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Trump knew white supremacists were coming to Washington on January 6th, he knew they had weapons, and he sent them to the Capitol anyway.
That explosive revelation came to light in a surprise hearing of the January 6th Committee today. Cassidy Hutchinson, former aide to Trump’s Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, testified about who knew what leading up to the attack on the Capitol.
Hutchinson informed Congress that on January 6th, President Trump was demanding secret service remove metal detectors to let more supporters in to the area.
The secret service had warned Trump and his team in advance that white supremacists would likely be there with weapons. On the day of the attack, police and security spotted several people with AR-15s, handguns and body armor. Still, the President wanted the domestic terrorists let in.
“Take the f*cking MAGs (metal detectors) away, they’re not here to hurt me,” Hutchinson recalls the president saying of armed insurrectionists at his rally on the Ellipse. “Let them in,” he apparently continued, “let my people in.”
“They can march to the Capitol after the rally is over. They can march from the Ellipse. Take the f*cking MAGs away, then they can march to the Capitol.”
Testimony describes an enraged and deranged Trump willing to let the attack occur
But Trump’s rage, Hutchinson testified, did not stop there.
Following his speech on the Ellipse, secret security informed Trump they could not take him to the Capitol.
Hutchinson recalled the president was told the Capitol “was not secure” and that they were “going back to the West Wing”.
Trump then became “irrate” and yelled “I’m the f*cking President! Take me up to the Capitol now!”
When secret service refused, the President reached forward to grab the steering wheel. According to Hutchinson, as an agent grabbed Trump’s arm and pulled it away, Trump used his other hand to try and reach for the agent’s neck.
Later, back at the White House, Hutchinson recalled walking into the dining room and seeing a staff member cleaning up. She recalled seeing a shattered plate on the floor and “ketchup dripping down the wall”.
When she asked what happened, the staff member told her Trump had thrown his lunch against the wall in fury as his plan to overturn the election began to unravel.
Trump, apparently watching the live hearings, responded in real time on his personal social media website Truth Social.
“Her Fake story that I tried to grab the steering wheel of the White House Limousine in order to steer it to the Capitol Building is “sick” and fraudulent, very much like the Unselect Committee itself–Wouldn’t even have been possible to do such a ridiculous thing,” Trump posted. “Her story of me throwing food is also false…and why would SHE have to clean it up, I hardly knew who she was?”
President and his team knew early on January 6th could get “real bad”
Hutchinson recalled walking Rudy Giuliani out of the West Wing one evening. As she did, Giuliani was reportedly “excited” as he told her about plans to go to the Capitol.
“We are going to the Capitol, it’s going to be great, the president is going to be there, he’s going to look powerful,” he said.
When Hutchinson returned inside, she went to Chief of Staff Mark Meadows’ office to ask about the plan to go to the Capitol.
“[Mark] didn’t look up from his phone and said something to the effect of: ‘there’s a lot going on, Cass, but, I don’t know. Things might get real, real bad on January 6th.”
Her testimony made clear the administration knew the danger, not simply the day of the attack, but well in advance. Still, they chose to proceed. And even after the attack, Trump reportedly didn’t want to condemn the violence.
“The White House counsel wanted for there to be a strong statement out condemning the rioters,” Hutchinson testified.
Hutchinson said she drafted a statement for Trump to issue, but he did not use it.
Even Trump’s own children were calling for him to condemn the attack.
“He’s got to condemn this shit. Asap. The Capitol Police tweet is not enough,” Donald Trump, Jr. reportedly texted Mark Meadows.
Instead, Trump told reporters to “go home” and told them “we love you”. But Hutchinson says Trump was “reluctant” to even film that tepid video.
Hutchinson braves threats, warnings from Trump supporters to testify
As Hutchinson left the room following today’s hearing, applause rang out from the audience.
Hutchinson required police escorts to and from the hearing room. Her testimony was kept secret until Monday afternoon to help ensure her protection.
“Because of this courageous woman, and others like her, your attempt to hide the truth from the American people will not prevail,” Committee Chair Benny Thompson said.
Committee co-chair Liz Cheney thanked Hutchinson as the hearing closed. “This nation owes you a debt of gratitude,” Cheney said.
The Wyoming Republican said Hutchinson and others are receiving pressure, not only from the public, but from the President himself. Cheney read messages from Trump loyalists to witnesses ahead of their testimony letting them know “the President is thinking of you” and he “hopes you’ll do the right thing.”
The Committee has yet to announce if they will recommend charges, but Cheney called the messages “deeply concerning”. She said the Committee will make recommendations for any future actions in the coming weeks and months.