Former Trump White House counsel and his deputy enter DC federal courthouse

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Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

CNN  — 

Former Trump White House counsel Pat Cipollone was seen entering the grand jury area at the US District Courthouse in Washington Friday morning, indicating the Justice Department has compelled him to answer more questions in the January 6 criminal investigation despite challenges from Donald Trump’s legal team.

He was seen with his attorney, Michael Purpura. Purpura has not responded to requests for comment.

Former Trump deputy White House counsel Patrick Philbin was also seen entering the building on Friday. He was alone and went directly to the area where the grand jury meets.

Thomas Windom and Mary Dohrmann, prosecutors in the January 6 investigation who are now to be led by special counsel Jack Smith, were also seen walking in with Cipollone. The investigators are looking at efforts to obstruct the transfer of power at the end of Trump’s presidency, and have obtained testimony from several of the closest administration advisers around the former president after the election and as the Capitol was attacked by his supporters.

CNN previously reported that Chief Judge Beryl Howell of the DC District Court, who oversees the federal grand juries in Washington, ordered Cipollone and Philbin to provide additional grand jury testimony this month, following up on their testimony in the fall. The judge has repeatedly rejected Trump’s privilege claims in the Justice Department’s criminal investigation of efforts to overturn the 2020 election, according to people briefed on the matter.