Mark Meadows’ associate threatened ex-White House aide before her testimonyIt was the second warning Cassidy Hutchinson had received before her deposition, cautioning her against cooperating with the panel Former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson received at least one message tacitly warning her not to cooperate with the House January 6 select committee from an associate of former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, according to two sources familiar with the matter.Ex-White House aide delivers explosive public testimony to January 6 panelRead moreThe message in question was the second of the two warnings that the select committee disclosed at the end of its special hearing when Hutchinson testified about how Donald Trump directed a crowd he knew was armed to march on the Capitol, the sources said.“[A person] 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,” read the message. The redaction was Meadows, the sources said.The message was presented during closing remarks at the special hearing with Hutchinson by the panel’s vice-chair Liz Cheney, who characterized the missive as improper pressure on a crucial witness that could extend to illegal witness tampering or intimidation.The exact identity of the person who sent Hutchinson the message – beyond the fact that they were an associate of Meadows – could not be confirmed on Thursday, but that may be in part because the select committee may wish to interview that person, the sources said.That appears to indicate that the person who sent the message was a close associate of the former White House chief of staff who may themselves be a fact witness to what Trump and Meadows were doing and thinking ahead of the Capitol attack.Neither a spokesman for Meadows nor Hutchinson responded to a request for comment Thursday evening.The other message was also directed at Hutchinson, the sources said; the quote displayed on the slide was one of several calls from Trump allies that Hutchinson recounted to House investigators.“What they said to me is, as long as I continue to be a teamplayer, 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 the good graces in Trump World,” the slide read.“And they 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.”The identity of the people who called Hutchinson, warning her presumably not to implicate the former president, could not be established beyond the fact that they were people close to Trump, though the select committee is understood to be aware of all of the people.Politico, which first reported that the message to Hutchinson came from an associate of Meadows, also reported that it came before her second interview with the select committee. Hutchinson changed lawyers before her fourth deposition that preceded her public testimony.TopicsJanuary 6 hearingsUS Capitol attackUS politicsDonald TrumpMark MeadowsnewsReuse this content More
The Republican US representative Liz Cheney has said Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election were ‘more chilling and more threatening’ than first imagined, while calling on Republicans to choose between loyalty to Trump and the constitution.
Cheney, a commanding presence on the congressional panel investigating the January 6 Capitol riot by Trump supporters, warned against descending into vitriolic partisan attacks that could tear the political fabric of the country apart and urged her audience to rise above politics.
‘My fellow Americans, we stand at the edge of an abyss, and we must pull back,’ she said in a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California
Liz Cheney’s condemnation of Trump’s lies wins over Democrats
Tuesday’s hearing was a masterclass on the threats posed by Trump to our republic More
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The US congressional hearings on the Capitol Hill attack have been prime time viewing. And the case against Donald Trump has been building for all to see, says Lawrence Douglas
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The testimony was unprecedented. In an extraordinary sitting in Washington DC of the congressional committee investigating the attack on the US Capitol building, a White House staffer detailed how Donald Trump had attempted to grab the steering wheel of his presidential car in determination to join his supporters as they rioted. Cassidy Hutchinson also testified that Trump would fly into rages, on one occasion throwing a plate at the wall, smashing it in anger and leaving ketchup dripping down a White House wall. Lawrence Douglas, a professor of law at Amherst College, tells Michael Safi that, throughout the series of slickly produced hearings, the committee has told a compelling narrative of the events that led up to the riots on January 6. And it goes beyond that, to alleged attempts to “steal” the election via slates of “fake electors” and by piling pressure on key officials such as the vice president and the justice secretary. As the case against Trump and many of his aides is laid out though, the next steps are far from certain. Even if the evidence unearthed by the committee does reach the standard needed to bring prosecutions, would a prosecution of the former president be deemed in the public interest – and could a jury be found of 12 people who would act completely impartially, in what is now a deeply polarised country? More
January 6 committee subpoenas former White House counsel Pat CipolloneDonald Trump’s former counsel was a key witness to some of the ex-president’s most brazen schemes to overturn the 2020 election The House select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol attack issued a subpoena on Wednesday to former Trump White House counsel Pat Cipollone, compelling him to testify about at least three parts of Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results.The subpoena marked a dramatic escalation for the panel and showed its resolve in seeking to obtain inside information about how the former president sought to return himself to office from the unique perspective of the White House counsel’s office.Ex-White House aide delivers explosive public testimony to January 6 panelRead more“Mr Cipollone repeatedly raised legal and other concerns about President Trump’s activities on January 6th and in the days that preceded,” the chairman of the select committee, Bennie Thompson, said in a statement accompanying the subpoena.