Cassidy Hutchinson: Remember The Name

It’s time to Break It Down!

The House select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol resumed its public hearings June 9, 2022. The first hearing, conducted July 27, 2021, featured emotional testimony from several law enforcement officers on duty defending the Capitol on that day. 

After nearly 10 and a half months of information gathering, including interviewing over 900 witnesses, and assembling more than 10,000 documents, the committee announced it would “present previously unseen material documenting” the events of January 6. After preliminarily scheduling a break for the July 4th holiday, the committed announced Monday that it would hold its sixth hearing yesterday to consider recently obtained evidence on the attack.

During the hearing, Cassidy Hutchinson, a top aide to Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, delivered two hours of compelling, sometimes riveting testimony. Nicholas Wu wrote a piece in Politico yesterday, elevating 5 stunning moments from Ms. Hutchinson’s interview. To be sure, there were other damning revelations, but these 5 points more than adequately frame the callous disregard the former President showed for sober restraint, propriety, and the orderly transition of power spelled out in the United States Constitution. Ms. Hutchinson expounded on her knowledge of Mr. Trump’s post-election campaign to hold onto power – from his desire to go to the Capitol as unrest by his supporters became a riot, to his efforts to allow armed rallygoers to join him on the Ellipse hours before the attack.

Trump lunging for the Beast’s wheel

First, Ms. Hutchinson shared that she’d heard from Tony Ornato, a top presidential security official, about an altercation on January 6, as Mr. Trump continually pressed to go to the Capitol following his “Stop the Steal” rally on the Ellipse. When Mr. Trump was advised that he would be returning to 1600 PA Ave. instead of going to the Capitol, while riding in “the Beast,” he became irate.

She said she was told by Ornato that Mr. Trump lunged for the steering wheel of the car and was physically restrained by the head of his Secret Service detail, Robert Engel.

Mr. Ornato “described (Trump) as being irate. The president said something to the effect of, ‘I am the fucking president. Take me up to the Capitol now,’” Ms. Hutchinson said. She added that while Ornato relayed this story, Mr. Engel sat silent.

Trump throwing food at the wall

Second, Ms. Hutchinson related that, after then-Attorney General Barr gave an interview to The Associated Press in December 2020 saying there was no widespread voter fraud, Mr. Trump was so enraged that he threw his plate at the wall, smearing it with ketchup.

“There was ketchup dripping down the wall and a shattered porcelain plate on the floor.” Ms. Hutchinson testified nearby aides conveyed the president was “extremely angry” about the Barr interview. She told the committee she then grabbed a towel and started wiping the ketchup off the wall alongside a presidential valet.

A call from ‘angry’ McCarthy

Third, Ms. Hutchinson recounted House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy called her on January 6 to relay his concern that Mr. Trump would try to come to the Capitol after the then-president mentioned it on a stage at the Ellipse rally.

“He sounded rushed and frustrated and angry,” Ms. Hutchinson said, adding that the California Republican told her Trump had offered assurances for a week that he would not be coming to the Capitol on January 6. Mr. McCarthy then asked Ms. Hutchinson, as she remembered it: “Why would you lie to me?”

“Figure it out,” she said Mr. McCarthy told her on January 6, as Congress prepared to certify the 2020 election results. “Do not come up here.”

A spokesperson for Mr. McCarthy did not immediately return a request for comment about Ms. Hutchinson’s recounting of the call.

Meadow’s warning – then non-reaction

Fourth, Ms. Hutchinson disclosed that Chief of Staff Meadows, her boss at the time, told her on January 2 that “things might get real, real bad” four days later. However, four days later, on January 6, when he was told the Capitol Police were being overrun, she recalled that he “almost had a lack of reaction.”

“I remember him saying something to the effect of, ‘How much longer does the president have left in his speech?’” She had to wait about 20 to 25 minutes to talk to Mr. Meadows that afternoon while he was on a call in a secure vehicle.

“It wasn’t something he regularly did.”

Trump OK’ing weapons at ‘Stop the Steal’

Fifth, Ms. Hutchinson divulged that just minutes before Mr. Trump took the stage at the Ellipse rally of his supporters on January 6, 2021 – a gathering to amplify his baseless election fraud claims, a rally that he vowed would be “wild,” and that later metastasized into the Capitol riot – that she heard Mr. Trump urging the Secret Service to remove security magnetometers and let in people with weapons.

