Nel's New Day

June 28, 2022

January 6, 2021 Hearing – June 28, 2022

The sixth hearing by the House January 6 investigative committee provided only one witness in person, Cassidy Hutchinson. As top deputy to the chief of staff Mark Meadows for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) during the insurrection and its leadup, she was in a position to know the palace intrigues: she kept the calendar, attended many meetings, and was on a first-name basis with a majority of the primary players. Before Hutchinson came to the White House, she interned for Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), the current GOP whip, and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). Republicans argue that she is nothing but a “low-level staffer,” but Alyssa Farah, former White House communications director, explained her position in the White House as seeing everything and “always on Air Force One.” Her office is next to that of Meadows and only yards from the Oval Office.

Hutchinson knew that DDT was aware of impending violence days before January 6, approved of it, and ordered his armed supporters to head to the Capitol after the rally. He planned to meet them there despite protests from his aides and Secret Service detail. Denied this opportunity, he tried to get his own way through physical means and protect rioters who chanted “hang Mike Pence” because Pence didn’t follow DDT’s orders to overturn the election.

Today’s testimony moved into the uncharted territory of DDT’s temper and the way he exhibited and approved violence. It threw out the DDT’s claim that the insurrection was “a simple protest that got out of hand.” A chronology of events in Hutchinson’s testimony:

January 2, 2021: DDT’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani mentioned to that “we are going to the Capitol, it’s going to be great, the president is going to be there.” When she asked Meadows what Giuliani meant, her boss warned that “things might get real, real bad on January 6.” Intelligence agencies warned in the next few days that the rally could turn violent, but DDT and Meadows did nothing. Meadows supported DDT’s plan to lead his marchers to the Capitol.  According to Hutchinson, Cipollone said that DDT’s going to the Capitol on January 6 would cause legal problems in crimes such as “obstructing justice” and “defrauding elector count.”

Although Hutchinson didn’t know what was said, Meadows talked with Roger Stone and Michael Flynn on the night of January 5 at DDT’s urging. She said she advised Meadows to go to the Willard Hotel “War Room” that evening. He didn’t go, but “dialed in.” On the morning of January 6, Cipollone told Hutchinson that if DDT marched on the Capitol with his supporters “we’re going to get charged with every crime imaginable if we make that movement happen.”

January 6, 2021—the rally: Disturbed by empty spaces at his rally at the Ellipse, DDT told aides to let them in. Former deputy chief of staff Tony Ornato told DDT that the crowd was armed, but DDT said that he didn’t “f***ing care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me. Take the f***ing mags away,” meaning magnetometers scanning for weapons. Audio of law enforcement before the January 6 rally relayed reports of attendees carrying AR-15 rifles and Glock pistols as well as brass knuckles, knives, tasers, and other weapons confiscated when the crowd passed through the magnetometers. Knowing about the weapons, DDT said, “We’re going to walk down to the Capitol.”

January 6, 2021—after the rally: Furious by being told he couldn’t go to the Capitol to join the rioters, DDT “reached up towards the front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel” and then used his free hand to lunge towards “the clavicles” of his Secret Service agent. DDT was not in a Suburban instead of the large limo called “The Beast.” DDT said, “I’m the f***ing president! Take me up to the Capitol now!” Yet the driver took him to the White House.

January 6, 2021—at the White House: Still in a fury, DDT hurled his lunch at the wall, leaving his valet to clean up the streaming ketchup. Meadows and Cipollone met with him about the chants to hang Pence, but DDT refused to do anything to stop the rioters. Hutchinson said both Meadows and DDT seemed indifferent to the threats. Cipollone told Meadows they needed to stop it, but Meadows answered, “You heard him, Pat. He thinks Mike deserves it. He doesn’t think they’re doing anything wrong.” Her statements confirm other testimony that DDT made this comment as well as testimony that DDT believed that insurrectionists assaulting police officers and ransacking the Capital were doing nothing wrong.

Hutchinson paints a picture of DDT as approving the intentional, not accidental, violence of the day because he wanted the violent mob to attack the Capitol for his benefit, use the violence to disrupt the electoral votes certification, and illegally keep him in the Oval Office—a coup. This evidence could be the basis for criminal charges such as seditious conspiracy against DDT. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Meadows that Cabinet secretaries were considering invoking the 25 Amendment to remove DDT from the Oval Office.

In her testimony, Hutchinson also said that Meadows burned papers after a meeting with Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA), advocating for DDT to stay in power by replacing DOJ leadership. Destroying public records is illegal. Meadows also tried to get a presidential pardon after the insurrection, the highest-ranking official seeking this privilege. Giuliani had also indicated an interest in a pardon. Meadows encouraged language about pardons for the rioters in a January 7 speech, but White House lawyers blocked the language.

DDT’s aides called Hutchinson’s testimony a “bombshell” with potentially huge repercussions for Trump. One adviser said, “For the first time since the hearings started, no one is dismissing this.

Even Fox’s chief political correspondent Bret Baier called Hutchinson’s testimony “stunning and compelling” especially because she was in a “proximity of power” to know what was happening. “Nervous” and “blindsided” by the news of Hutchinson’s cooperation, DDT engaged in what his former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen described as “distance, disparage, and destroy.” DDT began his negative statements with his usual separation from any person, stating, “I hardly know who this person Cassidy Hutchinson is” and then accused her of being angry because he wouldn’t allow her to join his staff at Mar-a-Lago. About DDT’s rebuttal to the testimony, Baier pointed out that Hutchinson was “under oath” and DDT was “on Truth Social.”

Baier also praised the Republicans who testified before the committee and called them “patriots.”  Fox anchor Martha MacCallum described hearings’ testimonies laying out a “huge, stunning and clear moment” showing a lack of evidence to support Trump’s claims of an unfair election in 2020. Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade said that DDT’s lawyers never found evidence of voter fraud and called DDT “unhinged.”  

In addition to other charges, participants in the coup may face charges of witness tampering. At the sixth hearing, committee members expressed their concern that DDT’s allies are trying to intimidate witnesses who cooperate with the special House panel. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), the committee’s vice-chair said the committee asks all witness if they have been contacted by any former DDT administration or campaign officials “who attempted to influence or impact their testimony.” Thus far, the committee has found at least two examples of potential witness intimidation.

A January 6 witness described receiving a phone call:  

 “What they said to me is as long as I continue to be a team player, they know that I’m on the team, I’m doing the right thing, I’m protecting who I need to protect, you know, I’ll continue to stay in good graces in Trump World.”

“And they have reminded me a couple of times that Trump does read transcripts and just to keep that in mind as I proceeded through my depositions and interviews with the committee.”

A second witness described receiving another phone call:

“[Someone] let me know you have your deposition tomorrow. He wants me to let you know that he’s thinking about you. He knows you’re loyal and you’re going to do the right thing when you go in for your deposition.”

Mick Mulvaney, former DDT top official, tweeted that reports of witness tampering could be a serious problem for DDT:

“The Press is going to focus on some sensational revelations from today:  guns, grabbing a secret service agent, etc. But the real bomb that got dropped was the implied charge of witness tampering. If there is hard evidence, that is a serious problem for the former President.”

In February, committee member Rep. Pete Aguilar (R-CA) accused DDT of trying to sway testimony by offering pardons if he’s re-elected as president. He consistently repeats this claim at his rallies related to January 6.

The committee, with the House approval, has already made criminal recommendations for people refusing to comply with subpoenas. Thus far at least 30 people have failed to appear after receiving the committee’s subpoenas, an illegal action. During its yearlong work, the committee interviewed over 1,000 witness and explored over 140,000 documents while following up on 471 tips.

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