The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack at the Capitol held its sixth public hearing Tuesday, unveiling bombshell allegations about what top White House officials were doing before, during and after the violence broke out.
Among other revelations, Cassidy Hutchinson, who was a senior aide to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, said then-President Donald Trump tried to physically take control of his presidential vehicle in an attempt to join rioters at the Capitol. She also said Meadows and Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani sought presidential pardons after the violence unfolded.
Catch up quickly:
- Vice Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., suggested in her closing remarks that witnesses were being intimidated by people close to Trump.
- Prevented from going to the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, Trump tried to grab the steering wheel of his presidential vehicle and lunged at a Secret Service agent, Hutchinson testified. Trump denied that.
- Hutchinson said Trump knew and didn’t care that his supporters had weapons at his Jan. 6 rally. The committee showed a montage during the hearing of video from Trump’s rally at the Ellipse on Jan. 6 and played radio transmissions among law enforcement discussing people with firearms.
Filmmaker cooperating with Georgia prosecutors in Trump probe
Filmmaker Alex Holder plans to cooperate with prosecutors from Fulton County, Georgia, in their investigation into whether Trump and others illegally tried to influence the 2020 election in the state, a spokesperson for the filmmaker said.
CNN first reported the news.
Trump pressured Georgia officials in his close presidential contest there, seeking to “find” enough votes to make up the difference between him and Joe Biden.
Holder also recently said he was cooperating with the Jan. 6 committee after it subpoenaed his footage of the president and his family from the fall of 2020.
In statement, Hutchinson says it was her 'duty' to testify
In a statement via her lawyers Jody Hunt and William Jordan, Hutchinson said she was "justifiably proud" of her service in the Trump White House but felt it was her "duty and responsibility" to testify Tuesday.
"Ms. Hutchinson is justifiably proud of her service to the country as a Special Assistant to the President," the statement said. "While she did not seek out the attention accompanying her testimony today, she believes that it was her duty and responsibility to provide the Committee with her truthful and candid observations of the events surrounding January 6. Ms. Hutchinson believes that January 6 was a horrific day for the country, and it is vital to the future of our democracy that it not be repeated."
Democratic lawmakers call for Justice Dept. to hold Trump and allies accountable
Democratic lawmakers responded to Hutchinson's testimony Tuesday, with some calling on the Justice Department to hold former President Donald Trump accountable.
"Trump did not care who was in harm’s way or even if people died. He only cared about himself and clinging to power," Sen. Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M., tweeted. "Mr. Trump and all those involved must be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law."
Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., called on the agency to hold Trump "accountable to the fullest extent of the law" in a tweet Tuesday afternoon.
Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., also suggested in a tweet that "Trump, Meadows, and their co-conspirators must be held accountable for trying to overthrow democracy."
In an accompanying video statement he recorded after leaving the hearing, Gallego said: "We need some action now. We need Merrick Garland and the DOJ to show that they're actually holding people accountable."
"President Trump needs to be indicted as well as Mark Meadows," Gallego said.
Ornato, Engel have testified before Jan. 6 committee
Two of the key figures mentioned in Tuesday's hearing had previously interviewed with the Jan. 6 committee.
Tony Ornato, the White House deputy chief of staff for operations under Trump, testified behind closed doors to the select committee, per an aide.
Bobby Engel, then the head of Trump's security detail, has also sat for an interview before the committee.
D.C. officer injured on Jan. 6 says Trump set him up
Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va., retweeted a post from Washington, D.C., Officer Daniel Hodges, who wrote, "Donald Trump set me, my colleagues, Congress and the Vice President up." Hodges was crushed in a doorway while guarding the U.S. Capitol's West Front on Jan. 6.
Hodges was in the hearing room Tuesday.
Speaking to NBC News, he reiterated his tweet and said that "so much of what I hear in these hearings isn’t really shocking because Donald Trump revealed his character a long time before Jan. 6, a long time before he was ever president." He said he was looking forward to future hearings and hopes "the truth keeps coming … and that the Justice Department is listening."
