counsel and his top deputy will appear before a federal jury Friday investigating efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, a person familiar with the matter said Thursday.
Pat Cipollone was the top White House lawyer at the end of the administration as Trump and his allies sought ways to overturn the election results, culminating in the storming of Capitol Hill on January 6, 2021.
Cipollone strongly resisted efforts to undo the vote, saying he did not believe there was enough fraud to have affected the outcome of the race won by Democrat Joe Biden.
He and Patrick Philbin, a deputy White House counsel who will also appear before the grand jury, have already cooperated with the investigation being conducted by a separate House committee.
The person who confirmed Cipollone and Philbin’s grand jury appearances was not authorized to discuss the matter and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. ABC News was the first outlet to report on the matter. Justice Department spokesmen declined to comment.
The grand jury hearings underscore how the Justice Department is seeking the cooperation of top White House officials and advisers who opposed efforts to nullify the ballots.
Federal prosecutors have particularly focused on a scheme by Trump allies to elevate fake voters in key states won by Biden as a way to subvert the vote.
Parts of Cipollone’s private hearing with the House investigative committee have been highlighted in hearings in recent weeks. Lawmakers aired videos of him arguing at a heated White House meeting in December 2020 during which Trump aides and outside advisers debated a proposed executive order calling for the seizure of voting machines.
“The federal government taking over the voting machines? That is a terrible idea for the country. That’s not how we do things in America,” Cipollone testified, adding, “I don’t even understand why we have to tell them why it’s a bad idea for the country.”
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