Former Trump White House counsel Pat Cipollone invoked executive privilege in his closed-door interview Friday with the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol despite the panel’s attempts to pose questions that would not have required such a response, according to a person familiar with the interview.
Cipollone, who had previously expressed concerns to the committee about interview questions that might have required him to invoke executive privilege, testified before the committee Friday under a subpoena.
A House select committee spokesperson told CNN the panel’s interview with Cipollone was productive but said there was no agreement made to restrict any questions to avoid potential issues with executive privilege.
“In our interview with Mr. Cipollone, the Committee received critical testimony on nearly every major topic in its investigation, reinforcing key points regarding Donald Trump’s misconduct and providing highly relevant new information that will play a central role in its upcoming hearings. This includes information demonstrating Donald Trump’s supreme dereliction of duty. The testimony also corroborated key elements of Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony. Allegations of some pre-interview agreement to limit Cipillone’s testimony are completely false,” committee spokesperson Tim Mulvey said.
Hutchinson, who was an aide to former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, testified before the January 6 committee last month in a blockbuster hearing in which she described her experience at the White House as someone close to then-President Donald Trump’s inner circle in the days leading up to and including the Capitol Hill riot.
The select committee on Friday also asked Cipollone a series of questions about pardons, including potential pardons for the Trump family and whether Trump wanted to pardon himself, the person familiar said.
Cipollone told the committee that he didn’t believe the 2020 election was stolen but that he thinks Trump did and still does hold that belief, according to the source.
The committee also questioned Cipollone about the pressure campaign toward then-Vice President Mike Pence around his ability to potentially not certify the 2020 election results while presiding over the joint session of Congress on January 6, the source said.
Earlier Friday, 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.
The interview was recorded on video and could be featured at upcoming hearings, including one on Tuesday that will focus on how the violent mob came together and the role of extremist groups, as well as another hearing – which hasn’t yet been scheduled – on the 187 minutes of Trump’s inaction as rioters stormed the US Capitol.
CNN’s Ryan Nobles, Annie Grayer and Zachary Cohen contributed to this report.