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'A swearing contest' has broken out between Cassidy Hutchinson and Trump's Secret Service guy: ex-ethics czar
Former impeachment lawyer and White House ethics czar Norm Eisen explained that there's a battle of facts between former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson and former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Anthony Ornato.
Ornato previously served as a Secret Service Agent, but was appointed by Trump to serve in the White House and ultimately took a leave of absence from the agency. Ornato has not testified publicly before the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on Congress and the attempt to overthrow the election. Cassidy Hutchinson has testified for over 20 hours in addition to the four hours a the public hearing last week.
As Eisen explained, "to the extent this has turned into a swearing contest between Ornato and Cassidy Hutchinson, she didn't just provide 60 seconds in a yes or no about the details of Trump's anger wanting to march with that armed mob. Ornato has to answer all the questions and had a bird's eye view of what went on and we're rounding in as the hearings proceed to the hearing of these events. In the run-up, the funding and the organization of Jan. 6th, and what happened on Jan. 6th itself. Ornato has to answer all of those questions. That could be uncomfortable for him."
There have been questions about Ornato's credibility, as Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) tweeted on Thursday.
"'There seems to be a major thread here… Tony Ornato likes to lie," he explained.
Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) similarly explained to NBC News that Ornato "did not have as clear of memories from this period of time" as Hutchinson.
"We got a very important missing link from Cassidy Hutchinson and that is that President Trump knew the crowd was armed," Eisen closed. "He had reason to believe the danger that would occur and how he wanted to march with the crowd, how angry he was when he couldn't go and it puts on his tweet attacking Pence when we know not only that he didn't want to take action but Ms. Hutchinson heard the conversation between the president's chief of staff, Mr. Cipollone, his White House counsel, that Trump agreed with the crowd that was intending harm to his own vice president. That really creates the missing link of Trump wanting to see this violence occur and increases his criminal exposure."
It's still unknown if Ornato will be willing to testify publicly before the committee.
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'A swearing contest' has broken out between Hutchinson and Trump's Secret Service guy: ethics czar youtu.be
Trump biographer says ex-president projecting mental instability on Cassidy Hutchinson after Jan. 6 hearing
Former President Donald Trump used a far-right channel to attack former senior White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, but one of his biographers alleges that his comments are all just projections.
"This lady yesterday, there's something wrong with her," Trump said on Wednesday. "Is there something wrong? the woman is living in fantasy land. She's a social climber, if you call that social. She has serious problems. Mental problems. But for this girl to sit there and just, I think, make up stories and I, again, hardly know who she is."
In the past, Trump has been caught trying to discredit former top aides by claiming he doesn't even know them when photos and videos show otherwise. He infamously called his foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos nothing more than a coffee boy, when, in reality, he was told to organize foreign trips for Trump and speak to international agents as a representative of the campaign.
Similar to Papadopoulos, Hutchinson has been photographed with Trump, and she's well-known in Trump world. The House Select Committee began the hearing with her by showing photos of her on Air Force One and wherever chief of staff Mark Meadows went.
“Well, we always expected Trump world to try and discredit her, and they are not disappointing us in that regard,” Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) told NBC News on Sunday. “I thought her testimony was credible. She has nothing to gain by stepping forward and telling the truth. And Trump world has everything to lose by the truth. So they are doing their best to try and attack her, to discredit her.”
Trump biographer Michael D'Antonio has written books about Trump using these tactics and explained on CNN that it's "straight out of the playbook."
"I'm reminded of the saying that the character is destiny so we're now seeing play out Donald Trump's destiny based on his character and Ms. Hutchinson's destiny playing out based on her character and we know that in the wings with Pat Cipollone and we're going to try to see where his character leads him," D'Antonio explained. "Yes, Donald Trump has always done this and the strange thing is that it has worked for him. It has allowed him to attract only the most loyal people who are afraid of him. It has allowed him to bully people into submission."
D'Antonio noted it's interesting that Trump actually uses the exact same words to attack people.
"He always says that people are crazy," the biographer explained. "People are seeking to raise their profile. People are just making up stories. Well, who does that remind you of? Who does it remind you of when he says someone is making up stories or trying to raise their profile or even being a little bit crazy. It reminds us of one former president."
Those who know Trump have been asked about what they've witnessed from the ex-president's behavior and if what Hutchinson is describing is accurate.