“The committee needs to hear from him on the record, as other former White House counsels have done in other congressional investigations. Concerns Mr Cipollone has about the prerogatives of the office he previously held are clearly outweighed by the need for his testimony.”Cipollone was a key witness to some of Trump’s most brazen schemes to overturn the 2020 election results, which, the select committee has said in its hearings, was part of a sprawling and potentially unlawful multi-pronged strategy that culminated in the Capitol attack.Cipollone has information about Trump’s push to send fake slates of electors to Congress, the subpoena letter said, a plot that would have given then-vice-president Mike Pence cover to supposedly refuse to certify Joe Biden’s election win.He also has information about Trump’s foiled plan to pressure the justice department into falsely declaring the results of the 2020 election “corrupt”, the subpoena letter said, and potentially illegal conduct on the part of the former president on 6 January.Former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, according to her public testimony, was told by Cipollone that “we’re going to be charged with every crime imaginable” if Trump went to the Capitol that day as he pressured Congress to not certify Biden’s win.Thompson acknowledged in the subpoena letter that Cipollone had spoken to House investigators in a more informal setting on 13 April. But, he said, recent evidence to which he was in a “unique position” to discuss necessitated on-the-record testimony at a 6 July deposition.The panel had been negotiating Cipollone’s testimony for weeks without success, with Cipollone apparently concerned about its scope. A spokesperson for Cipollone did not respond to requests for comment about whether he would comply with the subpoena or litigate.Cipollone remained in the Trump administration through its final weeks and months, effectively becoming a fact witness to Trump’s thinking and conduct as the former president scrambled to find any way to keep himself in office after losing the election.Together with his deputy, Pat Philbin, and another White House lawyer Eric Herschmann, who has cooperated extensively with the select committee, Cipollone sought to restrain some of Trump’s most dangerous impulses, fearing Trump could face serious legal exposure.In doing so, former Trump White House aides say, Cipollone became one of the final senior administration officials who acted as a guardrail for Trump. After leaving the administration, Cipollone returned to private practice as a partner at Ellis George Cipollone LLP.Should Cipollone testify to the select committee, he may seek advice from another lawyer at EGC: former Nixon deputy White House counsel Fred Fielding, who worked under Nixon White House counsel John Dean, and testified at the Watergate trial.TopicsJanuary 6 hearingsDonald TrumpUS Capitol attackTrump administrationUS politicsnewsReuse this content More
Secret Service agent reportedly willing to testify Trump did not lunge at himRow comes after ex-White House aide’s explosive testimony that portrayed a violent and unhinged Trump on day of Capitol attack Senior Secret Service agents are reportedly prepared to testify that Donald Trump did not lunge for the wheel of his vehicle or physically attack the chief of his security detail after his speech near the White House on January 6 – as a former aide said he did in sworn testimony on Tuesday.January 6 testimony puts Donald Trump in even greater legal perilRead moreThe row comes after the explosive testimony painted an unhinged and violent portrait of Trump on the day of the Capitol attack, in a shocking hearing many have seen as potentially loosening the former president’s grip on the Republican party.CNN and other outlets reported the pushback on the alleged Secret Service incident from Tony Ornato, who was also a deputy chief of staff in the Trump White House, and Robert Engel, who was Trump’s security chief.Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to Trump and his final chief of staff, Mark Meadows, appeared before the House January 6 committee for its sixth public hearing.Her extraordinary testimony spanned nearly two hours.In particularly striking passages, she described what she said Ornato told her was Trump’s reaction to being told that after speaking to supporters at the Ellipse – and telling a crowd he knew in part to be armed to “fight like hell” to overturn his election defeat – he could not go with the crowd to the US Capitol as planned.Hutchinson, 25, testified that Ornato told her Trump had a “very strong, very angry response”.Trump allegedly told Engel: “I’m the fucking president. Take me up to the Capitol now.”When he was turned down, Hutchinson said, Trump tried to seize the steering wheel. Engel grabbed his arm and said: “Sir, you need to take your hand off the steering wheel. We’re going back to the West Wing. We’re not going to the Capitol.”Hutchinson said “Trump then used his free hand to lunge towards Bobby Engel and when Mr Ornato recounted the story to me he motioned towards his clavicles”.Questioned by Liz Cheney, the committee vice-chair, Hutchinson said Engel did not dispute the account when Ornato relayed it.In the aftermath of the explosive hearing, Hutchinson was depicted as a former Trump loyalist whose testimony could prove hugely damaging, in the vein of John Dean, the White House counsel who turned on Richard Nixon during the Watergate hearings half a century ago.Nixon resigned the presidency under threat of impeachment. Trump was impeached for a second time over the insurrection but acquitted when only seven Republican senators voted for his guilt. He remains free to run for the White House again in 2024.On Tuesday, reporters swiftly relayed news that the Secret Service agents disputed Hutchinson’s account of events in the presidential vehicle.Carol Leonnig of the Washington Post, author of two books on the Trump administration and a history of the Secret Service, Zero Fail, said: “Sources tell me agents dispute that Donald Trump assaulted any agent or tried to grab the steering wheel on Jan 6. They agree Trump was furious about not being able to go to Capitol with his supporters. They offer to testify under oath.”Secret Service agents have testified before, during the impeachment of Bill Clinton.Trump attacked Hutchinson during the hearing, using his Truth Social platform to call her a “phony”, a “leaker” and a “whacko”. He denied grabbing the steering wheel or attacking an agent.Republicans on the House judiciary committee tweeted that Hutchinson’s evidence was “all hearsay” and added: “What a joke.”But Steve Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas in Austin, said: “Don’t be distracted by claims of ‘hearsay’. That goes to whether evidence can be admitted in court, not Congress.