According to a report from Politico, testimony by the former senior aide to ex-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows about Donald Trump's knowledge of his supporters carrying weapons during the Jan 6th Capitol riot gave a huge boost to civil suits that have been filed against the former president.
During her stunning testimony before the House committee investigating the riot that forced lawmakers from both sides of the aisle to flee for their lives, White House staffer Cassidy Hutchison revealed that Trump knew weapons were present and demanded the Secret Service allow them to proceed to the Capitol from the "Stop the Steal" rally.
In one key revelation, Trump reportedly said of his armed supporters, "Take the f*cking mags [magnetometers] away. They’re not here to hurt me.”
As Politico's Josh Gerstein wrote, "Trump faces at least six civil suits over Jan. 6 that could gain traction from testimony by the aide, Cassidy Hutchinson, that Trump was told many of his supporters had weapons and that he urged they be allowed through metal detectors anyway," and the testimony gave those lawsuits a "major boost."
Attorney Joseph Sellers, who filed one of the civil suits, told Politico that Hutchinson's testimony would be used in pressing his lawsuit.
“The testimony that came today I think was very powerful confirmation that Trump knew and expected the crowd that was assembled was going to engage in violent action directed at the Capitol with the intention of interfering with the ability to ratify the results of the election,” he explained.
Politico's Gerstein added, "The new information also seems to dovetail with U.S. District Court Judge Amit Mehta’s explanation of why he was turning down Trump’s bid to dismiss three of the suits. Mehta said it was plausible Trump countenanced the violence on Jan. 6 through a combination of his public exhortation to the crowd to march to the Capitol and his later resistance to issuing a statement calling on his supporters to retreat."
The report adds, "Trump’s strongest defense to the suits could be his claim that he was acting in his official capacity as president during his speech on Jan. 6 and related activities. His attorneys have claimed that he’s entitled to absolute immunity in the cases as a result. Mehta rejected that argument, but Trump has appealed his decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit."
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