(WASHINGTON) — The House select committee investigating the U.S. Capitol attack heard stunning stunning testimony on Tuesday from Cassidy Hutchinson, a former top aide to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.
She told the committee and an international TV audience that then-President Donald Trump was warned about potential violence and crimes, that he wanted supporters with weapons let into his Jan. 6 rally, and that he then demanded his security detail take him to the Capitol, going so far as to grab the wheel of the presidential limousine, “The Beast.”
This was the sixth hearing this month investigating what the committee says was the conspiracy by Trump and his allies to overturn the election.
Please check back for updates. All times Eastern.
Jun 28, 3:18 pm
Cheney raises concerns about witness intimidation, Thompson encourages others to come forward
Rep. Liz Cheney, vice chair of the committee, raised concerns of witness intimidation in her closing remarks.
The committee showed on a large screen above the members a text message that read: “[A person] let me know your deposition tomorrow. He wants me to let you know that he’s thinking about you. He knows you’re loyal, and you’re going to do the right thing when you go in for your deposition.”
“I think most Americans know that attempting to influence witnesses to testify untruthfully presents very serious concerns,” Cheney said in her closing remarks, adding that the panel will be discussing the issue and considering next steps.
Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., commended Hutchinson for “doing your patriotic duty and helping the American people get a complete understanding of January 6th and its causes.”
Thompson also encouraged others to come forward.
“If you’ve heard if you’ve heard this testimony today and suddenly you remember things you couldn’t previously recall, or or there are some details you’d like to clarify, or you discovered some courage you had hidden away somewhere, our doors remain open,” he said
Jun 28, 3:18 pm
Extraordinary hearing closes
It was among the shortest but most shocking Jan. 6 public hearings so far.
Cassidy Hutchinson, for nearly two-hours Tuesday, testified that Trump and Meadows were aware the Capitol was a target and that Trump supporters at the “Save America” rally were armed with weapons when the president told urged them to march to the Capitol on Jan. 6.
She said Trump told aides to let individuals with weapons past security and into the crowd, which he was “furious” with due to its size, with Hutchinson recalling Trump saying, “‘I don’t care that they have weapons. They are not here to hurt me. Take the effing mags (magnetometers) away."”
Trump wanted to go to the Capitol himself after his speech, she said, and there was even conversation about having him go into the House chamber, despite the White House counsel’s office raising serious legal concerns and the Secret Service raising safety concerns.
Still, demanding to go to the Capitol, Hutchinson recalled learning that Trump grabbed the steering wheel in “The Beast: — the president’s limousine — on the way back to the White House and said, “‘I’m the f—ing president. Take me up to the Capitol now!"” before lunging at a Secret Service agent.
Hutchinson also confirmed Trump instructed Meadows to make contact with a “war room” in the Willard Hotel on the evening of Jan. 5 and advised Meadows against going in person after hearing Rudy Giuliani’s plans for the day, which she said she overheard included “Oath Keepers” and “Proud Boys.”
In a statement to ABC News, Roger Stone said it was “FALSE” that he spoke to Meadows on the phone on Jan. 5 “or any other date.”
Jun 28, 2:48 pm
Witness: Trump didn’t want to respond as attack on Capitol unfolded
In videotaped testimony, Hutchinson recalled seeing Meadows in his office at the White House, flipping through his phone as Trump supporters marched to the Capitol, and then violently breaching it.
“I said, ‘The rioters are getting really close. Have you talked to the president?"” she recalled. “Meadows said, ‘No. He wants to be alone right now."”
“I felt like I was watching,” she continued in taped testimony, “a bad car accident that was about to happen. You can’t stop it but you want to do something. I remember thinking in that moment that Mark needs to snap out of this.”
She recalled White House counsel Pat Cipollone “barreling” towards Meadows’s office, and saying something to the effect of, “”Mark, something needs to be done, or people are going to die and blood is going to be on your effing hands."”
She later overheard Cipollone and Meadows talking about the “Hang Mike Pence” chants at the Capitol.