His rationale, as she recalled it, was allowing in armed rallygoers because, “they’re not here to hurt me.”

Mr. Trump wanted the rally space to be full and “for people to not feel excluded,” and was “fucking furious” people were turned away. 

Suffice it to say, Mr. Trump denied it all, and in his standard disclaimer said, he barely knew who Hutchinson was…but he’d heard only bad things about her. “Cassidy Hutchinson: Remember The Name!”

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Bowers’ Story: The Receipts Come Rolling In

It’s time to Break It Down!

Yesterday, another iteration of the January 6 Panel interviews unfolded. As I’ve noted in the past, there are occasions when the story is the story, and no interpretation or extrapolation is necessary. This is one of those instances. With that in mind, I pulled one rendition of yesterday’s J6 Committee hearings from KOLD News 13 in Tucson, AZ. The details follow below.

The House 1/6 committee outlined on Tuesday Donald Trump’s relentless pressure to overturn the 2020 presidential election, aiming to show it led to widespread personal threats on the stewards of American democracy — election workers and local officials who fended off the defeated president’s efforts.

The hearing opened with chilling accounts of the barrage of verbal attacks facing state and local elected officials, including Arizona’s Republican House Speaker Rusty Bowers who said he was subject to a “disturbing” smear campaign online, bull-horn protests at his home, and a pistol-wielding man taunting his family and neighbors.

Speaker Bowers tells the Jan. 6 committee about groups that regularly show up at his house.

The panel investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack at the U.S. Capitol resumed with a focus on Trump’s efforts to undo Joe Biden’s victory in the most local way — by leaning on officials in key battleground states to reject ballots outright or to submit alternative electors for the final tally in Congress. The pressure was fueled by the defeated president’s false claims of voter fraud which, the panel says, led directly to the riot at the Capitol.

Chairman Bennie Thompson declared, “A handful of election officials in several key states stood between Donald Trump and the upending of American democracy.”

We fought Trump pressure, GOP state officials tell 1/6 panel

Moments before Speaker Bower’s testimony Monday, Trump issued a statement calling Bowers a “RINO” or a Republican in name only, a term often used by members of the party to those who are not seen as conservative enough. Trump also wrote that Bowers had previously told him that the election was rigged and that he, indeed, “won Arizona.”

Arizona Speaker of the House Rusty Bowers is the latest RINO to play along with the Unselect Committee. In November 2020, Bowers thanked me for getting him elected. He said he would have lost, and in fact expected to lose, if I hadn’t come along. During the conversation, he told me that the election was rigged and that I won Arizona. He said he got more votes than I did which could never have happened. In fact, he said without me, he would have been out of office, and he expected to be prior to my coming along, and big Arizona rallies. The night before the election he walked outside with his wife and saw the tremendous Trump enthusiasm and told her, “You know what? Maybe I will win after all”—and he did. Bowers should hope there’s not a tape of the conversation.

Former President Donald Trump on the morning of Bower’s testimony

Speaker Bowers fired back at the claim by the former President telling the panel “anywhere, anyone, anytime has said that I said the election was rigged, that would not be true.”

Bowers walked through an account of being called by Trump on a Sunday after returning from church when the defeated president laid out his proposal to have the state replace its electors for Joe Biden with those favoring Trump. “I said, Look, you’re asking me to do something that is counter to my oath,” Bowers testified before the committee. Bowers insisted on seeing Trump’s evidence of voter fraud, which he said Trump’s team never produced beyond vague allegations. He recalled Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani at one point told him, “‘We’ve got lots of theories, we just don’t have the evidence.’”

Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers (R-Mesa) told U.S. House committee members that anyone who claims he said the election was rigged is lying.

Trump wanted Bowers to hold a hearing at the state Capitol, but the Republican leader said there was already a “circus” atmosphere over the election. The panel showed video footage of protesters at the Arizona state house including a key figure, the horned-hat wearing Jacob Chansley, who was later arrested at the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riot.

Trump nevertheless pressed the Arizona official, including in a follow-up call, suggesting he expected a better response from a fellow Republican. But Bowers testified under oath that because of his faith, including a belief the U.S. Constitution is divinely inspired, what the president was asking him to do was “foreign to my very being.”

Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, the panel’s vice chair, embraced Bowers during a break in the hearing. She implored Americans to pay attention to the evidence being presented, declaring, “Donald Trump didn’t care about the threats of violence. He did not condemn them, he made no effort to stop them.” “We cannot let America become a nation of conspiracy theories and thug violence.”

The public hearing, the fourth by the panel this month, stemmed from its yearlong investigation into Trump’s unprecedented attempt to remain in power, a sprawling scheme that the chairman of the Jan. 6 committee has likened to an “attempted coup.” There will be more. But for now, consider “Bowers’ Story: The Receipts Come Rolling In!”

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Juneteenth: Why It Matters

It’s time to Break It Down!

I’m sure there are Americans who’ve never heard of it, though the number is likely decreasing each year. As we delve further into the digital age, all variety of media explore more deeply, almost every topic known to man. Juneteenth certainly falls into that category.

To be clear, Juneteenth is an American federal holiday commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. The backstory on how Juneteenth came to be a thing in the first place is prima facie evidence of why the term American Exceptionalism is oxymoronic, in both derivation, and in contemporary assertion.

A year ago, on June 15, 2021, the Senate unanimously approved a resolution establishing June 19th as Juneteenth National Independence Day, a US holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.

Momentum for this legislation had been increasing since the spate of Black Lives Matter protests, sparked by the police killing of George Floyd, and Democrats taking over Congress and the White House after the November 2020 Election. However, Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson spiked the bill in 2020, saying it would cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Johnson relented on his opposition last year, despite lingering concerns. He said:

“Although I strongly support celebrating Emancipation, I objected to the cost and lack of debate. While it still seems strange that having taxpayers provide federal employees paid time off is required to celebrate the end of slavery, it is clear that there is no appetite in Congress to further discuss this matter.”

The measure was overwhelmingly approved by the House on June 16, 2021, and then signed into law by President Biden a day later, June 17, 2021.

In the beginning, Major General Gordon Granger announced in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, the end of slavery, in accord with President Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Initially issued September 22, 1862, the Proclamation went into effect January 1, 1863. Slave owners in Texas had for two and a half years, somehow managed not to pass that information along to their enslaved population. Hence, the oxymoronic utilization of the term American Exceptionalism, dating all the way back to the 19th Century. Go figure. 

Juneteenth became a state holiday in Texas in 1980. With Governor Kristi Noem’s signing of a bill in South Dakota on February 11, 2022, every state in the Union commemorates the day, though only a few states observe it as a paid holiday.

Senators Ed Markey, D-MA, and John Cornyn, R-TX, along with Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, D-TX are among the members of Congress who spearheaded the initiative to make Juneteenth the 12th federal holiday. It’s about time. “Juneteenth: Why It Matters!”

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Inflation And Gas Prices Are High; So Are Retirement Accounts And Millennial Home Ownership

It’s time to Break It Down!

There is a woebegone narrative that suggests the United States has gone to hell in a handbasket. The story is built upon a framework that accurately points to an inflation rate unseen since the 80’s, and to record high gasoline prices, both legitimate causes for alarm and distress.

But that’s not the end of the story. In fact, quiet as it’s kept, tens of millions of American households are thriving at the highest level in decades.

Why is that significant? High gas prices, stock market volatility and inflation are hiding the reality that the economy is working for a high swath of Americans – and has richly bolstered their nest eggs.

Here’s something rare these days – a parade of encouraging news:

Houses: It’s hard to find one to buy –  and the 66% of Americans who do own homes are seeing the values soar. The middle class has made an enormous $2.1 trillion from homeownership in the past 10 years, Fortune reports.

Retirement accounts: Despite the recent sell-off, they’ve been fattened by the stock market. Moreover, the share of people who say they expect to work past their early 60’s has dropped below 50% for the first time.

Jobs: Today there are 11.4 million job openings. The current unemployment rate is 3.68% – back to pre-pandemic lows.

Safety nets68% of Americans say they have cash for a rainy day.

Millennial homeownership: It’s at 43%, up from 37% last year.

Reality check: There’s still plenty of pain in this economy – likely with much more to come.

The tight housing market is pricing out millions of renters and potential buyers.

Rising prices – at the pump and in the grocery store – are draining wallets.

That helps explain one of the bigger polling conundrums we’ve seen:

We think things are going fine for us, but terribly for America. 78% of Americans are confident in their personal financial well-being, but only 24% are confident in the financial well-being of the U.S., per Federal Reserve data reported by the Atlantic’s Derek Thompson.