“The key is that Hutchinson testified under oath. If she was lying, she faces felony charges. The same can’t be said for those trying to discredit her testimony.”Most observers thought the case for Trump facing felony charges increased after Tuesday’s hearing.‘Things might get real, real bad’: key takeaways from latest January 6 hearingRead moreLaurence Tribe, a Harvard law professor, said the new evidence against Trump was “devastating for inciting, aiding and abetting violent insurrection”.Tribe also said: “Whatever anybody says about [Department of Justice] reluctance to indict Trump – reluctance I abhor – failing to indict Mark Meadows along with Jeffrey Clark, John Eastman, Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell would be a travesty.”Hutchinson described Meadows’ behavior on and around January 6. The chief of staff, she said, was unwilling to confront Trump but eager to be included in meetings involving Giuliani, Eastman and other Trump allies plotting to overturn the election.Meadows and Giuliani, Hutchinson said, asked about being given presidential pardons before Trump left office.Vladeck also said: “Holy shit, that hearing.”TopicsJanuary 6 hearingsUS Capitol attackDonald TrumpUS politicsnewsReuse this content More
January 6 testimony puts Donald Trump in even greater legal perilFormer president and senior aides face exposure over knowledge that supporters were armed and intended to march on Capitol02:44Donald Trump and his two closest advisers could face widening criminal exposure over the Capitol attack after ex-White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified about their potentially unlawful conduct to the House January 6 select committee at a special hearing on Thursday.The testimony revolved around the disclosure – one of several major revelations from Hutchinson – that the former president directed supporters to descend on the Capitol even though he knew they were armed and probably intended to cause harm.Angry, violent, reckless: testimony paints shocking portrait of Trump Read moreHutchinson testified under oath that Trump was deeply angered by the fact that some of his supporters who had gathered on the National Mall were not entering the secure perimeter for the Save America rally at the Ellipse, where he was due to make remarks.The supporters did not want to enter the secure perimeter, Hutchinson testified, because many were armed with knives, blades, pepper-spray and, as it later turned out, guns, and did not want to surrender their weapons to the Secret Service to attend the rally.“I don’t fucking care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me,” Trump exclaimed in an extraordinary outburst of fury, according to Hutchinson. “Let my people in. They can march to the Capitol from here. Let the people in. Take the fucking mags [magnetometers] away.”The response from the former president is significant for two main reasons: it makes clear that he had been informed that his supporters were carrying weapons, and that he knew those armed people intended to make a non-permitted march to the Capitol.Trump then took the stage at the Save America rally and told his supporters both there at the Ellipse and around the Washington monument that he would march to the Capitol with them – giving them the strongest incentive to descend on the joint session of Congress.The former president additionally made the comments, Hutchinson said, despite the White House counsel, Pat Cipollone, desperately trying to stop Trump and Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, going to the Capitol for fear of potential legal exposure.“We’re going to get charged with every crime imaginable,” if Trump went to the Capitol, Hutchinson said Cipollone told her the morning of January 6, alluding to obstruction of an official proceeding and defrauding the United States.The legal analysis from Cipollone was prescient: the select committee, even before hearing from Hutchinson for the first time earlier this year in closed-door depositions, has argued Trump and his top advisers violated multiple federal laws over January 6.At the special hearing, Hutchinson also revealed that Trump’s then attorney Rudy Giuliani and Meadows expressed an interest in receiving pre-emptive presidential pardons in the immediate aftermath of the Capitol attack.The disclosure from Hutchinson marked a new degree of apparent consciousness of guilt among Trump’s closest advisers – in addition to that of at least half a dozen Republican congressmen and the Trump lawyer John Eastman – or fear that they might have committed a crime.In raising Giuliani’s interest in a pardon, Hutchinson also testified that Trump’s former attorney may have also been central to a crime with respect to his seeming knowledge of what the far-right Oath Keepers and Proud Boys groups were planning for January 6.“Oath Keepers” and “Proud Boys” were words heard at the White House when Giuliani was around the complex in the days before the Capitol attack, Hutchinson testified at the hearing.The new connection between Giuliani and the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys raised the spectre that the former president’s then attorney was broadly aware of the intentions of two far-right groups – whose senior members have since been indicted for seditious conspiracy.Meanwhile, on the eve of the Capitol attack, Trump asked Meadows to speak to the far-right political operative Roger Stone and Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn, which Meadows did, according to Hutchinson’s testimony.The former president’s chief of staff then repeatedly raised the prospect of travelling to the Trump war room at the Willard hotel in Washington DC, though Meadows ultimately demurred and ended up calling the Trump war room instead, Hutchinson testified.The Guardian first reported last year that from the White House, Trump then called Giuliani and a cadre of lawyers working at the Trump war room at the Willard and discussed ways to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s election win.01:42Meadows’s connection to the Trump war room appears to be as significant as Giuliani discussing the far-right groups, not least because the Willard was also the base for Stone, who has ties to the Proud Boys, and Flynn, who previously worked with the Oath Keepers.The select committee’s vice-chair, Liz Cheney, ended the special hearing with evidence of potential attempted witness tampering by people apparently close to the former president. In one mafia-style call, one witness was warned that Trump knew they would remain “loyal”.TopicsJanuary 6 hearingsUS Capitol attackDonald TrumpRudy GiulianinewsReuse this content More
