Even before Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s bipartisan select committee on the January 6, 2021 insurrection had made an incredibly damning case against former President Donald Trump and his allies. But some of the most powerful testimony of all came on Tuesday, June 28, when Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming questioned 25-year-old Cassidy Hutchinson — a former Trump White House aide and ex-assistant to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
Hutchinson’s bombshell testimony won’t necessarily lead to criminal charges against Trump or any of his allies. Despite the case against him — he has, according to former Watergate prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks, crossed lines that even President Richard Nixon wouldn’t have dared to cross — Trump has been found “not guilty” in two impeachment trials, is still wildly popular in the GOP, survived the Mueller report, and has a long history of dodging accountability time and time again.
Nonetheless, Hutchinson’s testimony was incredibly compelling. Conservative Never Trumper and Washington Post opinion writer Jennifer Rubin describes five of the most “stunning revelations” in a listicle/column published on June 28.
“Let’s put it this way: The parlor game in identifying who would be the January 6 committee’s John Dean — the insider who devastated the Nixon Administration during the Watergate investigations — may finally have an undisputed winner,” Rubin argues. “Hutchinson, who served as executive assistant to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, provided five stunning revelations about former President Donald Trump’s coup attempt.”
Revelation #1, according to Rubin, is that “Meadows and Trump knew there could be violence on January 6 and enabled the mob.”
Hutchinson, Rubin notes, “confirmed that Meadows and other officials were aware of the potential for violence.” According to Hutchinson, Meadows told her, “There’s a lot going on, Cass, but I don’t know. Things might get real, real bad on January 6.”
“Hutchinson’s testimony suggested that Meadows was utterly indifferent to reports of potential violence,” Rubin explains. “Meanwhile, Trump was furious that the Ellipse outside the White House, where the rally took place, was not filled with people. He demanded that attendees be allowed to go through the security checks with their weapons.”
Hutchinson’s other revelations, Rubin writes, include: (2) “Trump’s advisers knew that Trump could be exposed to criminal charges,” (3) “Trump went ballistic when he was told he couldn’t go to the Capitol” on January 6, 2021, and (4) “Trump’s ring leaders asked for pardons.”
Hutchinson testified that former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone was vehemently opposed to the idea of Trump going to the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6 and feared, “We need to make sure this doesn’t happen. We have serious legal concerns…. We’re going to get charged with every crime imaginable.”
“Trump desperately tried to join the crowd on January 6 as it marched toward the Capitol,” Rubin writes, describing Hutchinson’s testimony. “When he declared, in his speech, that he would join them, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) called Hutchinson and accused her of lying to him ‘all week’ about the White House’s intentions for him not go to the Capitol. That’s an indication that McCarthy was fully aware of the danger of Trump leading the mob.”
Rubin continues, “Hutchinson also said that when Trump was told, in the presidential motorcade, that he was not going to the Capitol, he became irate. Others told her that he said, ‘I’m the effing president. Take me to the Capitol now.’ She also heard that Trump had tried to grab the steering wheel and lunged at the Secret Service agent who told him he could not go.”
Revelation #5, according to Rubin, is that “other Trump aides are cowards and dissemblers.”
“Hutchinson’s appearance before the committee placed a spotlight on the list of Trump aides who have refused to come forward with their eyewitness testimony, including Meadows, (former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Tony) Ornato, Cipollone and others,” Rubin explains. “In fact, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the vice chair of the committee, read statements from unnamed witnesses that they had been warned by others to be ‘loyal’ to Trump, suggesting the possibility of witness tampering. Pressure or not, those who refuse to testify have chosen to protect themselves and Trump. Hutchinson’s courage and character stands in dramatic contrast to the spineless Trump protectors.”
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