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!”
I’m done; holla back!
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