‘Things might get real, real bad’: key takeaways from latest January 6 hearingCassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, gives explosive revelations about Trump 02:44The sixth hearing into the attack on the Capitol on Tuesday heard from just one witness but presented a series of explosive revelations about Donald Trump and the events of January 6.Here are the key points from an extraordinary two hours on Capitol Hill.Ex-White House aide delivers explosive public testimony to January 6 panelRead moreKey aides warned of violenceThe sole witness was Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to Trump and his chief of staff, Mark Meadows. She described how in December 2020, a month after election day, the director of national intelligence, John Ratcliffe, told her Trump’s refusal to accept defeat by Joe Biden “could spiral out of control and be dangerous for our democracy”.On 2 January 2021, four days before electoral college results would be certified, Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s attorney, told Hutchinson: “The 6th is going to be a great day … we’re going to the Capitol. It’s going to be great. The president is going to be there. He’s going to look powerful.”Meadows then told Hutchinson: “Things might get real, real bad on January 6.”Trump knew protesters were armed – and didn’t careThe committee played recordings from 6 January of law enforcement reporting protesters armed with AR-15 rifles and pistols. Waiting to speak at a rally near the White House, Trump was told protesters also had bear spray and flags to use as spears, and that some wore body armour.Demanding such people be let past security measures in order to fill the area in front of his stage, Trump said: “I don’t fucking care that they have weapons, they’re not here to hurt me. They’re not here to hurt me. Take the fucking mags [magnetometers] away. Let my people in. They can march to the Capitol from here, let the people in and take the mags away.”He then told a crowd he knew to contain armed elements to march on the Capitol, and said he would go with them.Trump threatened his security chiefHutchinson relayed a story told by Tony Ornato, a secret service official and deputy chief of staff. Ornato, she said, told her that when Trump was in his armoured limousine after his speech, he was told he could not go to the Capitol.Trump had “a very strong, very angry response to that … something to the effect of, ‘I’m the fucking president. Take me up to the Capitol now.’ To which Bobby [Engel, chief of Trump’s secret service detail] responded, ‘Sir, you have to go back to the West Wing.’Trump then “reached up towards the front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel. Mr Engel grabbed his arm, said, ‘Sir, you need to take your hand off the steering wheel. We’re going back to the West Wing. We’re not going to the Capitol.’ Mr Trump then used his free hand to lunge towards Bobby Engel and when Mr Ornato recounted the story to me he motioned towards his clavicles.”The committee heard of Trump’s fury at other moments, including when his attorney general, Bill Barr, told the Associated Press there was no widespread electoral fraud. Trump “had thrown his lunch against the wall”, Hutchinson said, also describing how she helped the president’s valet mop up the spilled ketchup.Meadows was too attached to his phone …Hutchinson repeatedly described the chief of staff not looking up from his phone when being told urgent news, including on January 6.“I remember him being alone in his office for most of the afternoon,” she said. “Around 2pm to 2.05pm we were watching the TV and I could see that the rioters were getting closer and closer to the Capitol. Mark still hadn’t popped out of his office or said anything about it.”Meadows was “sitting on his couch on his cellphone, same as the morning where he was just kind of scrolling and typing. I said, ‘Hey, are you watching the TV, Chief? … I didn’t know if he was really paying attention. He was like, ‘Yeah.’ [I said] ‘The rioters are getting really close, so if you talk to the president…’ He said, ‘No, he wants to be alone right now.’“Still looking at his phone. So I started to get frustrated.”… except when he wanted to go to Bannon’s ‘war room’Hutchinson described how on 5 January she stopped Meadows attending a meeting at the Willard Hotel held by Giuliani, the former White House strategist Steve Bannon, the law professor John Eastman and other pro-Trump extremists.Meadows, she said, “wanted me to work with secret service on a movement from the White House to the Willard Hotel so he could attend the meeting with Mr Giuliani and his associates in the ‘war room’.“I made it clear to Mr Meadows that I didn’t believe it was a smart idea … I knew enough about what Mr Giuliani and his associates were pushing that I didn’t think that it was something appropriate for the White House chief of staff to attend or to consider involvement.”Meadows “mentioned a few more times going up the Willard that evening, then eventually … said he would dial in instead”.Trump said Pence deserved to hangHutchinson’s description of the president’s response to the mob calling for the vice-president to be hanged was included in an earlier hearing but was stunning in repeat.She said: “I remember Pat [Cipollone, the White House counsel] saying something to the effect of, ‘Mark, we need to do something more. They’re literally calling for the vice-president to be fucking hung.’“And Mark had responded something to the effect of, ‘You heard him, Pat, he thinks Mike deserves it. He doesn’t think they’re doing anything wrong.’