Five explosive moments from Cassidy Hutchinson’s Jan. 6 testimony
Ex-White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson gave a dramatic, bird’s-eye account of the inner workings of the Trump White House on Jan. 6, 2021, telling the select committee investigating the riot about tantrums by the president amid a mob attack by his supporters on the Capitol.
Tuesday’s surprise hearing featured Hutchinson as the sole witness. Here are the five most explosive moments.
Trump knew the crowd had weapons, didn’t care
The Secret Service had set up magnetometers, often referred to as mags, on the Ellipse to screen for weapons. Many rally attendees, however, had opted to watch Trump’s remarks from the lawn near the Washington Monument rather than the Ellipse so they would not have their weapons confiscated, according to Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the vice chairwoman of the committee.
That angered Trump, who was particularly concerned with the crowd size at his speech, according to Hutchinson.
The ex-aide testified that between two and three minutes before Trump took the stage for his speech, she overheard the president asking for the mags to be taken away because people with weapons were “not here to hurt me.”
“He [Trump] wanted it full and he was angry that we weren’t letting people through the mags with weapons, what the Secret Service deemed as weapons,” Hutchinson previously told the committee, according to a video clip presented on Tuesday.
“But when we were in the offstage announce tent … I overheard the president say something to the effect of, you know, ‘I don’t effing care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me. Take the effing mags away. Let my people in. They can march to the Capitol from here. Let the people in. Take the effing mags away,’” she added.
Cheney then noted that Trump, during his speech, told the crowd, “We’re going to walk down to the Capitol.”
“Let’s reflect on that for a moment. 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,” she said before playing the clip of Trump’s speech.
Trump tries to wrestle steering wheel from detail
Hutchinson told the committee on Tuesday that Trump lunged at his security detail and tried to grab the steering wheel in a presidential vehicle when he was told he would not be going to the Capitol after his speech at the Ellipse.
Hutchinson said she learned of the incident from White House deputy chief of staff Tony Ornato and Robert Engel, head of Trump’s security detail who was in the presidential vehicle, known as the Beast, during the incident.
Ornato told Hutchinson that Trump became “irate” in the Beast when he learned that he was not going to the Capitol and “had a very strong, a very angry response to that,” according to the ex-aide’s testimony.
“The president said something to the effect of ‘I’m the effing president, take me up to the Capitol now,’ to which [Engel] responded, ‘sir, we have to go back to the West Wing,’” Hutchinson testified.
She then told the committee “the president 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 had recounted this story to me, he had motioned towards his clavicles,” she added.
Hutchinson confirmed that Engel was in the room when Ornato recounted what had happened.
Some, however, have since pushed back on this part of Hutchinson’s testimony.
NBC News reported on Tuesday that, according to a source close to Ornato, the former deputy chief of staff first heard about the steering wheel incident during Hutchinson’s testimony.
Additionally, CBS News reported on Tuesday that Engel and the driver of the Beast are willing to testify that Trump did not physically attack or assault them. They are also prepared to go on the record and say that the then-president did not lunge towards the steering wheel.
‘Ketchup dripping down the wall’
Hutchinson testified on Tuesday that Trump, on a number of occasions, threw dishes at the wall in moments of frustration.
She described what she saw after The Associated Press published a story in which then-Attorney General William Barr said the Department of Justice did not find any evidence of voter fraud that would have changed the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Hutchinson said she heard noise from down the hallway and poked her head outside to see what was going on. A valet told the aide that the president had wanted Meadows in the dining room.
Once Meadows returned to the office, Hutchinson walked to the dining room.
“I noticed that the door was propped open and the valet was inside the dining room changing the tablecloth off of the dining room table. He motioned for me to come in and then pointed towards the front of the room near the fireplace mantel and the TV, where I first noticed there was ketchup dripping down the wall and there was a shattered porcelain plate on the floor,” Hutchinson told the committee.
“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 him to have to clean up. So I grabbed a towel and started wiping the ketchup off of the wall to help the valet out,” she said.
Asked by Cheney if that incident was the only time she knew of Trump throwing dishes, Hutchinsons said “it’s not.”
“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 to let all the contents of the table go onto the floor and likely break or go everywhere,” she said.
Meadows and Giuliani asked for pardons
The ex-aide said Giuliani suggested he was interested in receiving a pardon, and that Meadows indicated he was interested in receiving a presidential pardon.
“Mr. Meadows did seek that pardon. Yes, ma’am,” she responded to Cheney’s question.
Hutchinson previously told the committee that Republican Reps. Matt Gaetz (Fla.), Mo Brooks (Ala.), Louie Gohmert (Texas), Andy Biggs (Ariz.) and Scott Perry (Pa.) asked for presidential pardons for their part in voting to overturn the election results in particular states on Jan. 6. That revelation came in last week’s public hearing.
She also said she heard that Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) had contacted the White House counsel’s office seeking a pardon.
Meadows said Trump ‘thinks Mike deserves it’
Hutchinson also offered testimony that detailed what was happening at the White House as rioters stormed the Capitol, including the reactions of top figures regarding chants for Vice President Mike Pence to be hanged.
The ex-aide told the committee that she heard Trump, Meadows and the White House counsel talking about the “hang Mike Pence” chants that were being heard outside the Capitol.
“I remember Pat saying something to the effect of ‘Mark, we need to do something more, they’re literally calling for the vice president to be effing hung,’” Hutchinson said in a video of previous testimony, referring to then-White House counsel Pat Cipollone.
She continued, recalling what Meadows had said of Trump’s reaction to the chants.
“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, ‘this is effing crazy, we need to be doing something more,’” Hutchinson said.
This story was updated at 11:47 a.m. on June 29.