Capitol police officer says he'll 'never be back in uniform' due to Jan. 6 injuries
U.S. Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell said after Tuesday's Jan. 6 hearing that he was just informed he will "never be back in uniform" due to injuries he sustained during the Capitol riot.
"I just found out today that I will never be in full uniform because of that horrific day. I just feel betrayed," Gonell told reporters after attending the Jan. 6 committee's sixth hearing.
Trump "should have been doing everything possible to help us, and he didn't do it. He wanted to lead the mob. He wanted to lead the crowd himself, pretending to be George Washington," Gonell continued.
"They were hurting myself and my fellow officers. ... I'm in the process of finding out today that because of the injuries I sustained that day, I won't be back in uniform. And that's something that is on him, on those people who continue to deny what happened that horrific day," he said.
Gonell, an Army veteran who served in the Iraq War, was seated at the hearing alongside other police officers injured in the attack, as well as Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., and Olivia Troye, a former aide to Mike Pence.
Hutchinson embraced by committee members after hearing
After testifying for nearly two hours, Hutchinson stepped down and was warmly met by some of Jan. 6 committee members, who had lined up to embrace her.
Cheney hugged Hutchinson, while Thompson and Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., shook hands with her. Hutchinson could also be seen speaking briefly with Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va.
Trump lashes out at Hutchinson, denies he grabbed steering wheel
Trump lashed out at Cassidy Hutchinson and the Jan. 6 committee Tuesday during and after the hearing in posts on his social media site.
"I hardly know who this person, Cassidy Hutchinson, is, other than I heard very negative things about her (a total phony and 'leaker')," Trump posted on Truth Social. The former president alleged that Hutchinson wanted to go to Florida with his team after his term ended but that he "personally turned her request down. Why did she want to go with us if she felt we were so terrible?"
Trump denied Hutchinson's testimony that he asked the Secret Service to take down the metal detectors to allow more members of the crowd, some of whom were armed, to get close to watch his speech and make the audience look larger.
"Who would ever want that? Not me! Besides, there were no guns found or brought into the Capitol Building...So where were all of these guns?" Trump wrote.
Trump also denied what he described as a "fake story" by Hutchinson that he grabbed the steering wheel of his motorcade's vehicle when Secret Service made it clear he couldn't go to the Capitol on Jan. 6.
"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. Her story of me throwing food is also false…and why would SHE have to clean it up, I hardly knew who she was?" he said.
Sarah Matthews, who served as deputy press secretary under Trump, tweeted during the hearing, "Anyone downplaying Cassidy Hutchinson’s role or her access in the West Wing either doesn’t understand how the Trump WH worked or is attempting to discredit her because they’re scared of how damning this testimony is."
Alyssa Farah Griffin, another White House staffer who previously worked for Meadows, called Hutchinson a "friend" in a tweet and said that "anyone who would try to impugn her character" should contact the Jan. 6 committee and appear "UNDER OATH."
"I knew her testimony would be damning. I had no idea it’d be THIS damning," Farah Griffin tweeted. "I am so grateful for her courage & integrity."
Cheney suggests Team Trump has tried to influence witnesses
Closing the hearing Tuesday, Cheney said that at least two unnamed committee witnesses had been contacted by people in Trump's orbit and reminded that the former president is watching and reading. Cheney did not identify the senders or the recipients of the messages.
“What they said to me is, as long as I continue to be a team player, they know that I’m on the team, I’m doing the right thing, I’m protecting who I need to protect, you know, I’ll continue to stay in good graces in Trump World,” Cheney quoted one unnamed witness as saying. “And they have reminded me a couple of times that Trump does read transcripts and just to keep that in mind as I proceeded through my depositions and interviews with the committee.”
Cheney then quoted from a message she said was received by a second unnamed witness from someone in Trump World: “[A person] let me know you have your deposition tomorrow. He wants me to let you know that he’s thinking about you. He knows you’re loyal, and you’re going to do the right thing when you go in for your deposition.”