“To which Pat said something like, “This is fucking crazy. We need to be doing something more.”Meadows and Giuliani sought pardonsWhen Trump finally recorded a speech asking the mob to leave the Capitol, Meadows pushed for a promise of presidential pardons. Asked if Giuliani and Meadows sought their own pardons related to January 6, Hutchinson said that they did.Trump’s circle has pressured witnessesThe committee vice-chair, Liz Cheney, saved one of the most chilling revelations for her closing statement. The committee, she said, had asked witnesses if former colleagues in Trump circles had attempted to influence testimony.Angry, violent, reckless: testimony paints shocking portrait of Trump Read more“One witness described phone calls from people interested in that witness’s testimony. ‘Well, what they said to me is, as long as I continue to be a team player, they know I’m on the right team, I’m doing the right thing, I’m protecting who I need to protect. I’ll continue to stay in good graces in Trump world. They reminded me a couple of times that Trump does read transcripts, and just keep that in mind.’”Another witness reported a call in which they were told Trump “wants me to let you know he’s thinking about you. You know, you’re loyal. And you’re going to do the right thing when you go in for your deposition.”Debate continues about whether Trump will be charged with criminal conduct.Cheney said: “I think most Americans know that attempting to influence witnesses to testify untruthfully presents very serious concerns. We will be discussing these issues as a committee and carefully considering our next steps.”TopicsJanuary 6 hearingsUS Capitol attackUS politicsDonald TrumpfeaturesReuse this content More
Liz Cheney, the Republican vice-chair of the January 6 committee, applauded Cassidy Hutchinson’s willingness to testify about what she witnessed in the Trump White House, but she also criticized Hutchinson’s colleagues who have refused to do so.“While our committee has seen many witnesses, including many Republicans, testify fully and forthrightly, this has not been true of every witness,” Cheney said at the end of today’s hearing.She added, “We have received evidence of one particular practice that raises significant concern.”Cheney noted that the committee regularly asks witnesses whether they have been contacted by any of their former colleagues or anyone else who may attempt to influence their testimony.We commonly ask witnesses connected to Trump whether they have been contacted by anyone attempting to impact testimony.Below are examples of answers we have received to this question. pic.twitter.com/pwxyJBf7Kl— January 6th Committee (@January6thCmte) June 28, 2022
Cheney read aloud from the testimony of two witnesses who said they had recently spoken to people who encouraged them to stay in Donald Trump’s good graces with their comments to the committee.One witness told investigators, “What they said to me is, as long as I continue to be a team player, they know that I’m on the right team. I’m doing the right thing, I’m protecting who I need to protect. … They have reminded me a couple of times that Trump does read transcripts and just to keep that in mind as I proceed through my depositions and interviews with the committee.”Cheney’s comments point to the possibility of witness intimidation impacting the investigation, although it will ultimately be up to the justice department to determine what (if any) criminal charges stem from the committee’s findings.That’s it from me, after a historic day in Washington. Here’s how the January 6 committee’s sixth public hearing unfolded:
A former senior White House aide testified that Donald Trump knew some of his supporters were armed on January 6 and still encouraged them to march on the Capitol. Cassidy Hutchinson, a former senior adviser to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, said she overheard a conversation with Trump shortly before he addressed a rally crowd on January 6. “I don’t f’ing care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me,” Trump said, according to Hutchinson. “Let my people in. They can march to the Capitol from here.” The rally where Trump spoke culminated in the insurrection, which resulted in several deaths.
Liz Cheney described potential witness tampering among Trump’s allies in connection to the January 6 investigation. Cheney, the Republican vice-chair of the committee, quoted testimony from two witnesses who said they were advised to remain loyal to Trump in their comments to investigators. “I think most Americans know that attempting to influence witnesses to testify untruthfully presents very serious concerns,” Cheney said. “We will be discussing these issues as a committee, carefully considering our next steps.”
Trump wanted to go to the Capitol with his supporters on January 6, so much so that he tried to redirect his car when aides told him they would be returning to the White House. Hutchinson said Tony Ornato, the White House deputy chief of staff, told her that Trump was “irate” when he was informed he would not be going to the Capitol. Already inside a car with his aides, Trump tried to grab for the vehicle’s steering wheel and then lunged at the throat of a Secret Service agent, Hutchinson said.
Meadows told Hutchinson that Trump had endorsed insurrectionists’ chants of “Hang Mike Pence!” on January 6. As Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol, Hutchinson was involved in a conversation with Meadows and Pat Cipollone, the White House counsel. According to Hutchinson, Cipollone told Meadows, “Mark, we need to do something more. They’re literally calling for the vice-president to be f-ing hung.” Meadows replied, “You heard [Trump], Pat. He thinks Mike deserves it. He doesn’t think they are doing anything wrong.”
Some of Trump’s closest advisers, including Meadows, expressed fear days before the insurrection that January 6 could turn violent. Hutchinson said Rudy Giuliani, one of Trump’s campaign lawyers, asked her on January 2 whether she was “excited” for January 6, the day that Congress was scheduled to certify Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election. When Hutchinson asked Meadows about Giuliani’s comments, he said, “There’s a lot going on, Cass, but I don’t know. Things might get real, real bad on January 6.”
Meadows and Giuliani both inquired about presidential pardons after January 6, Hutchinson told the committee. She previously testified that several Republican members of Congress also reached out about pardons in connection to their involvement with the insurrection.
