Who is Cassidy Hutchinson and what information did she reveal about the January 6 attack on the Capitol?
A surprise additional public hearing of the January 6 Committee brought shocking testimony about Trump’s actions from a former White house aide.
The House select committee investigating the January 6 attack on Congress called a surprise additional hearing on Tuesday to hear testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson.
Hutchinson served as an executive assistant to Donald Trump’s last chief of staff, Mark Meadows, and as a special assistant to the President himself on occasion. She was in the White House during the chaotic final months of Trump’s presidency and has agreed to cooperate fully with the investigation.
She studied political science and American studies at Christopher Newport University and initially interned at the White House during the Trump administration. She has also interned for House Republican whip Steve Scalise and Sen. Ted Cruz.
The Washington Post has reported that Hutchinson recently split from her old attorney, a former Trump White House ethics lawyer. It is thought that this change was brought about by her desire to testify against the former President.
Three key takeaways from Hutchinson’s January 6 hearing
Trump White House knew about the threat of violence
One of the key aims for the January 6 Committee is to establish that Trump had an active role in allowing violence to take place. A key part of this is proving that he and his team were aware that the threat was there, something that Hutchinson testified to.
She recounts Trump being told that some of his supporters had had weapons confiscated when they passed through metal detectors on their way to the Ellipse, where the President had planned to give a rousing speech.
Trump reportedly told staffers to “take the mags away” - referring to the metal detectors - explaining that those gathered were “not here to hurt me.”
Hutchinson said that Trump barked “I don’t f**king care that they have weapons,” and would later encourage them to march on the Capitol while Congress was in the process of certifying the win for Joe Biden.
Trump was desperate to go to the Capitol with his supporters
Further testimony from Hutchinson confirmed that Trump had insisted to his team that he wanted to travel with his supporters to the Capitol after giving a speech from the White House. She also revealed that Trump’s team were aware of the President’s intention days before.
She testified that Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani told her on January that “we’re going to the Capitol” on January 6, and that Trump would also be there. Trump’s Secret Service detail tried to find a way to get the President safely through hordes of potentially armed supporters, but decided it could not be done.
Hutchinson recounts reports of Trump’s tantrums
After being told that he could not go to the Capitol, Hutchinson adds some astonishing colour to this scene, recounting the experience of someone who was in the presidential limo, also known as the beast.
She said that Tony Ornato, then-White House deputy chief of staff, heard Trump screaming, “I’m the f**king President. Take me up to the Capitol now,” before he “reached up toward the front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel.”
She also claims that Trump “lunged” at Robert Engel, who was the Secret Service agent in charge on 6 January. In her testimony she said that the President had used his free hand to grab Engle, and motioned towards her neck.
A Secret Service official has claimed that Ornato denies telling Hutchinson that Trump grabbed the wheel. Those involved will be called on to testify under oath about what happened.
There was another example of Trump’s instability in December 2020, after Trump saw then-Attorney General William Barr tell the Associated Press that there was no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election.
“The President was extremely angry at the attorney general’s ... interview and had thrown his lunch against the wall,” Hutchinson told the Committee. “I grabbed a towel and started wiping the ketchup off the wall.”