Cheney said the committee was carefully considering its next steps. "I think most Americans know that attempting to influence witnesses to testify untruthfully presents very serious concerns," she said.
Ex-Trump aide Mulvaney: Tuesday's hearing 'went very badly' for Trump
Trump wanted to pardon protesters, Hutchinson says
Hutchinson testified that the president had wanted to include language about pardoning protesters in his Jan. 7 speech, but was discouraged from doing so by White House attorneys.
“I understood, from White House Counsel’s Office coming into our office that morning, that they didn’t think it was a good idea to include that in the speech,” she said in pre-taped testimony.
Hutchinson said there were some lines of the speech that didn't make it into the final draft "about prosecuting the rioters or calling them violent," but that Trump "didn’t want that in there. He wanted to put in there that he wanted to potentially pardon them," she said.
She added in live testimony Tuesday that chief of staff Mark Meadows was “encouraging that [pardon] language as well.”
Ivanka Trump and others had to talk Trump into calling off rioters
Trump had to be cajoled by Ivanka Trump and other close advisers to tell his supporters to leave the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, Hutchinson said.
Hutchinson vividly recalled, in particular, the role Trump's eldest daughter played in finally getting her father to make a statement to supporters.
"I remember her saying at various points, she wants him, she wanted her dad to send them home. She wanted her dad to tell them to go home peacefully," Hutchinson said in videotaped testimony played Tuesday. "And she wanted him to include language that he necessarily wasn’t on board with at the time."
Trump eventually released a message for rioting supporters on Jan. 6, repeating his election lie and telling them to go home and that "we love you; you're very special."
Hutchinson says Meadows, Giuliani sought pardons from Trump
Cassidy Hutchinson told the committee Tuesday that former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Rudy Giuliani both sought pre-emptive pardons from Trump.
When asked by ranking member Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., if each of the men requested pardons, she confirmed that they had.
The hearing has ended
Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., gaveled out the hearing after about two hours of testimony.
He ended by praising Hutchinson as a "courageous woman" for coming forward and encouraged others to do so.
"If you’ve heard this testimony today and suddenly you remember things you couldn’t previously recall, or there are some details you’d like to clarify, or you’ve discovered some courage you had hidden away somewhere, our door remains open," he said.
Hutchinson says Meadows was told Cabinet was considering invoking 25th Amendment to remove Trump
Cassidy Hutchinson recalled in video testimony shown during the hearing that then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and others called her and then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows after Jan. 6 to inform them that Cabinet officials were considering invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.
Hutchinson offered a general overview of what those conversations were like and what Pompeo and others told them.
"From what I understand, it was more of a, 'This is what I'm hearing. I want you to be aware of it, but I also think it's worth putting on your radar because you are the chief of staff. You're technically the boss of all the Cabinet secretaries, and, you know, if conversations progress, you should be ready to take action on this.' Like, 'I'm concerned for you and your positioning with this,'" she said.
Top security official resigned after Trump tweeted about Pence
Former deputy national security adviser Matt Pottinger told investigators that he quit on Jan. 6, at the moment Trump tore into Vice President Mike Pence in a tweet for not seeking to overturn the 2020 election results.
During the hectic moments of Jan. 6, Pottinger said he reached his breaking point when Trump tweeted that Pence didn't have the "courage" to undo the will of American voters.
"I read that tweet and made a decision at that moment to resign," Pottinger said in a deposition played Tuesday. "That's where I knew I was leaving that day, once I read that tweet."
Hutchinson says Ivanka Trump wanted Trump to take action to try to stop violence
Hutchinson said that Trump’s eldest daughter, Ivanka Trump, wanted Trump to take action to quell the violence on Jan. 6 while other advisers “were trying to toe the line” and remain neutral, she said. She said White House lawyer Eric Herschmann also wanted to take action.
