Here's why a CovCath grad and a former Cincinnati mayor have come up at Jan. 6 hearings

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Some names familiar to Greater Cincinnati have come up in testimony before the U.S. House lawmakers investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection. 

One is attorney and 1984 Covington Catholic graduate Pat Cipollone. Another is Ken Blackwell, a former Cincinnati mayor, Ohio secretary of state and treasurer. 

Who is Pat Cipollone?

Pat Cipollone
Pat Cipollone

Cipollone, 56, has become one of the most sought-after witnesses by the House. Jan. 6 committee. That's due to his role as White House counsel during the final two years of President Donald Trump's presidency.

Cipollone has not testified.

Jan. 6 committee Vice Chair Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, indicated there is probably one powerful person standing in the way of Cipollone's testimony.

"Our committee is certain that Donald Trump does not want Mr. Cipollone to testify here," Cheney said.  "Indeed, our evidence shows that Mr. Cipollone and his office tried to do what was right. They tried to stop a number of President Trump's plans for Jan. 6."

In Jan. 2021, Cipollone opposed a plan for Trump to replace the acting attorney general with Jeffrey Clark, the former Department of Justice lawyer who played a key role in Trump's effort to overturn the 2020 election. 

Cipollone was present in a two-and-a-half hour meeting on Jan. 3, 2021 in the Oval Office with Trump to discuss the plan.

According to evidence presented by the committee, Cipollone threatened to resign and reportedly called Clark's plans to pursue unfounded voter fraud allegations a “murder-suicide pact.”

Cipollone, as the top lawyer in Trump's administration, also played a lead role in defending Trump against impeachment. 

Cipollone spent much of his childhood in the Bronx borough of New York City as the son of a factory worker, according to a New York Times profile. When his father was transferred to Kentucky, Cipollone attended Covington Catholic High School.

He then moved back to New York to attend Fordham University.

He has spent most of his 30-year career in Washington and Chicago.

After leaving the White House, Cipollone has returned to private practice, listed on the roster of the firm Ellis George Cipollone O’Brien Annaguey.

Who is Ken Blackwell?

Former Cincinnati Mayor Ken Blackwell has played a smaller role in the Jan. 6 proceedings than Cipollone.

Blackwell, a prominent Ohio Republican and member of Trump's transition team in 2016, penned an email that Cheney presented to the Jan. 6 committee on Thursday. 

"As I stated last week, I believe the VP and his staff would benefit greatly from a briefing by John and Ken," Blackwell wrote in the email according to the presentation to the committee.

The "John" is John Eastman, a Trump attorney who was pressuring then-Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the election. The "Ken" is Department of Justice Kenneth Klukowski, a Department of Justice lawyer working with Clark.

"This email suggests that Mr. Klukowski was simultaneously working with Jeffrey Clark to draft the proposed letter to Georgia officials to overturn their certified election and working with Dr. Eastman to help pressure the vice president to overturn the election," Cheney said Thursday.

While he's not as central of a figure in the Jan. 6 hearings as Cipollone, Blackwell, 74, may be a more recognizable name to Cincinnatians, having been involved in Cincinnati and Ohio politics for 40 years.

An outspoken Republican conservative, he started his political life as a Democrat and then as a Charterite when he was elected to Cincinnati City Council in 1977. He then served as mayor for one year from 1979-1980.

During the administration of President Ronald Reagan, Blackwell switched to Republican. He served as Ohio's secretary of state from 1999-2007.  In that role, Blackwell oversaw the 2004 presidential election in Ohio while serving as Republican George W. Bush's honorary campaign co-chair. Bush won the state and the election. Democrats in political attacks and lawsuits accused Blackwell of vote-suppressing policies favoring Bush.

Blackwell declined comment. Cipollone could not immediately be reached for comment.

USA Today reporters Chelsey Cox, Bart Jansen and Kevin Johnson contributed to this report 

This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Pat Cipollone and Ken Blackwell play a role in Jan. 6 hearings