The blog will be back tomorrow with more analysis of today’s January 6 hearing and news from the supreme court, which still has four decisions left to announce before wrapping up its term. See you then.Democrat Jamie Raskin, a member of the January 6 committee, said the panel would continue to investigate possible witness tampering among Donald Trump’s allies.At the end of today’s hearing, Liz Cheney, the Republican vice-chair of the committee, quoted testimony from two witnesses who said they had been told to remain loyal to Trump in their comments to investigators.“It’s a crime to tamper with witnesses. It’s a form of obstructing justice. The committee won’t tolerate it,” Raskin told reporters after the hearing concluded.He emphasized that the committee’s investigation is ongoing, saying, “We haven’t had the chance to fully investigate it or fully discuss it, but it’s something on our agenda.”Jan. 6 committee member Rep. Jamie Raskin, after today’s hearing, said the committee will continue to investigate possible witness tampering, after texts Rep. Cheney presented appeared to show that.”It’s a crime to tamper with witnesses…The committee won’t tolerate it.” pic.twitter.com/t74KZvmEC0— CBS News (@CBSNews) June 28, 2022
The Guardian’s Lauren Gambino and Hugo Lowell have a full writeup of Cassidy Hutchinson’s shocking testimony before the January 6 committee:In explosive public testimony, a former White House aide on Tuesday told the committee investigating the January 6 insurrection that Donald Trump knowingly directed armed supporters to march to the US Capitol in a last-gasp effort to invalidate the results of the 2020 presidential election that he lost.Appearing at a hastily scheduled hearing on Capitol Hill, Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to Trump’s final chief of staff, Mark Meadows, also painted a devastating portrait of a president spiraling out of control and a White House staff often ambivalent about the violence building around them.Hutchinson also offered extraordinary new details that the White House – and the former US president – were aware that the rally on January 6 could turn violent days before Trump stepped on stage at a rally on the Ellipse and urged his supporters to “fight like hell” to keep him in power.“I felt like I was watching a bad car accident about to happen, where you cannot stop it,” Hutchinson, a conservative Republican who worked just steps from the Oval Office, testified at the panel’s sixth and most revealing hearing to date.Over the course of two hours, Hutchinson offered a shocking view into the West Wing in the moments before, during and after the siege of the US Capitol.Read the Guardian’s full report on the history-making hearing:Ex-White House aide delivers explosive public testimony to January 6 panelRead moreFox News host Bret Baier acknowledged that Cassidy Hutchinson’s detailed testimony about Donald Trump’s actions on January 6 could have far-reaching consequences.While noting that he wished that some of Trump’s congressional allies were serving on the January 6 committee, Baier said of today’s hearing, “The testimony in and of itself is really, really powerful.”Baier’s words were met with a long pause from his colleagues, prompting fellow host John Roberts to ask co-anchor Sandra Smith, “Can you still hear?”This post-hearing moment of awkward silence on Fox kinda says a lot. pic.twitter.com/5yRNJ0btKd— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) June 28, 2022
Liz Cheney, the Republican vice-chair of the January 6 committee, indicated that the panel may return to the issue of potential witness tampering in future hearings.Cheney concluded her remarks at today’s hearing by reading aloud from the testimony of two witnesses who said they were advised to remain loyal to Donald Trump when speaking to investigators..@RepLizCheney (R-WY): “I think most Americans know that attempting to influence witnesses to testify untruthfully presents very serious concerns.” pic.twitter.com/xlsUwnAGPr— CSPAN (@cspan) June 28, 2022
“I think most Americans know that attempting to influence witnesses to testify untruthfully presents very serious concerns,” Cheney said. “We will be discussing these issues as a committee, carefully considering our next steps.”As of now, the January 6 committee is expected to resume its hearings when the House returns from its recess on 12 July.The committee’s evidence of potential witness tampering could also be used by the department of justice if federal prosecutors choose to pursue charges in connection to the allegations.Some members of Congress reacted with outrage as they listened to Cassidy Hutchinson recount how Donald Trump was informed that some of his supporters at his January 6 rally were carrying weapons.According to Hutchinson, Trump responded to that information by saying, “I don’t f’ing care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me.”The rally that Trump spoke at on January 6 culminated in the Capitol insurrection, which resulted in several deaths and many serious injuries for US Capitol Police officers.“It was a set up. They set up the Capitol Police and Congress to to get overrun,” congressman Ruben Gallego, a Democrat of Arizona, said on Twitter. He went on to insult Mark Meadows, Trump’s chief of staff and Hutchinson’s boss, as a “traitorous fuck”.It was a set up. They set up the Capitol Police and Congress to to get overrun. @MarkMeadows you traitorous fuck.— Ruben Gallego (@RubenGallego) June 28, 2022
Some of Cassidy Hutchinson’s former White House colleagues have applauded her willingness to testify publicly before the January 6 committee.They have also pushed back against suggestions from Donald Trump and some of his allies that Hutchinson, who served as a senior adviser to the White House chief of staff, was an unimportant staffer in the administration.“Anyone downplaying Cassidy Hutchinson’s role or her access in the West Wing either doesn’t understand how the Trump WH worked or is attempting to discredit her because they’re scared of how damning this testimony is,” said Sarah Matthews, who served as deputy White House press secretary in the Trump administration.Matthews added, “For those complaining of ‘hearsay,’ I imagine the Jan. 6 committee would welcome any of those involved to deny these allegations under oath.”Anyone downplaying Cassidy Hutchinson’s role or her access in the West Wing either doesn’t understand how the Trump WH worked or is attempting to discredit her because they’re scared of how damning this testimony is.— Sarah Matthews (@SarahAMatthews1) June 28, 2022
