Trump WH drafts statement attacking Barr after she publicly refutes Trump’s claims of voter fraud, transcript says



CNN

In December 2020, after then-Attorney General William Barr publicly refuted President Donald Trump’s claims that the election was rigged, White House staffers drafted a press release that would have called for the firing of anyone who disagreed with Trump’s claims, according to a new document. transcript of House select committee investigating January 6, 2021.

The draft statement ended with, “Anyone who thinks there was no massive fraud in the 2020 election should be fired,” according to the statement.

The draft statement, which was never sent and had not been disclosed before Friday, was presented during the committee’s deposition of Trump White House counsel Pat Cipollone, according to the transcript. Congressional investigators told him they likely obtained the statement from the National Archives, which turned over documents from the Trump White House.

The committee also said during the Cipollone interview that White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson previously testified that Mark Meadows gave her the draft of the statement, which was a handwritten note, after a meeting from the Oval Office on the same day that Barr made his public comments rebutting Trump. The statement did not appear to explicitly name Barr.

The committee stated that Hutchinson testified that Meadows directed him to seek Cipollone’s approval before posting the statement on social media. The committee said Hutchinson testified that Cipollone’s response was, “God, no.” Cipollone said he had no recollection of the draft statement or the episode.

“By the way, I wasn’t fired,” Cipollone joked to the committee.

Cipollone’s deposition is one of nearly 50 additional transcripts released Friday night by the Jan. 6 committee. The latest batch included interviews with key witnesses, including members of the Trump White House and lawyers who worked for the Trump campaign.

Elaine Chao, who served as Trump’s transportation secretary, said she did not recall discussing the 25th Amendment after the uprising, according to a transcript of her Jan. 6 testimony with the committee released Friday.

Asked by congressional investigators if he had concerns about Trump’s mental fitness, Chao said he didn’t go to many White House meetings late in Trump’s tenure. Chao was careful not to be too critical of Trump in her interview. She said she hadn’t seen him in a while.

“At that time, I had no personal contact with him,” Chao said. “I didn’t go to the White House, there were no meetings, so I hadn’t been very close to him.”

Chao, who resigned on Jan. 6, said he resigned when he realized “the full ramifications of the actions that some people took and the results that occurred.” Asked about Trump’s conduct that day, she said, “I wish he would have acted differently.”

Asked about the inner workings of the Trump White House and who he trusted among his aides and advisers, Chao said, “I’m not so sure he trusted anybody.”

Chao said she doesn’t recall talking to other cabinet members that day, although Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia told the committee he spoke to her.

Ivanka Trump, who served as her father’s senior White House adviser, turned over text messages to the committee on Jan. 6, a newly released transcript of her testimony reveals.

It was not previously known that he provided the text messages to the panel, although video clips of his April statement were played during the committee’s public hearings this summer.

The content of the text messages is still unclear.

The committee’s line of questioning did not delve into the content of her texts, but instead probed her father’s cell phone habits, including whether he ever sent and received text messages. Ivanka Trump said she “never” exchanged text messages with her father on “any device.”

Still, this is the latest example of how the committee obtained a wealth of evidence, including previously unknown material.

Sidney Powell, a conspiracy-trafficking lawyer who helped Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election, said Trump and his allies believed he could not have lost because of his big “demonstrations” and “common sense.” , according to a transcript of his statement. in the Jan. 6 committee published Friday.

He said that was the consensus in the room at a White House meeting he attended with Trump just days after the election. He told the committee that Trump’s then-lawyer Rudy Giuliani was also there along with White House aides, according to the transcript.

“I wanted to know the truth,” Powell said, referring to Trump. “And our general consensus was that the vast majority of people had come out in support of the president. The rallies indicated that. All the information we had indicated that. And the numbers that we saw on election night just didn’t agree with common sense”.

She also claimed that “mathematical geniuses” contacted her to tell her that Joe Biden’s victory was statistically impossible.

The testimony shows just how minuscule the fraud theories emanating from Trump’s orbit were.

Despite their claims, there is no evidence that the outcome of the 2020 election was tainted by widespread fraud or vote manipulation. Many of the Powell conspiracies that have been promoted about the election have been thoroughly debunked.

During the presidential transition, Trump nearly appointed Powell as special counsel to use the federal government’s powers to investigate his baseless theories of voter fraud. Senior White House officials and lawyers vehemently opposed the idea, and it never ended up happening.

Cipollone told the committee on Jan. 6 that “it would have been a disaster” if Trump made Powell a special counsel, according to a transcript of his testimony.

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