It was unpatriotic, it was un-American, and you were watching the Capitol building get defaced over a lie.Cassidy Hutchinson, former aide to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, in testimony during the House Select Committee hearing on the events of January 6, 2021.
Why It Matters: In the sixth hearing held by the House Select Committee investigating these events, Hutchinson shared details suggesting Pres. Trump knew about the potential for violence at the Capitol before January 6. While the House Select Committee is not a legal body (and not able to indict someone on a crime), the committee can make referrals to the Justice Department to do so. We do not know if/when that might happen.
Perspective: “‘There’s still a lot of uncertainty about the question of criminal intent when it comes to a president, but what just happened changed my bottom line,’ said Alan Rozenshtein, a former Justice Department official who teaches at the University of Minnesota Law School. ‘I have gone from Trump is less than likely to be charged to he is more than likely to be charged.'” (New York Times)
“‘Until this point, we had not seen proof that he knew about the violence,’ said Daniel Goldman, a former federal prosecutor who served as the lead counsel during Mr. Trump’s first impeachment. ‘The testimony made very clear he was not only entirely aware of the threat, but wanted armed people to march to the Capitol. He was even willing to lead them.'” (New York Times)
- Hutchinson was a former aide to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
- The House Select Committee said security was aware that some of the individuals arriving for the rally were armed. Hutchinson testified that when Pres. Trump was informed of this, he said he still wanted these people to be let into the area where he was speaking. Hutchinson testified via video interview: “… I overheard the president say something to the effect of: ‘I … don’t care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me … Let my people in. They can march to the Capitol from here …'” (37:10 – 37:30)
- Hutchinson also testified about what happened at the White House during the attack on the Capitol. She stated that when Meadows was told by then White House Counsel (lead legal advisor) Pat Cippollone that rioters had arrived at the Capitol and they needed to see Pres. Trump, Meadows reportedly said that Pres. Trump “doesn’t want to do anything …” (1:28:24 – 1:28:36).
- Hutchinson also recalled Cippollone remarking on the president wanting to march with the rally attendees to the Capitol, saying: “We’re going to get charged with every crime imaginable.”
- Hutchinson described a story told to her which said that after President Trump tried to persuade Secret Service to take him to the Capitol after his speech on January 6th, but was denied, he reportedly tried to grab the car’s steering wheel to insist he would be taken to the Capitol. This account has been disputed by an anonymous source to the AP.
- The hearing focused on the language Pres. Trump used (and did not use) before and throughout the attack on the Capitol and how that impacted what happened that day. After January 6, several members of the administration resigned; the Committee shared an excerpt from former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ letter of resignation: “There is no mistaking the impact your rhetoric had on the situation, and it is the inflection point for me.”
- The Associated Press reported: “Trump denied much of what Hutchinson said on his social media platform, Truth Social … ‘I hardly know who this person, Cassidy Hutchinson, is,’ Trump wrote, calling her a ‘total phony’ and ‘bad news.'”
Aide: Trump dismissed Jan. 6 threats, wanted to join crowd (Associated Press)
Click HERE to watch the hearing in full, and to access the previous hearings from the House Select Committee.
by Jenna Lee,