Who is Pat Cipollone?
Cipollone is a long-time conservative lawyer who served as Trump’s White House Counsel for two years, representing him during his impeachment.
In December 2020, Cipollone strongly advised Trump to accept the results of the 2020 election and stop taking advice from those encouraging him to pursue claims of election fraud without any evidence.
Finally, he told Trump, Guiliani, and Powell, who were all claiming election fraud, that they had to “put up or shut up.”
Pat Cipollone served as White House Counsel from 2018 through the end of the Trump administration. He defended Trump during his first impeachment in 2019 and was present at many of Trump’s meetings following the 2020 election.
Cipollone is a key witness for the January 6th committee, given his proximity to the President following the election and his role as counsel.
Prior to serving President Trump, Cipollone worked for Attorney General Bill Barr at the Justice Department, and served as in-house counsel for the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal organization. He is an established lawyer in conservative D.C. circles, and is even Fox News host Laura Ingram’s spiritual Godfather, whom she chose as her mentor during her conversion to Catholicism.
Cipollone is a devout Catholic, and as described by former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), “puts biblical perspectives on everything.” In 2018, Trump described Cipollone as “the strong, silent type.”
Commitment to Democracy
During the 2018 impeachment, Cipollone wrote to Congressional Democrats that, “put simply, you seek to overturn the results of the 2016 election and deprive the American people of the President they have freely chosen.”
In 2022, testifying to the bipartisan committee to investigate January 6th, Cipollone is once again fighting to protect the American people’s right to a President they have freely chosen.
Advising Trump After the 2020 Election
After Attorney General Bill Barr’s conclusion that there was no significant voter fraud in the 2020 election, Cipollone accepted the election results. After December 14th, when states certified their results, Cipollone believed Trump should have conceded the election, despite other Trump advisors like Rudy Guiliani and Sidney Powell arguing otherwise.
“Did I believe he should concede the election at a point in time? Yes, I did,” Cipollone testified under oath to the January 6th Committee.
Cipollone also advised against a plan Sidney Powell proposed of seizing Dominion voting machines, stating, “that's a terrible idea for the country. That's not how we do things in the United States. There's no legal authority to do that. I don't understand why we even have to tell you why that's a bad idea for the country.”
“Put Up or Shut Up”
On December 18th, 2020, President Trump met with a group of allies who supported his unfounded election fraud claims and effort to overturn the election. Included in this meeting was Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, election lawyer Sidney Powell, former national security advisor Michael Flynn, and former Overstock CEO Patrick Bryne.
The meeting, which began without any White House staffer present, was quickly interrupted by Cipollone, who “was not happy to see the people who were in the Oval Office.”
He testified that he did not believe “any of these people were providing the president with good advice … I didn't understand how they had gotten in."
Cipollone testified that the group was pitching a wide range of conspiracy theories, claiming there was “a general disregard for the importance of actually backing up what you say,” among the group. When pushed back against by Cipollone, no evidence was presented.
Cipollone and other staffers interviewed by the committee reported the meeting was tense and full of shouting between both sides. When Cipollone and others on Trump’s team, such as Eric Herschmann, pushed back against Trump, Powell, and Giuliani’s baseless claims, the President said to Powell in frustration, “you see what I deal with? I deal with this all the time.”
After the 2020 election, Cipollone knew and followed the law, and said of baseless claims of fraud, “at some point you have to put up or shut up.” Cipollone, just like Rusty Bowers, never saw Powell, Giuliani or Trump “put up.”