Pat Cipollone in History
Post # 101, Bob McKnight's Political Commentary
Pat Cipollone is a government employee, serving as the White House General Counsel. He is smart--Class Valedictorian from Fordham University and Editor of the Law Review at the University of Chicago School of Law. He was a partner in the mega D.C. firm of Kirland and Ellis. So he knows the law.
Impeachment is the grand daddy of all trials. In a trial, the objective is to get to the truth, wherever it leads you, and fairly judge the accused. The two key words are truth and fair. Witness that help get to the truth are imperative. Pat Cipollone presented President Trump's defense against the Articles of Impeachment passed by the House of Representatives. He said he felt the House failed to prove his case and he and the Senate had no responsibility to call any witnesses.
In response the House said President Trump declared Executive Privilege which precluded any of the key witnesses testifying. The House could have tested that assertion in court, but that would have taken the Impeachment up to or even past the November election. That was a political calculation made by the Democrats.
In the meantime, a draft manuscript of a book by National Security Adviser John Bolton was reviewed and not coincidentally released by the New York Times in which Bolton is said to state that Cipollone was present when President Trump told Bolton to pressure Ukraine to get dirt on the Bidens. The White House had the Bolton transcript since December, 2019, so they and Cipollone should have known about it, long before the start of the trial. Cipollone has neither confirmed or denied that he was a witness to what is allegedly an illegal act at the center of the Impeachment. If it is true, Cipollone's presence casts a clear conflict of interest that he did not disclose. He could not present the President's case fairly without disclosing his presence in that meeting, if it was true.
The Supreme Court Justice, supervising the Impeachment Trial, could investigate the matter, call witnesses, or even declare a mistrial. The House Managers could ask the Democratic Senators to move for a mistrial. None of that will probably happen. The Senators can count.
This disclosure, if true, taints the whole Senate trial and could be a very serious charge against Cipollone by the Courts and the Bar. History may very well say, Donald Trump's Impeachment, Not Guilty by among other factors, the conflict of Pat Cipollone.