She said people in the deflect and blame group wanted to blame antifa for the violence at the Capitol. She said it was her understanding that Meadows was in that category but wound up remaining more neutral.
Take action or 'deflect and blame': Hutchinson describes White House deliberations over response to riot
Hutchinson said in live testimony that there were three schools of thought at the White House on Jan. 6: There were people who wanted to take action in response to the violence, others who wanted to stay "neutral" and still others who wanted to "deflect and blame."
Hutchinson said White House lawyer Eric Herschmann and Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump wanted the president to take action, while other advisers "were trying to toe the line" and remain neutral, she said.
The people in the deflect and blame group wanted to blame antifa for the violence at the Capitol, she said. She said it was her understanding that the White House chief of staff was in that category but wound up remaining more neutral.
Hutchinson says she was 'disgusted' by Trump's tweet attacking Pence during riot
Asked about Trump's tweet attacking the vice president after rioters had breached the Capitol that said Pence "didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done," Hutchinson testified that she was "disgusted."
“As a staffer that works to always represent the administration to the best of my ability and to showcase the good things he had done for the country, I remember feeling frustrated, disappointed, and really it felt personal. I was really sad,” Hutchinson testified. “As an American, I was disgusted. It was unpatriotic. It was un-American. We were watching the Capitol building get defaced over a lie.”
She continued: “It was something that was really hard in the moment to digest,” she said, later adding it is “something I still struggle to work through.”
Hutchinson's testimony captivates room
Cassidy Hutchinson delivered stunning stories about events that took place leading up to and during the Capitol riot. Beyond the typing of keys, everyone present was hanging onto her every word in a grim silence.
Some audience members smiled at the abject absurdity of the scene Hutchinson described: Trump throwing his lunch at the wall upon hearing that Attorney General William Barr said in an interview with The Associated Press that he found no evidence of election fraud.
After she left the room during the brief recess, Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., clapped.
Hutchinson says Meadows wanted to go to Stone, Flynn's 'war room' at Willard Hotel on Jan. 5
Cassidy Hutchinson said in her live testimony that then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows wanted to go to the "war room" organized by Roger Stone and former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn on Jan. 5, 2021.
John Eastman, Rudy Giuliani and others who supported Trump's baseless allegations of widespread voter fraud had set up at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C.
Hutchinson said that Meadows wanted to go to the hotel and spoke with Hutchinson about working with the Secret Service so that he could go.
Hutchinson said she told Meadows she didn't think it was a "smart idea" for him to go to the hotel that night, so she said Meadows wound up speaking to them by phone instead.
Meadows told Cipollone Trump thought Pence 'deserves' hanging chants
In video testimony played during the hearing, Hutchinson recalled that, on Jan. 6 at the White House, she overheard Trump, Meadows and White House counsel Pat Cipollone discussing the "Hang Mike Pence" chants at the Capitol.
"I remember Pat saying something to the effect of, 'Mark, we need to do something more. They’re literally calling for the vice president to be effing hung,'" Hutchinson said in a deposition. "And Mark had responded something to the effect of, 'You heard him, Pat. He thinks Mike deserves it. He doesn’t think they’re doing anything wrong,'" she said, referring to Trump.
Hutchinson said that Cipollone then said, "'This is effing crazy. We need to be doing something more.'"
"When Mark had said something to the effect of, 'He doesn’t think they’re doing anything wrong,' knowing what I had heard briefly in the dining room, coupled with Pat discussing the 'Hang Mike Pence' chants in the lobby of our office and then Mark’s response, I understood 'they’re' to be the rioters in the Capitol that were chanting for the vice president to be hung,'" Hutchinson recalled.
Meadows said Trump didn't 'want to do anything' about Capitol breach, Hutchinson says
Hutchinson recalled a heated confrontation between White House counsel Pat Cipollone and Meadows on the afternoon of Jan. 6, in which the attorney urged Meadows to get the president to intervene in the ongoing riot, which had breached the Capitol by the time they spoke.
