In scathing testimony before the House committee investigating the attacks on Capitol Hill, a former aide to then-President Donald Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, portrayed Trump as an enraged commander in chief within the weeks surrounding the riot.
A furious Trump lunged at his own Secret Service agent, threw plates and refused to assist his vice chairman as throngs of offended rioters chanted “hang Mike Pence,” Meadows’ former aide Cassidy Hutchinson told lawmakers in greater than two hours of testimony Tuesday recalling what she heard and saw in the times and weeks surrounding the events of Jan. 6, 2021.
Trump took to his social media page on Truth Social to distance himself from the previous aide and claimed he hardly knew her.
Listed below are some key takeaways from the hearing.
Trump attacks Secret Service agent
Hutchinson said she was told the former president attacked a Secret Service agent after his security detail refused to take Trump to the U.S. Capitol while his supporters went to riot within the halls of Congress.
Hutchison recalled a conversation she had with then-White House official Tony Ornato. She told the House panel that he explained to her that after Trump told his supporters he would join them on their march on the Capitol that he insisted to the Secret Service to bring him there.
When Trump got within the presidential limo, Ornato said Trump was under the impression from Meadows that they were likely still going to the Capitol, Hutchinson testified.
When Secret Service Special Agent Bobby Engel relayed that they weren’t going to go since it wasn’t considered secure, Trump “had a really strong, a really offended response to that,” Hutchinson said Ornato told her.
“Tony described him as being irate,” Hutchinson said. Trump said something like: “I’m the effing president, take me as much as the Capitol now.”
Engel again refused, at which point Trump “reached up towards the front of the vehicle to grab on the steering wheel. Mr. Engel grabbed his arm, said, ‘Sir, you have to take your hand off the steering wheel. We’re going back to the West Wing,'” Hutchinson testified.
Trump “then used his free hand to lunge toward Bobby Engel,” Hutchinson said she was told. She added that when Ornato told her this story, he motioned his hands toward his clavicles.
Hutchinson also said Trump told aides he didn’t care if his supporters brought weapons to the Jan. 6 rally proceeding the attack.
Trump then said words to the effect of, “I do not effing care that they’ve weapons. They are not here to harm me, take the effing mags away. Let my people in, they will march to the Capitol from here,” Hutchison said in prerecorded testimony.
She said Trump was advantageous with removing metal-detecting magnetometers since the president was convinced he wasn’t personally at risk.
Trump told staff Pence deserved to be hanged
Hutchinson told the committee that Trump indicated to his team that he believed then Vice President Mike Pence deserved to be hanged. Trump’s supporters repeatedly chanted “Hang Mike Pence” after the previous vice chairman helped certify the outcomes of the election.
“I remember Pat Cipollone saying, ‘They’re literally calling for the VP to be effing hung,” Hutchinson told the committee in an interview to explain how the previous White House counsel approached Meadows concerning the riot.
“You heard him, Pat. He thinks Mike deserves it. He doesn’t think they’re doing anything fallacious,” Hutchinson said in describing Meadows’ response to Cipollone.
A couple of weeks before the attacks, in December 2020, Trump threw his lunch and dishes against a wall when he learned that former Attorney General William Barr and the Justice Department didn’t find any evidence of widespread election fraud, in response to Tuesday’s testimony.
Within the wake of his loss to President Joe Biden, Trump began to say without evidence that the 2020 election had been “stolen” from him because of widespread voter fraud. His own attorney general later found that there was no evidence to support that assertion.
Because the news broke that the Department of Justice had found no evidence to support his claims of election fraud, “I remember hearing noise coming from down the hallway,” Hutchinson testified.
“I left the office and went all the way down to the dining room and noticed that the door was propped open and the valet was contained in the dining room changing the tablecloth off of the dining room table,” she testified.