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Trump White House counsel Pat Cipollone testifies before federal grand jury

(WASHINGTON) — Two top Trump White House lawyers testified Friday before a federal grand jury investigating the events surrounding the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, sources familiar with the matter told ABC News.

Former White House counsel Pat Cipollone and his deputy Pat Philbin were spotted at D.C. District Court on Friday.

Their appearances come as a result of a secret court battle between former President Donald Trump and the Department of Justice, sources said. Trump’s lawyers had argued that testimony by his former top White House aides was protected by privilege but the judge ruled against Trump’s team and ordered the two men to appear.

Both Cipollone and Philbin appeared before the grand jury in September but declined to answer some questions until the privilege matter was resolved, sources told ABC News at the time.

A representative for Cipollone and Philbin did not respond to a request for comment.

The move to originally subpoena the two men had signaled a dramatic escalation in the Justice Department’s investigation into the Jan. 6 attack. The recent appearances also show that newly appointed Special Counsel Jack Smith has not slowed any investigative efforts into both the events surrounding Jan. 6 and Trump’s handling of government documents, some of which were marked as classified.

ABC News has previously reported that Cipollone and Philbin have also sat for interviews with the FBI related to the documents found at Mar-a-Lago.

This week, three aides to Trump including his former social media director Dan Scavino, former deputy director of presidential advance William Russell and Beau Harrison appeared before a grand jury investigating Trump’s handling of classified documents found at his Mar-a-Lago estate, according to sources familiar with their appearances.

A lawyer representing them declined to comment.

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