In taped testimony, Hutchinson recalled observing the unusual meeting between the two top White House officials, saying she saw Cipollone "barreling" down the hall to Meadows' office.
Here's what she said: "I remember Pat saying to him something to the effect of, 'The rioters have gotten to the Capitol, Mark. We need to go down and see the president now.' And Mark looked up at him and said, 'He doesn’t want to do anything, Pat.'"
"And Pat said something to the effect of — and very clearly said this to Mark — something to the effect of, 'Mark, something needs to be done, or people are going to die and the blood’s gonna be on your effing hands. This is getting out of control,'" she continued.
The committee has returned from recess
Ranking member Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., is continuing her interview with former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson following a brief recess.
Cheney shows chat of National Security Council staffers acknowledging Trump's attempted trip to Capitol
Cheney said the staff of the National Security Council at the White House were monitoring the situation on Jan. 6 in real time, and the committee showed a chat log among those employees.
The log showed staffers acknowledging around 12:30 p.m. ET that day that Trump wanted to go to the Capitol after his rally at the Ellipse and that the Secret Service was "finding the best route now," the chat said.
At 12:47 p.m., the chat logs show "This is happening," in an apparent reference to Trump going to the Capitol. Ten minutes later, the logs say, "Capitol Police are reporting multiple breaches in their anti-scaling fence."
The logs continued by saying Trump was going to his motorcade and, by 1:17 p.m., that they had decided to come back to the White House and the president was back in the Oval Office by 1:20 p.m.
Ketchup on the walls: Trump reacts to Barr saying no fraud
Trump angrily threw his lunch when he learned Attorney General William Barr had said publicly that the Department of Justice found no evidence of election fraud, sending ketchup flying onto White House walls, Hutchinson testified.
When Barr told The Associated Press on Dec. 1 there was no evidence to back Trump's baseless claims of election fraud, the president exploded in anger, Hutchinson told lawmakers.
"I first noticed there was ketchup dripping down the wall and there was a shattered porcelain plate on the floor," she said.
"I grabbed a towel and started wiping the ketchup off the wall to help the valet out, and he said something to the effect of, 'He’s really ticked off about this. I would stay clear of him for right now,'" she said.
Hutchinson: Trump lunged at Secret Service agent, tried to grab steering wheel to go Capitol
Hutchinson said that Trump tried to take control of the steering wheel in his motorcade to try to turn the vehicle around and head toward the Capitol and then motioned toward a Secret Service agent as if Trump wanted to choke him.
Hutchinson said that when she returned to the White House on Jan. 6 after Trump's rally at the Ellipse, she met with White House deputy chief of staff Tony Ornato and Secret Service agent Bobby Engel, who was inside Trump's vehicle, known as "the Beast," that returned to the White House.
"Tony proceeded to tell me that when the president got in the Beast, he was under the impression from Mr. Meadows that the off-the-record movement to the Capitol was still possible and likely to happen, but that Bobby had more information," Hutchinson said.
Hutchinson said that Engel then relayed to Trump that they couldn't go to the Capitol because the Secret Service wasn't prepared and that it wasn't secure.
"The president had a very strong, very angry response to that. Tony described him as being irate. The president said something to the effect of, 'I'm the effing president. Take me up to the Capitol now,'" she said.
"Bobby responded, 'Sir, we have to go back to the West Wing,'" Hutchinson testified. "The president reached up toward the front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel. Mr. Engel grabbed his arm and said, '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.' Mr. Trump then used his free hand to lunge towards Bobby Engel, and when Mr. Ornato recounted this story to me, he motioned toward his clavicles."
The committee is taking a brief recess
Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., gaveled the hearing out for a 10-minute recess. The hearing will resume soon.
What’s an OTR movement?
While the president’s schedule is typically widely known and released to the news media, Hutchinson said off-the-record movements, known as an OTR, are known to a small number of individuals.
“It’s a way to kind of circumvent having to release it to the press, or to not have as many security parameters put in place ahead of time,” she said.
