January 6th Committee just dealt another big blow to Donald Trump

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Trump White House Counsel Pat Cipollone has caved and will testify to the January 6th Committee this week. It’ll be behind closed doors and videotaped. It’s not yet clear if they’ll also bring him back to testify at an upcoming public hearing, or if they’ll just play video of him. But either way, it’s another win for the committee and another loss for Donald Trump.

Note how Cipollone didn’t even bother fighting the subpoena in court, he simply complied. These things are about timing and leverage. If they had subpoenaed him sooner, he’d have fought it in court and dragged it out indefinitely. But they hit him at the right time and he caved.

So how did the committee wear him down? He seemingly didn’t want the controversy that would come with testifying. So the committee made a point of calling him out during every hearing, such that his silence made him more controversial than if he were testifying.

Once the committee piled on with Hutchinson’s testimony about what Cipollone said and did, it put Cipollone in a position where his only way to stop the simmering controversy surrounding him was to go ahead and testify.

If you want something out of someone, you figure out what they care about most, and you set things up such that them getting what they want just happens to line up with them doing what you want them to do. It’s how the best prosecutors get someone to reluctantly flip.

   

In the end, subpoenaing Cipollone wasn’t about being “aggressive.” The committee had already set the stage such that Cipollone was better off (by his own measure) by testifying than not testifying. The subpoena just gave him cover to tell Trump world he had no choice, and made it an easier choice for him to testify than not to testify.

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