White House counsel told staffers to stay away from Trump to avoid treason charges

A Vanity Fair report says that West Wing staffers were told to avoid Trump as the riot raged.

By David Isaac, World Israel News 

As Trump rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol building on Wednesday, some White House staffers were panicked that they were being swept up in a coup. White House Counsel Pat Cipollone told them not to speak to Trump lest they be caught in a treason trial, Vanity Fair‘s Gabriel Sherman reports.

It’s not clear how widely spread the feeling was in the West Wing as the Vanity Fair report bases its information on the word of a friend of a White House staffer, who said “What do I do? Resign?”

“The West Wing staffer told the friend that White House Counsel Pat Cipollone was urging White House officials not to speak to Trump or enable his coup attempt in any way, so they could reduce the chance they could be prosecuted for treason under the Sedition Act,” Sherman reports.

Sherman says the White House declined to respond to the report.

Trump’s bete noire, the Squad, a group of progressive House Democrats, actually have called for Trump’s removal for “open sedition.”

“Cipollone’s purported concern that Trump was committing treason – a federal crime – illustrates the chaos and fear of Wednesday’s unprecedented events,”  according to Sherman.

“At least one staffer isn’t waiting to flee the ship. On Wednesday night, CNN reported that Stephanie Grisham, the former White House communications director and Melania Trump’s current chief of staff, resigned over the Trump-inspired riot,” he writes.

An AP report depicts Trump as slow to respond to the violence, which began after he spoke at a Wednesday rally near the Capitol to protest Congress, which was in the process of certifying the electoral vote count, which it concluded doing early Thursday.

Citing a White House official, AP reports that Trump was “largely disengaged” as a group of his supporters burst into the Capitol and disrupted the debate. One woman, a Trump supporter, was shot and killed by law enforcement. Three others died as well from other causes that were not clear.

Sherman writes that Republicans told him that “Trump wants to blow things up on his way out the door.”