The President of the United States tried to hijack his own limousine and he scuffled with one of his security staff who stopped him from taking control of the vehicle, according to a White House aide who also said Trump urged security procedures to be dropped so armed people could march to the Capitol and said his VP deserved to be assassinated.
Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson told members of the House Select Committee investigating the attempted coup d’etat that President Donald Trump knew his supporters were carrying guns and weapons on January 6 and intended to join them at the Capitol.
The testimony offers significant new information about how the White House was warned about the violence even as Trump and his staff were slow to react to it in real-time as violence broke out on Jan. 6.
Hutchinson, a New Jersey native who was an aide to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, told the committee investigating the violent Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection that Trump was informed that the supporters he addressed that morning had weapons but he told the Secret Service to “let my people in” shortly before he incited them to march on the Capitol.
Hutchinson’s remarks portrayed Trump as spiraling into an increasingly manic rage as he continued his last-ditch effort to seize a second term he didn’t win.
Hutchinson – who witnessed everything from Trump’s reactions to the Capitol riot to GOP lawmakers seeking pardons after the fact – met with committee investigators several times to describe what she saw on Jan. 6.
Trump was “irate” when his motorcade was heading back to the West Wing.
Hutchinson said she was told that by Meadows’ deputy that at one point, Trump grabbed the steering wheel of the presidential limousine after he was told by security officials that it wasn’t safe to accompany the mob as it marched on the Capitol.
She recalled hearing from security official Tony Ornato that, when Trump was informed he would be returning to the White House, he lunged for the steering wheel of his vehicle and was physically restrained by the head of his security detail — who sat by silently as Ornato relayed the story.
She said she was told by two people who were riding in the vehicle, that Trump yelled: “I’m the effing president, take me to the Capitol now!”
Trump demanded that his security allow him to accompany the mob, she said, although Hutchinson said she wasn’t sure what he would have done as his supporters the violent mob of terrorists who broke in and disrupted Congress as the electoral votes were counted.
Hutchinson said there were conversations about Trump “going into the House chamber at one point.”
Minutes before Trump took the stage on Jan. 6, 2021, he urged the Secret Service to remove security magnetometers to let in people with weapons because “they’re not here to hurt me,” Cassidy told investigators.
Hutchinson quoted Trump as directing his staff, in profane terms, to take away the metal detectors because he thought they 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.
When White House counsel Pat Cipollone pressed Meadows to elaborate about people in the mob who were chanting “Hang Mike Pence” at the US Capitol, Hutchinson said he responded: “[Trump] thinks Mike deserves it. He doesn’t think they are doing anything wrong.”
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.
According to the witness, Meadows told Hutchinson that “things might get real real bad,” but Giuliani told her it was going to be “a great day” and “we’re going to the Capitol.”
“I was scared … and I had deeper concern for what was happening with the planning aspects of it,” Hutchinson said.
It was Jan. 2, she said, when Giuliani told her that things were “happening” and could get ugly at the Capitol building a few short days later.
She described Meadows as unconcerned as security officials told him that people at Trump’s rally had weapons – including people wearing armor and carrying automatic weapons.
Once Trump was back at the White House, she said she saw “ketchup dripping down the wall, and a shattered plate,” which apparently Trump had thrown because he was so upset upon learning that Attorney General Bill Barr said he saw no evidence of widespread fraud during an interview with the Associated Press.
“Was this the only instance where the President threw dishes?” asked Rep. Liz Cheney, who is the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney and co-chair of the bipartisan panel.
“It’s not,” Hutchinson said. “There were several times during my tenure when he would throw dishes, or flip a tablecloth.”
The former senior White House aide was connected to nearly everyone inside Trump’s inner circle, and was “inseparable” from her boss, Meadows, whether it was in the Oval Office or on many trips on Air Force One, according to Olivia Troye, former White House Homeland Security adviser to Vice President Mike Pence.
“Wherever Mark Meadows was, Cassidy was there. They were inseparable,” said Troye. “She’s got the facts. She’s a firsthand witness to these facts. This is someone who is incredibly credible, because she did her job loyally and unwaveringly.”
Troye said that testifying is a sacrifice for Hutchinson’s career and her safety.
“There should be some concerns about her safety. She is going to face some serious vitriol,” Troye said. “She is losing her entire political circle and world to do this … for her country.”