Hutchinson testified that the president sought to use an OTR to go to the Capitol with protesters on Jan. 6.
Advisers discussed Trump going into House Chamber on Jan. 6, Hutchinson says
In video testimony, Hutchinson said numerous advisers to Trump discussed the possibility of the president going to the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, and even potentially to the House Chamber where the joint session of Congress was certifying the election results.
Hutchinson said Meadows; Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa.; and Rudy Giuliani discussed a “few different ideas” about Trump’s next move following his speech on the Ellipse near the White House on Jan. 6.
"I know that there were discussions about him having another speech outside of the Capitol before going in," Hutchinson said in earlier testimony aired by the committee Tuesday. "I know that there was a conversation about him going into the House Chamber at one point."
Hutchinson could not confirm if these conversations reached Trump or what his intentions were when he pushed staff to allow him to go to the Capitol.
Hutchinson says it quickly became clear that police were overwhelmed on Jan. 6
Hutchinson said that it quickly became clear during the White House Jan. 6 rally at the Ellipse that police protecting the Capitol from the pro-Trump mob were becoming overwhelmed and needed backup.
Hutchinson said she approached Meadows to inform him about the violence at the Capitol and opened the door to a control car. She said Meadows pulled it shut twice before she was finally able to convey the message to him.
Asked what Meadows' reaction was, Hutchinson said, "He almost had a lack of reaction."
"I remember him saying something to the effect of, 'Alright, how much longer does the president have left in his speech?'" she said.
Hutchinson details Cipollone's warnings against Trump trip to Capitol
Hutchinson said she spoke to White House counsel Pat Cipollone when he raised concerns about Trump going to the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Hutchinson said Cipollone urged her to make clear to Meadows that Trump should not go. "'We need to make sure this doesn't happen. This would, legally, be a terrible idea for us. We have serious legal concerns if you go up to the Capitol that day,'" she recalled him telling her.
Hutchinson said Cipollone pleaded with her to stay in touch with him and make sure "we don't go up to the Capitol. ... We're going to get charged with every crime imaginable."
Asked what crimes Cipollone was referring to, Hutchinson said, "Potentially obstructing justice or defrauding the electoral count."
Cheney then played previously recorded testimony of Hutchinson, in which she recalled speaking to Cipollone privately on Jan. 3 or 4, 2021, in the afternoon about the issue.
"Pat was concerned it would look like we were obstructing justice or obstructing the Electoral College count," she said in the tape. "And I apologize for probably not being very thorough with my legal terms here, but that it would look like we were obstructing what’s happening on Capitol Hill. And he was also worried that it would look like we were inciting a riot or encouraging a riot to erupt on the Capitol, at the Capitol."
In radio transmissions, police identified people holding AR-15s at Jan. 6 rally
The committee showed a video montage during the hearing of footage from Trump's rally at the White House Ellipse on Jan. 6 and radio transmissions among law enforcement discussing people with firearms.
One officer was heard saying he saw a person holding an AR-15, other people wearing fatigues and another person wearing cowboy boots holding a glock-style pistol in his waist.
An officer is then heard saying that law enforcement should know there is an "elevated threat in the trees," and the footage showed Trump supporters climbing trees at the Ellipse rally.
Hutchinson says Trump didn't care his supporters had weapons at Jan. 6 rally
Cassidy Hutchinson said in videotaped testimony played during the hearing that when she attended Trump's Jan. 6 rally at the White House Ellipse, she overheard the president say he knew people had many weapons, but didn't care.
"When we were in the offstage announce tent, I was part of a conversation — I was in the vicinity of a conversation where I overheard the president say something to the effect of, you know, '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 to the Capitol from here. Let the people in. Take the effing mags away,'" she recounted to committee investigators.
Hutchinson suggested the advance team on the ground had relayed to Trump that the Secret Service couldn't remove magnetometers that would detect weapons at the event.
