Wed | Aug 10, 2022

Former aide: Trump wanted armed protesters allowed into the Capitol

Published:Wednesday | June 29, 2022 | 12:09 AM
Cassidy Hutchinson, former aide to Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, testifies as the House select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol continues to reveal its findings of a year-long investigation, at the Capitol in
Cassidy Hutchinson, former aide to Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, testifies as the House select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol continues to reveal its findings of a year-long investigation, at the Capitol in Washington yesterday.

WASHINGTON (AP):

Cassidy Hutchinson, a key aide in Donald Trump’s White House, told the House committee investigating the violent January 6, 2021 insurrection on Tuesday that Trump was informed that the supporters he addressed that morning had weapons, but he told officials to “let my people in” and march to the Capitol.

Trump demanded to accompany them, she said, and at one point he aggressively grabbed the steering wheel in the presidential limousine, after he was told by security officials that it wasn’t safe. Hutchinson, who was an aide to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, said she was told that by Meadows’ deputy.

She said she wasn’t sure what he would have done at the Capitol, as a violent mob of his supporters was breaking in. There were conversations about him “going into the House chamber at one point,” Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson quoted Trump as directing his staff, in profane terms, to take away the metal-detecting magnetometers that he thought would slow down supporters who’d gathered in Washington. In videotaped testimony played before the committee, she recalled the former president saying words to the effect of: “I don’t f-in’ care that they have weapons.

“They’re not here to hurt me. Take the f-in’ mags away. Let my people in. They can march to the Capitol from here,” Hutchinson testified.

As Trump spoke to thousands of supporters on the Ellipse behind the White House – and more gathered on the Washington Monument grounds, Hutchinson said, she received an angry call from Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who had just heard the president say he was coming to the Capitol. “Don’t come up here,” McCarthy told her, before hanging up.

In the days before the attack, Hutchinson said that she was “scared, and nervous for what could happen” ahead of the riot after conversations with Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, Meadows and others.

Meadows told Hutchinson that “things might get real, real bad”, she said. Giuliani told her it was going to be “a great day” and “we’re going to the Capitol”. She described Meadows as unconcerned as security officials told him that people at Trump’s rally had weapons – including people wearing armour and carrying automatic weapons.

A month earlier, Hutchinson said, she heard noise inside the White House around the time an AP article was published, in which then Attorney General William Barr said the Justice Department had not found evidence of voter fraud that could have affected the election outcome.

She said she entered a room and noticed ketchup dripping down a wall and broken porcelain. The president, it turned out, had thrown his lunch across the wall in disgust over the article and she was urged to steer clear of him.