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First on CNN: Former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, former US Sen. Kelly Loeffler testify to grand jury in Georgia investigating 2020 election interference


By Sara Murray, Zachary Cohen and Evan Perez, CNN

Prosecutors in Georgia have secured grand jury testimony from two prominent witnesses — former US Sen. Kelly Loeffler and former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone — in their investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in that state, sources familiar with the matter tell CNN.

Their grand jury appearances in recent months, which have not been previously reported, highlight the wide-ranging investigation underway as Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis probes efforts by former President Donald Trump and his allies to try to keep him in power.

Cipollone was the top White House lawyer at the end of the Trump administration and attended some of the meetings where Trump and his allies discussed ways to push voter fraud allegations and efforts to subvert the election results despite advice from his own Justice Department that their investigations had found no evidence to support the claims of widespread fraud.

Cipollone has provided testimony to the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol, as well as to a federal grand jury in the Justice Department’s criminal investigation, where he invoked Trump’s privilege claims to decline to answer some questions. He declined to comment on questions about the grand jury.

The revelation that Loeffler testified before the grand jury comes as hundreds of Loeffler’s text messages have surfaced, revealing new details about the Georgia Republican’s correspondence about efforts to challenge the election in the months leading up to and immediately following the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol.

Loeffler lost her Senate seat last year in a runoff race to Sen. Raphael Warnock, a Democrat. Loeffler now leads a conservative voter mobilization organization in Georgia.

Loeffler was a staunch Trump ally while serving in Congress as Georgia’s junior senator and prior to the violence on January 6, she planned to vote against certifying her state’s electoral results in support of the former President’s broader effort to upend Joe Biden’s legitimate victory.

After the US Capitol attack, Loeffler backed off her objection, saying on the Senate floor: “When I arrived in Washington this morning, I fully intended to object to the certification of the electoral votes. However, the events that have transpired today have forced me to reconsider, and I cannot now in good conscience object to the certification of these electors.”

In the same speech, Loeffler condemned the violence at the Capitol, calling it “abhorrent.”

It’s unclear what Fulton County prosecutors hoped to glean from Loeffler, as the grand jury proceedings in their wide-ranging investigation are secret.

Loeffler spokeswoman Caitlin O’Dea declined to comment on Loeffler’s grand jury appearance.

Text messages, first reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and also obtained by CNN, reveal that Loeffler appeared to be in direct communication with members of the Trump family in the weeks leading up to January 6, including the former President’s daughter and senior adviser Ivanka.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported it was able to confirm the veracity of the exchanges with four people who were participants in some of the conversations.

Loeffler also received several messages from then Congresswoman-elect Marjorie Taylor Greene during this time, including one asking her to talk “about a plan we are developing on how to vote on the electoral college votes on Jan 6th,” a month before that date, according to the messages obtained by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and CNN.

On December 20, Greene also invited Loeffler to a White House meeting she organized with Trump and other members of Congress who were going to “challenge the Electoral College votes for Biden in several key swing states on January 6,” according to the messages.

A spokesperson for Greene did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The log contains more than 400 text messages and appears to only contain election-related correspondence. The 59-page document was provided to media organizations by an anonymous sender who declined to offer additional details about the source of the communications, which span from early November 2020 to early February 2021.

The document was sent as a report from Cellebrite, a service used by investigators to collect, review and analyze cellphone data, according to the company’s website.

O’Dea slammed the text messages as “unverified content” and called their release “a desperate attempt to distract voters twenty days from the election. As a top Republican donor who’s invested millions to rebuild Georgia’s conservative infrastructure over the last year and a half, the attacks against Kelly are no surprise.”

Jeff DiSantis, deputy district attorney, said Thursday, “The Fulton County District Attorney’s Office has not released any documents related to Senator Kelly Loeffler.” He declined to comment on the grand jury appearances.

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Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

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