Giuliani: “We’re going to the Capitol”
Top advisers and aides to the president knew days in advance that President Trump intended to join his supporters at the Capitol, and one, Rudy Giuliani, encouraged it, according to Hutchinson. On Jan. 2, 2021, after Meadows met with Giuliani — who had been trying to overturn the election in the courts — as Hutchinson escorted Giuliani from the White House, she recalled he said, “Cass, are you excited for the 6th? It’s going to be a great day.”
She asked what he meant and testified that he responded, “‘We’re going to the Capitol. It’s going to be great. The president is going to be there, he’s going to look powerful,’” and he encouraged her to speak with Meadows.
Hutchinson told the committee she asked Meadows about what Giuliani had said.
He responded, “‘There’s a lot going on Cass, but I don’t know, things might get real, real bad on Jan. 6,’” she recalled.
Trump: “I don’t effing care that they have weapons,” he said of his supporters
On the morning of Jan. 6, Hutchinson said a top Secret Service official, Tony Ornato, listed weapons found on attendees outside the rally at the Ellipse, where the president would be speaking: knives, pistols, rifles, and spears on the end of flag poles. The committee played radio transmissions noting some of Trump’s supporters had AR-15s, and one was perched in a tree.
Hutchinson explained that magnetometers were set up at the entrance to the Ellipse, so anyone bringing weapons through would be stopped, and their weapons would be confiscated. This meant that many of those who wished to hear Trump’s remarks that day stood on the lawn beyond the magnetometers. Hutchinson said in a text obtained by the committee that Trump was “f**king furious” that the area designated for the rally was not crowded enough.
Hutchinson said while she was in the vicinity of Trump, she overheard him say “something to the effect of, ‘I don’t effing care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me. Take the effing mags away. Let my people in. They can march the Capitol from here. Let the people in. Take the effing mags away.”
Cipollone: “We’re going to get charged with every crime imaginable” if Trump goes to Capitol
Trump vowed to supporters in his speech on Jan. 6 that “I’ll be there with you … we’re going to walk down to the Capitol” in order to “demand that Congress do the right thing and only count the electors who have been lawfully slated.”
Hutchinson and other aides also the committee that they knew days beforehand that Trump wanted to march on the Capitol. But White House counsel Pat Cipollone, Hutchinson recalled, warned that would be a terrible mistake.
“‘We’re going to get charged with every crime imaginable if we make that movement happen,’” Hutchinson recalled Cipollone said.
Trump’s remarks on Jan. 6 about marching to the Capitol infuriated House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Hutchinson testified. He called her and demanded to know whether Trump intended to come to the Capitol and warned that he should stay away. Hutchinson confirmed with Ornato that Trump would not go.
Trump: “I’m the effing president, take me up to the Capitol now”
Trump was “very angry” when he was told he could not go to the Capitol after his speech, Hutchinson testified.
She she said that in a room with the head of Trump’s security detail, Robert Engel, she was told by Ornato that the president became “irate” when he was informed that he could not be taken by car to the Capitol. He said something to the effect of “‘I’m the effing president, take me up to the Capitol now,’” Hutchinson recalled.
Ornato said, according to Hutchinson, that when Trump was told he had to return to the West Wing, he reached up to the front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel, prompting Engel to grab his arm. Engel told the president, “‘Sir, you need to take your hand off the steering wheel. We’re going back to the West Wing. We’re not going to the Capitol,’” according to Hutchinson.
The president then used his free hand to lunge towards Engel, she said, noting that Ornato “motioned towards his clavicles” when describing the incident.
Flynn: “The Fifth”
On Jan. 5, according to Hutchinson, Trump asked Meadows to meet with his ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn, who was among those working to contest the results of the election, and Giuliani.
Flynn appeared before the committee for a deposition and invoked his 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination. The committee played a clip:
Rep. Liz Cheney: General Flynn, do you believe the violence on Jan. 6 was justified?
Flynn: The Fifth.
Cheney: Do you believe in the peaceful transition of power in the United States of America?
Flynn: The Fifth.
“Do you believe the violence on January 6th was justified morally?” Rep. Liz Cheney asked Gen. Michael Flynn in recorded testimony.
Flynn: “I take the Fifth.”
Cheney: “Do you believe in the peaceful transfer of power in the United States of America?”
Flynn: “The Fifth.” pic.twitter.com/2NRMUHkf08
— CBS News (@CBSNews) June 28, 2022
Giuliani, Meadows “did seek that pardon”
Hutchinson testified that there was some consideration of Trump pardons for those involved in the Jan. 6 Capitol assault. She told the committee that Giuliani sought a pardon, and Meadows, too, “did seek that pardon.”
Neither currently face charges related to the assault on the Capitol, but the president may issue a pardon at any time after a crime is committed, even if it’s before a legal case begins and before an indictment has been issued, as well as before or after a federal criminal conviction.
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