“You heard it Pat — he thinks Mike deserves it. He thinks they aren’t doing anything wrong,” Meadows said to Cipollone when the White House lawyer said they needed to respond, according to Hutchinson.
-ABC News’ Benjamin Siegel
Jun 28, 2:45 pm
Witness ‘disgusted’ by Trump’s attack on Pence
Cassidy Hutchinson said she was “disgusted” by President Trump’s Twitter post during the Capitol attack disparaging then-Vice President Mike Pence for not single-handedly rejecting Joe Biden’s electoral victory.
“Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!” Trump tweeted.
Hutchinson recalled “feeling frustrated, disappointed, and really — it felt personal. I was really saddened. As an American, I was disgusted. It was unpatriotic. It was un-American.”
Matthew Pottinger, who was then serving as the deputy national security adviser, told the committee in previous testimony, it said, that he decided to quit because of what Trump said in that social media post.
“I read that tweet, and made a decision at that moment to resign,” Pottinger said. “That’s where I knew that I was leaving that day, once I read that tweet.”
Jun 28, 2:07 pm
Witness: Trump ‘irate’ in Beast, physically assaulted security detail, demanded to be taken to Capitol
Cassidy Hutchinson recalled a shocking story of Trump’s anger on Jan. 6 after being told he could not go to the Capitol to meet supporters following his “Save America” rally on the Ellipse — leading to Trump physically assaulting his security detail on the way back to the White House.
Hutchinson recalled the conversation she had back at the White House just after the rally with Bobby Engel, part of Trump’s security detail, who was “sitting in the chair, looking somewhat discombobulated,” and Tony Ornato.
“As the president had gotten into the vehicle with Bobby, he thought they were going out of the Capitol and when Bobby had relayed to him were not, ‘You don’t have the access to do it, is not secure, we’re going back to the West Wing.’ The president had a very strong, very angry response to that,” she recalled.
“Tony described him as being irate. The president said something to the effect of, ‘I’m the effing president, take me up to the Capitol now’ — to which Bobby responded, ‘Sir, we have to go back to the West Wing.’ 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 used his free hand to lunge towards Bobby Engel and when Mr. Ornado recounted the story to me, he motions towards his clavicle,” she said.
Jun 28, 1:57 pm
Cippollone warned about criminal charges if Trump marched to Capitol
Hutchinson testified about the concerns some White House staff had about President Trump wanting to go to the Capitol with his supporters on Jan. 6. At one point that morning, Hutchinson said, then-White House counsel Pat Cippollone told her to make sure that it didn’t happen.
“We’re going to get charged with every crime imaginable if we go up to the Capitol,” Hutchinson said Cippollone told her.
Crimes they were concerned about, she said, included defrauding the electoral count and obstructing justice.
The White House legal team was also concerned about aspects of Trump’s remarks at the Ellipse, Hutchinson testified, and urged speechwriters not to include language about marching to the Capitol.
Jun 28, 1:56 pm
WH lawyer warned speechwriters of rhetoric ahead of Ellipse speech
Hutchinson said there were “many discussions” the morning of Jan. 6 about the rhetoric Trump would use at the speech that ultimately preceded the riot.
Hutchinson testified that Eric Herschmann, a lawyer for Trump, said it would be “foolish to include language that had been included at the president’s request, which had lines along, to the effect of ‘fight for Trump, we’re going to march to the Capitol, I’ll be there with you, fight for me, fight for what we’re doing, fight for the movement,’ things about the vice president at the time too.”
“Both Mr. Herschmann and White House counsel’s office were urging the speechwriters to not include that language for legal concerns and also for the optics of what it could portray the president wanting to do that day,” Hutchinson said.
Trump at his speech ultimately said, “So let’s walk down Pennsylvania Avenue” to give “weak” Republicans the “pride and boldness that they need to take back our country.”
