Former President Donald Trump allegedly physically assaulted a Secret Service officer on Jan. 6 2021, when the president’s security detail refused to drive him to the Capitol to be with his supporters who planned to block the congressional certification of Joe Biden’s election victory, a former top White House aide told the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on Tuesday.
Cassidy Hutchinson was an adviser to Mark Meadows and told the panel in explosive testimony that former President wanted to visit the Capitol Jan. 6 despite being warned by White House lawyers.
According to Hutchinson, when Trump got in The Beast—the bullet-proof limousine that carries the president—following his infamous address whipping up his supporters, he demanded the officers take him to the seat of Congress. “I’m the effing president, take me up to the Capitol now,” Trump reportedly told his security detail.
When his lead security detail, Bobby Engel, told him they couldn’t because it was not secure, the “president had a very strong, very angry response,” Hutchinson testified that former Deputy Chief of Staff Tony Ornato told her. Hutchinson stated that Trump attempted to take the wheel after Engel refused. After a Secret Service agent told him, “Sir you need to take your hand off the steering wheel,” he allegedly lunged at him and grabbed the agent’s throat.
The jaw-dropping scene was just one in a vivid portrait Hutchinson provided Tuesday of an unhinged president unwilling to relinquish power—and who had no compunction with his supporters turning violent to keep him in office.
Hutchinson testified that the president was “furious” on the morning of Jan. 6, 2021, when the rally space outside the Ellipse was not full. The Secret Service had informed the White House that many of his supporters did not want to enter because of the magnetometers—referred to as “mags”—that would detect weapons, which many of the rioters on that day had in their possession, including AR-15s and other kinds of firearms, knives, and spears.
Trump did not seem at all bothered. “I don’t f-cking care that they have weapons,” he told the Secret Service, according to Hutchinson. “They’re not here to hurt me. Get rid of the mags. Allow my people to enter. They can march to the Capitol from here.”
Hutchinson shared that Trump had a temper tantrum when he returned home to the White House. One time, she noticed that Trump was throwing a tantrum when he returned to the White House.
Hutchinson spoke to the panel about the intense conversations that occurred in the West Wing. They were trying to prevent the president, or any staff member from ascending to the Capitol building Jan. 6. She testified that White House counsel Pat Cipollone told her, “We’re going to get charged with every crime imaginable,” and told her to try to prevent Trump and her direct superior, Meadows, from traveling to the Capitol.
Hutchinson stated that the criminal charges against him were obstruction of a congressional proceeding, and an intent to defraud Congress.
Five hearings were held by the committee in June, before Tuesday. It has been revealed that several White House advisers had told Trump that his allegations of voter fraud was baseless, and that his attempt to overturn his election were illegal. One hearing highlighted Trump’s pressure campaigns on former Vice President Mike Pence to reject the congressional certification of the Electoral College. One hearing examined the harassment of Trump supporters by state election officials from crucial swing states. Another focused on their experiences. The most recent hearing focused on efforts to pressure the Justice Department to aid in the administration’s efforts to nullify Biden’s election victory.
However, since June 9th’s hearing that attracted almost 20 million viewers, members have accumulated more information. They plan to hold another hearing to review their findings and may even schedule more evidence for the public. “Every day, new stuff is coming out,” Rep. Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland and a member of the panel, told TIME after the third hearing.
The panel had announced last week that it would be taking a 2-week break from hearings in order to consider how its new information should be incorporated. But then, on Monday, the committee jolted Wasington by announcing a surprise hearing with less than 24 hours notice to “present recently obtained evidence and receive witness testimony.” By Tuesday morning, the panel announced the hearing would focus on testimony from Hutchinson, who had extensive access to Trump and his inner circle in the days and weeks leading up to the assault on the Capitol.
When the committee reconvences in July, it’s expected to pick up on a hearing led by Raskin and Rep. Stephanie Murphy, Democrat of Florida, on the extremist groups such as the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys who stormed the Capitol.
Tuesday’s hearing was one of the most incendiary thus far. “We can never let this man-child Trump ever become president again,” Rep. Ruben Gallego, Democrat of Arizona, told reporters outside the hearing.
Hutchinson’s testimony garnered a reaction that no other had received to date. A crowd backed her as she left the hearing room after the committee had taken a quick recess.
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