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Bolton says Cipollone should testify before Jan. 6 committee

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Former national security adviser John Bolton thinks the man who was White House counsel on Jan. 6, 2021, Pat Cipollone, should appear before the House select committee investigating the assault on the U.S. Capitol that day. His comments come after former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson told the committee that Cipollone raised multiple concerns about former President Trump's actions in the days before and after January 6.

"Pat should testify," Bolton told CBS News' Catherine Herridge in an interview Friday.

Bolton said he wasn't surprised when he heard Hutchinson tell the committee that on the morning of Jan. 6, Cipollone said "We're going to get charged with every crime imaginable" if Trump goes to the Capitol with his supporters.

"Like all of us who worked closely with the president for some period of time, you know you're going to get a very negative reaction when the president didn't hear what he wanted to hear," Bolton told Herridge. "But I think Cipollone was fully capable of telling him, 'You're crossing the line.'"

Cipollone succeeded Don McGahn as White House counsel in 2018, while Bolton was national security adviser to then-President Trump. 

Though Bolton departed the White House by November 2019, he's familiar with not only Cipollone, but also with Tony Ornato, the White House aide who disputes parts of the shocking testimony by Hutchinson. Hutchinson worked for Trump's White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows.

Cassidy Hutchinson, former aide to then White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, speaks during a hearing of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the US Capitol in Washington, D.C., US, on Tuesday, June 28, 2022.  / Credit: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Cassidy Hutchinson, former aide to then White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, speaks during a hearing of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the US Capitol in Washington, D.C., US, on Tuesday, June 28, 2022. / Credit: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Hutchinson told the committee this week that after President Trump's speech on the Ellipse on Jan. 6, she spoke with Ornato, who told her that the president was "irate" in his vehicle when he was told that he would not be able to go to the Capitol, where his supporters were marching.

He said something to the effect of "'I'm the f***ing president — take me up to the Capitol now,'" Hutchinson recalled. She went on to say Ornato told her that when Trump was told he'd have to return to the White House, he reached up to the front of the car to grab at the steering wheel and then lunged toward another person in the car.

According to a source close to the Secret Service, Ornato disputes the testimony about Trump grabbing the person's arm, reaching for the steering wheel and lunging — but he did not deny the president demanded to be taken to the Capitol.

Bolton recalls Ornato as "very professional" and said "he performed his duties not in any partisan manner," and said he believes the committee should hear testimony from Ornato. Ornato has been interviewed by the House select committee behind closed doors, but not in public.

Though Bolton feels that Ornato should appear before the committee, he did not criticize Hutchinson. "She gave very calm and consistent testimony," Bolton said of her appearance.

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