Jan 6 subpoenas suggest ‘tough look’ at Trump, says ex-lawyer general Bill Barr

Former U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr has said federal grand jury subpoenas over the Jan. 6 Capitol riots imply a “tough look” at Donald Trump and “the people immediately around him.”

Mr. Barr also mentioned in an interview with CBS News on Friday that the handing out of the subpoenas was a “significant event.”

Last week, the federal grand jury investigating the January 6 Uprising in the Capitol subpoenaed former White House counsel Pat Cipollone and his top deputy Patrick Philbin, suggesting an intensified investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Mr. Cipollone was also part of the legal team that defended Mr. Trump in his first impeachment trial against the House in 2020.

This recent grand jury activity suggested that prosecutors view the then-closest advisers to the former president as potentially vital witnesses.

“This suggests to me that they are looking closely at the group at the top, including the president and the people around him who were involved,” Barr said.

The former US Attorney General has been widely regarded as one of Mr Trump’s most loyal administrative officers.

But he was critical of the former president’s actions on January 6, even calling claims that the 2020 elections were fraudulent “bulls***”.

The grand jury meets once a week, with Marc Short — former chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence — testifying in late July and also interviewing Greg Jacob, Mr. Pence’s chief adviser, according to The Washington Post.

In the investigations, prosecutors are reportedly investigating communications from those close to Mr Trump and his reelection campaign.

While both Mr. Cipollone and Mr. Philbin would have known about private conversations with Mr. Trump, administrative law can protect a president’s ability to get candid advice from advisers without fear of immediate disclosure.

When Mr Cipollone was interviewed privately by a separate House committee last month, he declined to discuss his talks with Mr Trump, citing administrative law.

But Barr suspects prosecutors are “trying to rule on the issue of administrative law.”

“That’s kind of the biggest mountain they have to climb, and the fact that they’re starting that suggests to me that they want a final solution — not just about Cipollone — but you know, this would affect [former White House chief of staff Mark] Meadows and some other people too,” Barr said.

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