The bottom line: Things haven’t been so good for many decades, Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research told The New York Times:

“You’d have to go back to the late 1990’s to find a similar era. Before that, the 1960s.”

At the end of the day, there is no getting around the fact that these are challenging times. But let’s be clear, these are not Dickensian “Worst of times.” Remember to appreciate the balance of the universe. “Inflation and Gas Prices Are High; So Are Retirement Accounts and Millennial Home Ownership!”

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Memorial Day: What Your Teacher Never Taught You! (Edition VI)

It’s time to Break It Down!

(Please enjoy a reprised edition of “Break It Down!” This post was originally published May 30, 2012 at:, reposted May 27, 2015 at as Memorial Day: What Your Teacher Never Told You!, again on May 31, 2017, on May 29, 2019, and last on May 27, 2020.)

This year, the third consecutive month of May we’ve experienced some degree of COVID 19, we were presented with, what for most of us was no longer unique, but still somewhat different Memorial Day. It’s been more than a century since the United states has been caught up in a worldwide pandemic, the likes of the novel coronavirus. As such, most Americans have never experienced anything quite like what we’ve been dealing with for nearly the past two and a half years.  But this is not a post about the so-called, “invisible enemy.” While we are in a much better place than when I logged this post in 2020, there is still much work to be done. There have been two doses of the vaccine, and two boosters to date. The rate has fallen precipitously since its peak, but as summer approaches, cases are rising again in many states, including here in North Carolina. More about all that in another post. Maybe.

OK, so Memorial Day was earlier this week.  You may be familiar with my holiday week philosophy, which is: make it easy on the readers, who are always otherwise engaged, no matter the holiday.  Of course, in the process, I am also giving myself a break.  That makes for a natural win-win scenario.

With that overarching thought in mind, I will endeavor to apply three elementary rules of communication:

  1. Utilize the KISS PrincipleAKAKeep It Short & Simple (also Keep It Simple Stupid)
  2. Convey new or “not widely circulated” information
  3. Always remember to emphasize points and 2 above

Memorial Day is a federal holiday to honor America’s fallen soldiers.  It originated after the Civil War.  Falling between Easter and Independence Day, it is often equated with a late spring break, or a pre-summer respite.

The weekend typically includes a cornucopia of sports.  For example this week included the NASCAR Coca-Cola 600the NBA PlayoffsCollege Men’s Baseball playoffs, and College Women’s Softball competition, among others. I mentioned COVID-19 earlier, right? Scratch the sporting events.

Historically, there have been a plethora of activities thrown into the mix. As a result, the holiday is sometimes almost lost in the shuffle. That was less problematic this year. But wait; Memorial Day has a special cultural significance.  In fact, it is because of that nexus we should pay special homage to this late spring holiday.

The first well-known observance of a Memorial Day type was held May 1, 1865 in Charleston, South Carolina.  Over 250 Union soldiers that had been prisoners of war, died in Charleston, and were quickly buried in makeshift graves. A group of blacks, mostly freedmen, organized the observance and led cleanup and landscaping of the burial site.

Most of the nearly 10,000 people who attended were freedmen and their families.  Of that number, 3.000 were children, newly enrolled in freedman’s schools.  Mutual aid societies, black ministers, and white Northern missionaries were also in attendance.

David W. BlightProfessor of American History at Yale University, and Director of the school’s Gilder-Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, & Abolition, described the day this way:

“This was the first Memorial Day. African Americans invented Memorial Day in Charleston, South Carolina. What you have there is black Americans recently freed from slavery announcing to the world with their flowers, their feet, and their songs what the War had been about. What they basically were creating was the Independence Day of a Second American Revolution.”

Professor Blight conceded there is no evidence that the Charleston event led directly to the establishment of Memorial Day across the country.  But the record is clear they formed the earliest truly large-scale event, complete with media coverage.  Their effort was the prototype, if not the catalyst.

Having said that, I believe I honored the rules established above for this post:

  • Told this story in a direct and uncomplicated fashion
  • Presented information I am confident most readers did not know
  • Recognized points and 2, were accomplished and closed the post

Enjoy your bonus time, and be sure to reflect on “Memorial Day: What Your Teachers Never Told You! (Edition VI)”

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