White House chief of staff Mark Meadows warned one of his top aides on January 2, 2021, that “things might get real, real bad” on January 6, that aide, Cassidy Hutchinson, said in the opening moments of her bombshell testimony before the House January 6 committee on Tuesday.
The testimony she provided over the next two hours included a litany of details about Meadows’s, Trump’s, and other White House officials’ knowledge of the danger the January 6, 2021, rally participants posed, their activities as the Capitol riot happened, and what they did in the days after it.
Although clips of the nearly 20 hours of depositions that Hutchinson gave the committee had previously played in public hearings, this was the first time that a White House staffer has appeared in person during the hearings, and it surpassed the hype stoked by the committee’s last-minute announcement of a hearing.
Hutchinson was a key conduit between the White House and dozens of members of Congress, and the committee previously aired part of her deposition where she named members of Congress who had sought pardons from Trump after January 6. She also was in countless meetings with figures who played key roles in the plot to overturn the election, including Meadows and lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, and has played a vital role in the committee’s effort to piece together the events leading up to January 6.
Here are the seven most shocking revelations Hutchinson disclosed on Tuesday.
1) Trump attacked a Secret Service agent
"I’m the F’ing President. Take me up to the Capitol now." pic.twitter.com/LWg2sdFtTi— January 6th Committee (@January6thCmte) June 28, 2022
Hutchinson revealed that Trump was so intent on going to the Capitol following his speech during the Stop the Steal rally at the Ellipse on January 6 that, according to a colleague who talked to her shortly after he saw the incident, he grabbed the steering wheel of the presidential limousine and then got physical with the Secret Service agent who tried to restrain him.
She said that Trump had believed he was going to the Capitol after his speech that day, and only discovered that those plans had been blocked once he returned to the motorcade afterward. According to Hutchinson’s second-hand account, Trump was so enraged that he shouted “I’m the f-ing president, take me up to the Capitol now” before trying to drive himself there. When a Secret Service officer restrained him, Trump then “lunged at his clavicle.”
2) Trump was repeatedly warned about going to the Capitol
Hutchinson said White House counsel Pat Cipollone repeatedly warned Trump and other top officials that going to the Capitol as protesters were marching there to disrupt the counting of electoral votes would create criminal liability.
“We are going to get charged with every crime imaginable,” Hutchinson said he told her of the plans for Trump to show up there on January 6. The top White House lawyer specifically cited obstruction of justice and obstructing the electoral count as crimes that Trump might commit by appearing at the joint session of Congress.
3) Trump was blasé about the armed mob
Trump was unhappy that the crowd at his Ellipse rally before his speech was too small, and displeased that many rallygoers were watching from beyond the security perimeter, Hutchinson recounted.
Trump was furious the Secret Service was screening people at his rally for weapons.— January 6th Committee (@January6thCmte) June 28, 2022
"They're not here to hurt me. Take the F'ing mags away. Let my people in. They can march to the Capitol from here." pic.twitter.com/YEQGkbjuiM
When he was told it was because many of the people at the National Mall were armed and didn’t want to go through security to get closer to the stage, Trump was enraged.
“I don’t care that they have weapons, they are not here to hurt me, take the f’in mags away, and they can march to the Capitol,” he said, according to Hutchinson.
4) The White House knew it would get bad
Hutchinson testified at length about her former boss, Meadows, and the warnings he and White House officials got in the days leading up to January 6, including that January 2 comment.
On January 2, 2021, Rudy Giuliani met with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.— January 6th Committee (@January6thCmte) June 28, 2022
Hutchison was told that things on January 6 might get "real bad." pic.twitter.com/401ThSJNWv
The conversation in which Meadows warned things could get “real bad” occurred minutes after Rudy Giuliani told Hutchinson, “We are going to the Capitol, it’s going to be great, the president is going to be there, he’s going to look powerful.”
5. “Mike deserves it”
Hutchinson testified that she heard Meadows tell Cipollone that Trump agreed with the mob shouting “Hang Mike Pence” at the Capitol. “You heard him, Pat, he thinks Mike deserves it, he doesn’t think they’re doing anything wrong,” Meadows said, according to Hutchinson.
"Mark had responded something to the effect of, 'You heard him, Pat. He thinks Mike [Pence] deserves it. He doesn't think they're doing anything wrong.'" pic.twitter.com/TGeXBmAy3O— January 6th Committee (@January6thCmte) June 28, 2022
She went on to describe Trump’s mindset on January 7 — that the rioters didn’t do anything wrong. Instead, Trump believed, “The people who did something wrong that day was Mike Pence not standing with him.”
6. Pardons were on the table — and Mark Meadows wanted one
We knew from prior testimony that a half-dozen members of Congress inquired about pardons after January 6. Hutchinson on Tuesday testified that both Meadows and Giuliani reached out to Trump about potential pardons after the attack on the Capitol.
In addition, she testified that Trump wanted to promise a pardon to everyone who stormed the Capitol in his January 7 speech and was encouraged to do so by Meadows. However, White House counsel made clear that “they didn’t think it was a good idea.”
7. A witness-tampering chaser
Hutchinson’s revelations were so numerous, it often seemed there was a new bombshell every few minutes. And when she wrapped up her testimony, Rep. Liz Cheney, in her closing statement, offered a bombshell of her own: There had been efforts to intimidate witnesses called to testify before the committee.
CHENEY finishes the hearing by raising allegations of witness intimidation and witness tampering in the January 6 investigation. pic.twitter.com/L1DnyG9v09— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) June 28, 2022
Without naming the witnesses or who was doing the intimidation, she showed statements received in advance of their depositions or testimony by witnesses appearing before the committee. One read: “I’m protecting who I need to protect ... I’ll continue to stay in good graces in Trump World. And they have reminded me a couple of times Trump does read transcripts and just to keep that in mind.”