A new report about Cassidy Hutchinson revealed some of the back story involving her former lawyer and the sudden departure to a new attorney ahead of her public testimony with the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on Congress and the attempt to overthrow the 2020 election.
In the New York Times, reporter Robert Draper cited pro-Donald Trump lawyer Stefan Passantino, who was being paid for by Trump's Save America PAC to represent Hutchinson and has helped other witnesses as well.
"Mr. Passantino had extensive financial ties to Mr. Trump’s orbit," the Times explained. "Federal Election Commission reports show that his legal compliance firm received more than $1 million from Trump-related political action committees in the 2021-22 election cycle, and that in the previous cycle Marjorie Taylor Greene, a staunch Trump loyalist and a House candidate at the time, paid him more than $93,000 for his services."
She spoke to the committee for the first time in Feb. 2022, though it wasn't yet clear if Passantino was there on behalf of Donald Trump over her legal interests, two sources told the Times.
Portions of her first three depositions had Hutchinson mentioning Anthony Ornato, a former Secret Service agent Trump appointed to be deputy White House chief of staff. She recalled Ornato warning then-chief of staff Mark Meadows that there were intelligence reports warning of violence on Jan. 6. She also revealed that House Republicans were already pressing Vice President Mike Pence to stop the Jan. 6 Electoral College certification.
Hutchinson grew more "warm" to the idea of helping the committee, but Passantino was not.
“She realized she couldn’t call her attorney to say, ‘Hey, I’ve got more information,’” said a friend. “He was there to insulate the big guy.”
That was when she reached out to Alyssa Farah Griffin, the former White House director of communications, and former Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA). The latter said she could have predicted the predicament.
“I said, ‘You’re going to end up paying legal bills,’” Comstock recalled to the Times. She then offered to start a legal defense fund so she wouldn't have to depend on Trump's lawyers for help. That's when Jody Hunt offered to help, he was the former Justice Department head of the civil division under Jeff Sessions. Due to his connection to Sessions, he too was a pariah in Trump World.
Greater cooperation moved forward from there.