Trump’s former White House communications director, Alyssa Farah Griffin, echoed that suggestion, while applauding Hutchinson’s “courage [and] integrity”.“Cassidy Hutchinson is my friend. I knew her testimony would be damning. I had no idea it’d be THIS damning,” Griffin said on Twitter. “To anyone who would try to impugn her character, I’d be glad to put you in touch w/@January6thCmte to appear UNDER OATH.”Cassidy Hutchinson is my friend. I knew her testimony would be damning. I had no idea it’d be THIS damning.I am so grateful for her courage & integrity. To anyone who would try to impugn her character, I’d be glad to put you in touch w/ @January6thCmte to appear UNDER OATH.— Alyssa Farah Griffin 🇺🇸 (@Alyssafarah) June 28, 2022
Mick Mulvaney, who previously served as Donald Trump’s acting chief of staff, said Liz Cheney’s closing remarks at today’s hearing indicate the January 6 committee has evidence of witness tampering.Cheney’s closing is stunning: they think they have evidence of witness tampering and obstruction of justice.There is an old maxim: it’s never the crime, it’s always the coverup.Things went very badly for the former President today. My guess is that it will get worse from here— Mick Mulvaney (@MickMulvaney) June 28, 2022
“Cheney’s closing is stunning: they think they have evidence of witness tampering and obstruction of justice. There is an old maxim: it’s never the crime, it’s always the coverup,” Mulvaney said on Twitter.“Things went very badly for the former President today. My guess is that it will get worse from here.”The committee is currently set to resume its hearings next month, after the House returns from its recess on 12 July.Liz Cheney, the Republican vice-chair of the January 6 committee, applauded Cassidy Hutchinson’s willingness to testify about what she witnessed in the Trump White House, but she also criticized Hutchinson’s colleagues who have refused to do so.“While our committee has seen many witnesses, including many Republicans, testify fully and forthrightly, this has not been true of every witness,” Cheney said at the end of today’s hearing.She added, “We have received evidence of one particular practice that raises significant concern.”Cheney noted that the committee regularly asks witnesses whether they have been contacted by any of their former colleagues or anyone else who may attempt to influence their testimony.We commonly ask witnesses connected to Trump whether they have been contacted by anyone attempting to impact testimony.Below are examples of answers we have received to this question. pic.twitter.com/pwxyJBf7Kl— January 6th Committee (@January6thCmte) June 28, 2022
Cheney read aloud from the testimony of two witnesses who said they had recently spoken to people who encouraged them to stay in Donald Trump’s good graces with their comments to the committee.One witness told investigators, “What they said to me is, as long as I continue to be a team player, they know that I’m on the right team. I’m doing the right thing, I’m protecting who I need to protect. … They have reminded me a couple of times that Trump does read transcripts and just to keep that in mind as I proceed through my depositions and interviews with the committee.”Cheney’s comments point to the possibility of witness intimidation impacting the investigation, although it will ultimately be up to the justice department to determine what (if any) criminal charges stem from the committee’s findings.The January 6 committee hearing, which featured explosive testimony from former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, has now concluded after nearly two hours.In her closing statement, Liz Cheney, the Republican vice-chair of the committee, thanked Hutchinson for her courage in speaking out about Donald Trump’s actions on the day of the Capitol insurrection.“Our nation is preserved by those who abide by their oaths to our Constitution. Our nation is preserved by those who know the fundamental difference between right and wrong,” Cheney said. “I want all Americans to know that what Miss Hutchinson has done today is not easy. The easy course is to hide from the spotlight, to refuse to come forward, to attempt to downplay or deny what happened.”Cassidy Hutchinson said that both Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, and Rudy Giuliani, one of Donald Trump’s campaign lawyers, sought presidential pardons after January 6.Hutchinson previously testified to investigators that several Republican members of Congress also reached out to inquire about potential pardons in connection to their involvement in the Capitol attack.According to Hutchinson, Trump even wanted to add a line to his January 7 speech about potential pardons for the Capitol insurrectionists, but he ultimately did not do so.Cassidy Hutchinson said she was horrified by Donald Trump’s tweet pressuring Mike Pence to disrupt the congressional certification of Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election.At 2.24pm on January 6, as insurrectionists stormed the Capitol, Trump tweeted, “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution.”Asked for her response to that tweet, Hutchinson said, “As an American, I was disgusted. It was unpatriotic. It was un-American. We were watching the Capitol building get defaced over a lie.” Cassidy Hutchinson witnessed a conversation between Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, and Pat Cipollone, the White House counsel, about the insurrectionists’ chants of “Hang Mike Pence!”The committee has previously demonstrated how those who attacked the Capitol threatened Pence, as the vice-president oversaw the certification of Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election. Donald Trump himself repeatedly pressured Pence to disrupt the certification process.According to Hutchinson, Cipollone said something to Meadows along the lines of, “Mark, we need to do something more. They’re literally calling for the vice-president to be f-ing hung.” Referring to Trump, Meadows replied, “You heard him, Pat. He thinks Mike deserves it. He doesn’t think they are doing anything wrong.” After a brief break, the January 6 committee hearing has resumed, and the panel shared a clip from Michael Flynn’s testimony with investigators.Flynn, Donald Trump’s former national security adviser and a close ally, repeatedly invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination to avoid answering the committee’s questions about the January 6 insurrection.Among other things, Flynn would not answer a question from Liz Cheney, the committee’s Republican vice-chair, about whether he believes in the peaceful transfer of power. More