"It sounds like the person that he imagined himself to be," said D'Antonio about Trump's behavior. "So this is a fellow who told me he's the hero in his own comic book, that he loves to fight all kinds of fights, even physical fights. The record doesn't show he's really done that."
Former lawyer Michael Cohen explained on CNN that he's never known Trump to actually get into physical altercations with anyone, even as a child. There are rape accusations in Ivana Trump's book as well as sexual assault and sexual harassment allegations from over 20 women. Trump even bragged on video about sexually assaulting women.
"I think it's unlikely that he would somehow make his way across the beast and grab the steering wheel, but I think it's the kind of story people would tell about him," said D'Antonio. "The part that is credible to me is the idea he insisted on going to the Capitol himself. Now we can only tremble at the thought of what would have happened if he had done that. I think the outcome would have been very different. The idea that he imagined being the president that would take over the car, and force it to go up to the Capitol, is how he would have thought about himself. But it's not what I expect he did."
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Trump biographer says ex-president projecting mental instability on Cassidy Hutchinson www.youtube.com
The longtime partner of slain Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick was aghast after hearing the testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson last Tuesday before the House Select Committee investigating the attack on Congress and attempt to overthrow the election.
“That selfish bastard," said Sandra Garza of former President Donald Trump. She and Sicknick once supported Trump and his presidency, but after Jan. 6, 2021, that changed, WUSA reported Sunday.
What was revealed on Tuesday left many officers in the audience in Congress very upset.
"Most of what I hear is shocking to me," Metro Police Officer Daniel Hodges told reporters outside the committee hearing room on Tuesday. "I mean, hearing that he essentially set us up, yeah, that's shocking."
Hutchinson explained that the assistant director of the Secret Service told the former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, in front of her, that many attendees of the "Stop the Steal" rally were armed. The Secret Service chief, Anthony Ornato, said that he had told the president as well. According to Hutchinson, Trump explained that all people with weapons should be allowed in because "they're not here to hurt me," implying they were prepared to hurt someone else.
It's a federal offense to have weapons on federal government land, like the White House grounds and the monuments. The Secret Service didn't arrest anyone, however.
The hearings also revealed that at no point did the president put forth any effort to call for help for the Capitol Police or D.C Metro officers. The one who actually called and dispatched the National Guard to the Capitol was Vice President Mike Pence. After it became clear that the local law enforcement was overwhelmed and Trump wasn't going to send help, Washington, D.C. mayor asked for Virginia and Maryland to send their Guard soldiers. The governors rushed to help the city, which isn't an actual state, and thus can't do much without an act of Congress.
"When I realized that he didn't call in any reinforcements. He didn't want the riot to stop. Actually, he orchestrated this entire thing. He was actually trying to, you know, overthrow the government so that he could stay in power," said Garza. "That's when it really hit me. And that's when the anger really started to boil up within me. And I was like, yeah, I actually can't stand this guy and you know, I hold him responsible for Brian's passing."
"That is very upsetting. I mean, I’m not surprised," Garza continued. "I mean, my mouth dropped. My jaw dropped. It shouldn’t be shocking by now. But it still is unbelievable that he was the President of the United States at the time and made an order like that."
She also explained that Trump has talked more about Ashley Babbitt than Sicknick. Babbitt broke through locked doors outside of the Speaker's lobby, which is just off the House floor. An agent shot and killed her as she tried to climb through the broken-out window. Garza said she's not sure she's ever heard Trump mention Sicknick's name.
"It's very painful given that Brian and I were supporters of him at the time and particularly Brian. Brian's was a big supporter of Donald Trump even more so than me," Garza said.
"I have empathy for Ashley Babbitt’s family. I know they experienced a lot of pain and grief just like I did. But at the same time, I also have a lot of empathy for the officer who was put in that position to have to make that call to protect the members of Congress," she said. "I mean, it's not easy for an officer to have to make that terrible decision. I think a lot of people who are not in law enforcement don't understand that it's incredibly traumatic."
She went on to say that she wants to see Attorney General Merrick Garland do more and for Trump to face criminal charges.
"Do I think he's (Attorney General Garland) doing enough? No, I don't. I would like to think that after this, there will be something done," Garza said. "I don't know why it's taking so long. It seems like it's moving at a snails pace. Trump and all these people that have enabled Trump, it's like they've gotten away with murder and they continue to get away with murder. And, you know, the average Joe or Jane you know, we would have been in prison by now. So what's different here?"