Jun 28, 1:51 pm
Trump ‘furious’ people with weapons couldn’t get into Jan.6 Ellipse rally: ‘They are not here to hurt me’
Cassidy Hutchinson recalled how Trump was “furious” with the crowd size of his “Save America” rally on the Ellipse on Jan. 6 and with aides who didn’t want to let in individuals in who had weapons, which officials said ranged from AR-15-style rifles to bear spray.
“I was in the vicinity of a conversation where I heard the president say, “‘I don’t care that they have weapons. They are not here to hurt me. Take the effing mags away. Let my people in,"” she recalled. “‘They can march to the Capitol after the rally is over."”
Vice chair Liz Cheney asked Americans to “reflect on that for a moment” and remember what Trump called on the crowd to do, knowing they were equipped with weapons and body armor.
Jun 28, 1:45 pm
Hutchinson says Meadows didn’t act on concerns of violence
Hutchinson described Meadows’ underwhelming reaction to learning about the list of weapons that people had in the rally crowd that morning — including knives, bear spray, guns and flagpoles with spears attached to them.
“I remember distinctly Mark not looking up from his phone,” Hutchinson said, noting it took Meadows a few moments to respond. When he did respond, he asked [security officials], “Alright, anything else?”
In previously taped deposition, Hutchinson told the committee it was accurate to say Meadows “did not act” on concerns of violence.
Jun 28, 1:36 pm
White House was warned ‘Congress itself is the target on the 6th’
The bombshell information the committee is unfolding through Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony is that the Trump administration and Trump himself knew about the potential for violence before Jan. 6.
“I recall hearing the word ‘Oath Keeper’ and hearing the word ‘Proud Boys’ closer to the planning of the January 6 rally when Mr. Giuliani would be around,” Hutchinson said in a taped deposition played by Vice Chair Rep. Liz Cheney.
Cheney then displayed a Capitol Police bulletin on Jan. 3 warning, “targets of the pro-Trump supporters are not necessarily the counter-protesters as they were previously, but rather Congress itself is the target on the 6th.”
Hutchinson also recalled receiving a call from then-national security adviser Robert O’Brien, after the Capitol Police bulletin, asking if he could speak with Meadows about the potential violence. She wasn’t sure if that call ever happened.
Jun 28, 1:29 pm
Meadows told Hutchinson ‘things might get real, real bad’ on Jan. 6
Hutchinson described Tuesday conversations she had with Rudy Giuliani and then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Jan. 2, 2021 — four days before the attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Hutchinson said Giuliani said to her something “to the effect of ‘We’re going to the Capitol. It’s going to be great. The president’s going to be there. He’s going to look powerful."”
When Hutchinson went to Meadows’ office to relay her discussion with Giuliani, Meadows told her: “There is a lot going on, Cass, I don’t know, things might get real, real bad on Jan. 6.”
“That evening was the first moment that I remember feeling scared and nervous for what could happen on Jan. 6,” Hutchinson testified. “I had a deeper concern with what was happening with the planning aspects.”
Jun 28, 1:20 pm
Committee establishes Hutchinson’s proximity to Trump
Introducing Hutchinson to the American people, Chairman Bennie Thompson asked Hutchinson to recall a typical day at the White House.
“When I moved over to the White House chief of staff’s office with Mr. Meadows, when he became the fourth chief of staff, it’s difficult to describe a typical day,” she said.
Thompson established through a series of questions how Hutchinson’s office was a five to 10-second walk from the Oval Office and that she regularly engaged with members of Congress and senior members of the Trump administration.
Jun 28, 1:17 pm
Cheney: Hutchinson will relay firsthand observations of Trump’s conduct
Vice chair Liz Cheney said Cassidy Hutchinson was in a “position to know a great deal about the happenings in the Trump White House.”
“Today, you will hear Ms. Hutchinson relate certain first-hand observations about President Trump’s conduct on Jan. 6,” Cheney said in her opening statement. “You will also hear new information regarding the actions and statements of Mr. Trump’s senior advisers that day, including his chief of staff Mark Meadows, and his White House counsel.”
