The committee was not expected to hold another public session until mid-July but announced, with less than 24 hours’ notice, that it would return to Capitol Hill “to present recently obtained evidence and receive witness testimony”.
Hutchinson’s evidence is significant as she is one of the investigation committee’s closest links to Meadows, who stopped co-operating with it shortly after turning over thousands of text messages last year.
She revealed that Meadows, along with former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, asked for pardons over the Capitol attack, adding their names to a list of other pardon-seeking Republicans, including far-right congressman Matt Gaetz, Pennsylvania’s Scott Perry and representatives Louie Gohmert and Andy Biggs.
As Meadows’ aide, Hutchinson had an office seconds from the Oval Office, and she was often present for critical White House meetings and conversations where challenges to the election were debated.
One conversation took place on January 2, after a meeting between Meadows and Giuliani, in which she said Giuliani told her: “We’re going to the Capitol. It’s going to be great”.
Later, when she asked Meadows what Giuliani meant, Meadows replied that “things might get real, real bad” on January 6.
Hutchinson testified that she became “scared, and nervous for what could happen” as the day neared. Those fears intensified following conversations with White House counsel Pat Cipollone on January 3, who had warned her that if Trump were to go to the Capitol on January 6, “we’re going to get charged with every crime imaginable”.
“‘We need to make sure that this doesn’t happen, this would be a really terrible idea for us. We have serious legal concerns if we go up to the Capitol that day’,” Hutchinson recounted Cipollone saying.
The story of Trump lunging at Engel was relayed to Hutchinson by another White House aide, Tony Ornato, with Engel in the room at the time.
She also recalled Meadows telling Cipollone about the rioters chanting “Hang Mike Pence!” and of Trump reportedly declaring that Pence – who refused to block Biden’s certification that day –“deserves it”.
And she testified how Trump was so enraged by an interview his then attorney-general Bill Barr gave to the Associated Press saying there was no evidence of election fraud that he threw his lunch at the wall. “I first noticed there was ketchup dripping down the wall, and there was a shattered porcelain plate,” she said.
Hutchinson told the committee: “There were several times throughout my tenure with the chief of staff that I was aware of [Trump] either throwing dishes or flipping the tablecloth to let all the contents of the table go onto the floor and likely break or go everywhere.”
This was the sixth public hearing by the committee so far. In each session, it has sought to make the case that Trump had a complex plan to remain in power despite knowing his actions were illegal, and was the person who essentially “lit the fuse” for the deadly attack on the Capitol.
‘I first noticed there was ketchup dripping down the wall, and there was a shattered porcelain plate.’
Cassidy Hutchinson, former aide to Trump’s chief of staff
Much of this was based on an elaborate scheme to overturn the election, which involved assembling a group of pro-Trump electors in key battleground states who could replace genuine Electoral College electors.
These slates of fake electors would then create phoney certificates for Trump that would be transmitted to Washington for counting during the joint session of Congress on January 6.
Trump has consistently denied wrongdoing. However, and during Hutchinson’s testimony, he posted on his social media website, Truth Social, that she was “bad news”.
“I hardly know who this person, Cassidy Hutchinson, is, other than I heard very negative things about her (a total phony and ‘leaker’), and when she requested to go with certain others of the team to Florida after my having served a full term in office, I personally turned her request down,” Trump wrote.
“Why did she want to go with us if she felt we were so terrible? I understand that she was very upset and angry that I didn’t want her to go, or be a member of the team. She is bad news!”
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