Angry, violent, reckless: testimony paints shocking portrait of Trump Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony of a president lunging at a Secret Service agent’s throat ‘is going to loom very large’ in US history, experts say He lunged at a Secret Service agent’s throat. He threw dishes during temper tantrums. And he wanted metal detectors taken away so his fans could march with guns and knives.An astonishing portrait of Donald Trump as an unhinged and personally violent president emerged at Tuesday’s hearing of the congressional committee investigating last year’s attack on the US Capitol.Ex-White House aide delivers explosive public testimony to January 6 panelRead moreEven for a country – and a political press corps – long used to the norm-shattering of the Trump years, the picture painted of Trump at the surprise hearing was a shock to the system. The January 6 panel had promised new revelations and it did not disappoint. “Never before in American history have we ever seen credible testimony this shocking against a president of the United States before Congress,” Michael Beschloss, a presidential historian, told the MSNBC network. “This is a day that is going to loom very large in American history.”The star witness at the hastily arranged hearing was Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to the then White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows. She described how Trump wanted to go to the US Capitol with his supporters on January 6 after giving a fiery speech that urged them to fight for him.Hutchinson, 25, testified to the panel that Tony Ornato, the White House deputy chief of staff, told her that Trump had a “very strong, very angry response” when informed he would be driven back to to the White House instead.Trump allegedly told a Secret Service agent: “I’m the effing president. Take me up to the Capitol now.”When the agent refused, Trump tried to seize the steering wheel of the presidential limousine, known as “the Beast”. His security detail, Robert Engel, grabbed his arm and said: “Sir, you need to take your hand off the steering wheel. We’re going back to the West Wing. We’re not going to the Capitol.”01:42Hutchinson told the hearing that Trump then used his free hand to lunge towards Engel’s clavicle. Engel has never contradicted the account, she added.The committee also heard how Trump erupted in fury on 1 December after his attorney general, William Barr, gave an interview to the Associated Press saying there was no evidence of widespread election fraud.Hutchinson recalled seeing a shattered porcelain plate and ketchup on the wall of a dining room at the White House. “The valet had articulated that the president was extremely angry at the attorney general’s AP interview and had thrown his lunch against the wall.”This was not an isolated incident. She added: “There are several times … I was aware of him either throwing dishes or flipping the tablecloth to let all the contents of the table go on to the floor and break or go everywhere.”The account demonstrated that the coup attempt on January 6 was no anomaly but on brand for a man who seems to regard violence as sport. Trump has long been prominent in the worlds of boxing and wrestling and in a 2013 interview said of organised crime: “I have met on occasion a few of those people. They happen to be very nice people.”During his election campaign in 2016, he told one rally crowd: “If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you? … I promise you I will pay for the legal fees.” At another, he said of a protester: “Get him out. Try not to hurt him. If you do, I’ll defend you in court. Don’t worry about it.”Earlier at Thursday’s hearing, Hutchinson told the House of Representatives select committee that Trump was told people at the January 6 rally had guns, knives and other weapons and was disappointed at them being turned away.She said: “I overheard the president say something to the effect of, ‘I don’t effing care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me. Take the effing mags [magnetometers] away. Let my people in, they can march to the Capitol from here.’”After the session, Jamie Raskin, a member of the committee, told reporters: “We had the president of the United States upset that the Secret Services and other authorities were using metal detectors for people entering his rally and he wanted those taken down so everyone could enter including people who were armed and there were official reports of people carrying AR-15s on that day.”There was more. Hutchinson testified that, as the mob hunted Mike Pence, Meadows told the White House counsel, Pat Cipollone, that Trump was untroubled. “I remember Pat saying … ‘They’re literally calling for the vice-president to be effing hung.’ And Mark had responded something to the effect of, ‘You heard him, Pat. He thinks Mike deserves it. He doesn’t think they’re doing anything wrong.’”And the end of the session, Liz Cheney, the vice-chairwoman, showed that witnesses have been receiving calls and messages from people close to Trump telling them that he knows they will remain “loyal” in depositions. Beschloss tweeted: “Why does this sound like a hearing investigating a Mobster?”It all proved that, despite countless newspaper reports and books, the four years of Trump’s presidency still have the power to make jaws drop.How bad his critics think it was, there is always another revelation around the corner that shows it was even worse. Perhaps most incredible of all, the man who sought to overthrow American democracy is the frontrunner for the Republican party presidential nomination in 2024. For the moment, at least.Mehdi Hasan, a broadcaster and journalist, posted on Twitter: “Listening to this hearing today is yet another reminder that there is no aspect of the Trump presidency that could be written by a TV writer in a writing room. It would be ridiculed as too unbelievable and too unrealistic and too crazy.“But it all happened. In real life.”TopicsJanuary 6 hearingsDonald TrumpUS Capitol attackUS politicsfeaturesReuse this content More