Trump 'Lunged' at His Secret Service Agent, Tried to Grab Steering Wheel to Get to Capitol on Jan. 6: Aide
Cassidy Hutchinson, a top aide to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, delivered stunning testimony Tuesday at a Jan. 6 House committee hearing.
A top former White House aide delivered explosive testimony Tuesday as a surprise witness at the Jan. 6 House select committee, saying then-President Trump "lunged" at his Secret Service agent when told it was unsafe for him to go to the Capitol, where violence was quickly escalating.
Trump tried to grab the steering wheel of his presidential limo, known as The Beast, and then grabbed his security agent at his neck, and said 'I'm the f***ing president," testified Cassidy Hutchinson, a key aide to Trump's White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
Hutchinson also asserted Trump had been told some of his supporters were carrying assault rifles and other weapons to his Jan. 6, 2021 speech, in which he once again falsely claimed the 2020 election was a sham and that he had actually won.
The president told his staff he didn't care that they were armed and they should be allowed to bring in their weapons, Hutchinson testified. "They're not here to hurt me," she quoted Trump as saying.
As White House staff watched the violent events unfold, Hutchinson testified, she witnessed White House counsel Pat Cipollone telling Meadows, "Mark, something needs to be done or people are going to die. The blood is going to be on your f***ing hands.”
Cipollone cautioned against letting Trump go with armed demonstrators to the Capitol, Hutchinson said during the hearing. If the president accompanied the increasingly volatile crowd, the White House counsel said, “We’re going to get charged with every crime imaginable,” from obstruction to fraud, Hutchinson testified.
The former aide also told the hearing she was aware that Meadows and Rudy Giuliani, Trump's attorney, had sought presidential pardons for their roles in the Jan. 6 event.
Trump's outburst on Jan. 6 was not out of character, Hutchinson said. She recalled hearing a loud noise one day from her White House office and venturing down to the West Wing dining hall. There, she saw ketchup dripping down a wall and a shattered plate, she said.
An Associated Press interview with then-Attorney General Bill Barr had just gone live, she said. Barr had told the wire service he had seen no evidence of widespread voter fraud.
“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, which was causing them to have to clean up,” she testified. “So I grabbed a towel and started wiping the ketchup off the wall to help the valet out.”
Hutchinson said there were other such incidents at the White House. There were "several times throughout my tenure with the chief of staff that I was aware of him either throwing dishes or flipping the tablecloth,” causing food and dishware to fall to the floor, she said.
Trump immediately took to social media after her testimony, denying the ketchup incident took place and saying he hardly knew Hutchinson. He also called her "bad news."
Some Republicans said Hutchinson's testimony relied on "hearsay."
After Hutchinson's testimony concluded, GOP Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the House committee's co-chair, said members were investigating allegations of possible witness tampering.
Cheney introduced two texts received by the committee from people called as witnesses in the hearings.
She did not name the authors of the messages.
One read, "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 the good graces in Trump world," Cheney read aloud.
"And they have reminded me a couple of times that Trump does read transcripts and just keep that in mind as I proceed through my depositions and interviews with the committee," Cheney added.
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