Hutchinson says Trump knew Jan. 6 attendees had weapons: ‘They’re not here to hurt me’
Ex-White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson on Tuesday testified that former President Trump and his former chief of staff Mark Meadows were both told attendees at the Jan. 6, 2021, Ellipse rally had weapons and that Trump was frustrated that security measures were keeping those with weapons from joining the rally crowd.
Hutchinson, a former top aide to Meadows, told the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot that Trump was “furious” that the Ellipse near the White House had not filled up to capacity for a rally on the morning of the Electoral College certification.
“I was in the vicinity of a conversation where I overheard the president say something to the effect of, ‘I don’t f—— care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me. Take the f—— mags away,’” Hutchinson testified.
Hutchinson was referring to the magnetometers used by Secret Service to scan for weapons.
Her deposition about Trump’s frustration and calls to overrule Secret Service was prefaced with testimony that former deputy chief of staff Tony Ornato had informed both Meadows and Trump that some of the attendees at the rally on Jan. 6 were carrying weapons.
Hutchinson said Meadows did not look up from his phone as he was informed about the security situation at the rally.
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the vice chair of House Jan. 6 committee, also introduced audio of radio transmissions from law enforcement ahead of the rally at the Ellipse. Officers can be heard relaying reports of attendees carrying AR-15 rifles and Glock pistols. The committee learned some attendees had brass knuckles, knives, stun guns and other weapons confiscated after passing through the magnetometers.
“President Trump was aware that a number of the individuals in the crowd had weapons and were wearing body armor. And here’s what President Trump instructed the crowd to do,” Cheney said, prefacing a clip of Trump telling the crowd on Jan. 6, “We’re going to walk down to the Capitol.”