Cheney said information will also be released on what Trump and members of the White House knew about the potential for violence on Jan. 6.
Jun 28, 1:13 pm
Chair applauds Hutchinson’s ‘courage’ to open hearing
Chair Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., convened the unexpected hearing shortly after 1 p.m. with Cassidy Hutchinson, a former top aide to Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, taking her seat as members took the dais.
In brief opening remarks, he explained information that she had needed to be shared with the American people “immediately” and hailed her courage.
“In recent days, the select committee has obtained new information, dealing with what was going on in the White House on Jan. 6, and in the days prior. Specific, detailed information about what the former president and his top aides were doing and saying in those critical hours. Firsthand details of what transpired in the Office of the White House chief of staff,” Thompson said.
“It hasn’t always been easy to get that information, because the same people who drove the former president’s pressure campaign to overturn the election are now trying to cover up the truth about January 6. But thanks to the courage of certain individuals, the truth won’t be buried. The American people won’t be left in the dark,” he added. “Our witness today is Cassidy Hutchinson, she has embodied that courage.”
Jun 28, 1:08 pm
Cameras flash at high drama hearing
With the nature of the hearing coming up with little notice, signaling urgency for the committee, reporters and cameras swarmed the witness table inside the Cannon Office Building ahead of Cassidy Hutchinson taking her seat.
Hutchinson entered the hearing room at 1 p.m. with members of the Jan. 6 committee.
ABC News Chief Washington Correspondent Jon Karl said sources have told him the hearing will be “Big —and disturbing.”
Jun 28, 1:00 pm
Former WH deputy press secretary shows support for Hutchinson
Former White House deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews showed support for Cassidy Hutchinson ahead of her scheduled testimony.
“Just want to say how much admiration I have for the tremendous bravery Cassidy Hutchinson is displaying,” Matthews wrote on Twitter. “Even in the face of harassment and threats, she is choosing to put her country first and tell the truth.”
“This is what real courage, integrity, and patriotism looks like,” Matthews added.
Matthews resigned from her position in the Trump administration on Jan. 6 , stating she was “deeply disturbed” by what took place that day.
Jun 28, 12:59 pm
Witness switched attorneys as public hearings began
Cassidy Hutchinson hired a new attorney, Jody Hunt, earlier this month to represent her as the public Jan. 6 hearings began. Her agreement to testify publicly comes after months of negotiations between the committee and her counsel, sources told ABC News.
At the start of the Trump administration, Hunt served as chief of staff to then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions. He later became the head of the Department of Justice’s Civil Division.
Jun 28, 12:23 pm
Who is Cassidy Hutchinson?
The committee’s expected witness, Cassidy Hutchinson, is a former top adviser to Trump’s White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.
A 2019 political science graduate of Virginia’s Christopher Newport University, Hutchinson was as an intern to House GOP Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, in college before serving as a White House intern in 2018. After graduating, she joined the Trump White House Office of Legislative Affairs, before joining Meadows as an executive assistant, and later a special assistant to the president.
“I have set a personal goal to pursue a path of civic significance,” she told her alma mater in a 2018 interview after her White House internship.
Having already sat four separate times for closed-door depositions with the committee, Hutchinson has been featured in clips publicly displayed by the committee, including some in which she discussed members of Congress asking the White House for pardons.
Jun 28, 9:57 am
Surprise hearing signals committee’s urgency
The House select committee will convene Tuesday afternoon for a surprise public hearing, signaling apparent urgency among members to reveal further findings from their year-long inquiry.
The hearing, scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. ET, will see the committee “present recently obtained evidence and receive witness testimony,” the group said in a news release Monday.
Former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, who was a top adviser to Donald Trump’s last chief of staff, Mark Meadows, is expected to testify, sources familiar with the matter told ABC News. Punchbowl News first reported her appearance.
Hutchinson is expected to put a voice to many of the internal White House interactions involving the events of Jan. 6 and offer significant insight into Meadows’ actions and interactions with Trump.
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