In scathing testimony before the House committee investigating the Capitol Hill attacks, a former aide to President Donald Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, painted Trump as an enraged commander-in-chief in the weeks surrounding the ‘riot.
A furious Trump lunged at his own Secret Service agent, threw plates and refused to help his VP as angry crowds of rioters chanted ‘hang Mike Pence,’ the former says Meadows aide Cassidy Hutchinson to lawmakers in over two hours of testimony Tuesday recalling what she heard and saw in the days and weeks surrounding the events of January 6, 2021.
Trump took to his social media page on Truth Social to distance himself from the former aide and claimed he barely knew her.
Here are some key takeaways from the hearing.
Trump attacks Secret Service agent
Hutchinson said he was told the former president attacked a Secret Service agent after his security guards refused to take Trump to the US Capitol while his supporters rioted in 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 Capitol Hill, he pressed the Secret Service to bring her there.
When Trump got into the presidential limo, Ornato said Trump got the impression from Meadows that they were probably still going to the Capitol, Hutchinson said.
When Secret Service Special Agent Bobby Engel let it be known that they weren’t going to go because it wasn’t considered safe, Trump “had a very strong and very angry response to that,” said Hutchinson told Ornato.
“Tony described him as angry,” Hutchinson said. Trump said something like, “I’m President Effing, take me to the Capitol now.”
Engel again refused, at which point Trump “reached out to the front of the vehicle to grab the steering wheel. Mr. Engel grabbed his arm and said, ‘Sir, you need to get your hand off the wheel. back to the west wing,” Hutchinson testified.
Trump “then used his free hand to lunge at Bobby Engel,” Hutchinson said. She added that when Ornato told her this story, he waved his hands to his collarbones.
Trump was okay with guns at the rally
Hutchinson also said Trump told aides he didn’t care if his supporters brought guns to the Jan. 6 rally preceding the attack.
Trump then said words to the effect of, “I don’t care if they have guns. They’re not here to hurt me, take away the effing magazines. Let my people in, they can march to the Capitol. from here,” Hutchison said in pre-recorded testimony.
She said Trump was okay with removing the metal-detecting magnetometers because the president was confident he was not personally at risk.
Trump told staff Pence deserved to be hanged
Hutchinson told the committee that Trump had indicated to his team that he believed Vice President Mike Pence deserved to be hanged. Trump supporters repeatedly chanted “Hang Mike Pence” after the former vice president helped certify the election results.
“I remember Pat Cipollone saying, ‘They’re literally asking for the vice president to be hanged,'” Hutchinson told the committee in an interview to describe how the former White House attorney approached Meadows about the riot. .
“You heard it, Pat. He thinks Mike deserves it. He doesn’t think they’re doing anything wrong,” Hutchinson said in describing Meadows’ response to Cipollone.
Trump throws lunch at the wall
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 had found no evidence of widespread voter fraud. , according to testimony on Tuesday.
Following his loss to President Joe Biden, Trump began claiming without evidence that the 2020 election was “stolen” from him through widespread voter fraud. His own attorney general later found there was no evidence to support this claim.
As news broke that the Justice Department had found no evidence to support its claims of voter fraud, “I remember hearing noise coming from the hallway,” Hutchinson said.
“I left the office and went down to the dining room and noticed the door was left open and the valet was inside the dining room changing the tablecloth from the dining room,” she testified.
A source close to Ornato told NBC News that Trump’s former deputy chief of staff for operations first heard the story involving the steering wheel during Hutchinson’s testimony on Tuesday, and that Ornato is ready to testify. under oath that it is not true.
NBC News has reached out to Ornato for comment.
When reached for comment, an aide to the Jan. 6 committee told NBC News in a statement, “The select committee found Ms. Hutchinson’s testimony to be credible. The committee welcomes anyone wishing to provide additional information. under oath.”
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