"He said something to the effect of, you know, 'Eff the Secret Service. I’m the president. Take the effing mags away. They’re not here to hurt me,'" Hutchinson said.
Text messages: Trump 'kept mentioning' an off-the-record movement to the Capitol
Trump wanted his Jan. 6 speech to be at full capacity and was “furious” when his supporters didn’t fill the space — perhaps due to metal detectors, a top White House aide said.
The committee showed a text exchange between then-White House deputy chief of staff Tony Ornato and Hutchinson on Jan. 6 in which he remained at the White House while she attended the president's rally at the Ellipse.
Cheney read what Hutchinson texted Ornato during the exchange. "In one text, you write, 'But the crowd looks good from this [vantage] point. As long as we get the shot. He was f****** furious.'"
She said he was furious that there was open space in the rally area and wanted more people to be let in.
Cheney asked who the "he" in the text message was, and Hutchinson testified that it was Trump.
“He was furious because he wanted the arena that we had on the Ellipse to be maxed out at capacity for all attendees,” Hutchinson told the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.
“The advance team had relayed to him the [metal detectors] were free flowing; everybody who wanted to come in had already come in. But he was still angry about the extras space and wanted more people to come in.”
At the end of the text exchange shown during the hearing, Hutchinson texted Ornato that Trump "kept mentioning" an off-the-record movement to the Capitol.
Cheney said the committee would continue to discuss those movements more later.
Meadows 'did not act on those concerns' of Jan. 6 violence, Hutchinson says
Hutchinson said the White House chief of staff knew about the threats of violence going into Jan. 6 but appeared to be indifferent.
In taped testimony, a committee interviewer asked Hutchinson what her boss did knowing "there were lots of public reports about how things might go bad" on Jan. 6 and whether she'd describe him as not sharing those concerns or not acting on them.
"'Did not act on those concerns' would be accurate," Hutchinson said in a videotaped interview played Tuesday.
Hutchinson says Meadows had no reaction after being told of the potential for Jan. 6 violence
Hutchinson recalled the moment Meadows was warned about potential violence on Jan. 6. She said the White House chief of staff seemed to have little or no reaction.
In video testimony, Hutchinson told investigators about a meeting she had on the morning of Jan. 6 with Meadows and Tony Ornato, head of the president's protective detail, who described warnings about Trump supporters with "knives, guns in the form of pistols and rifles, bear spray, body armor, spears and flagpoles."
Ornato continued, she said: "And these effing people are fastening spears onto the ends of flagpoles."
Meadows appeared to be distracted on the phone as Ornato explained potential threats the morning of Jan. 6, according to the account.
"And I distinctly remember Mark not looking up from his phone. I remember Tony finishing his explanation and it taking a few seconds for Mark to say something to the point where I almost said, 'Mark, did you hear him?'" Hutchinson said in a videotaped deposition played Tuesday.
"And then Mark chimed in and was like, 'All right. Anything else?' still looking down at his phone. And Tony looked at me and I looked at Tony and I said, 'No, sir. Do you have any questions?' ... And I looked at Tony. And I was like, 'Sir, he just told you about what was happening down at the rally,' and he's like, 'Yeah, yeah, I know,'" she said.
Meadows then asked Ornato if he'd told the president, Hutchinson testified, and Ornato said that he had.
Who is Tony Ornato?
A top Secret Service official, Tony Ornato, has been mentioned repeatedly in Tuesday's hearing. Ornato was detailed to the White House during the Trump administration, where he served as deputy chief of staff for operations.
According to his government biography, he managed security and operations for the president, White House complex and other presidential facilities, overseeing approximately 5,000 employees with an $800 million budget.
Hutchinson says she was 'scared and nervous' after speaking with Giuliani, Meadows on Jan. 2
Hutchinson said in her live testimony during the hearing that when Rudy Giuliani told her on Jan. 2, 2021, after meeting with then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows that they would go to the Capitol on Jan. 6, she was "scared."
"That evening was the first moment that I remember feeling scared and nervous for what could happen on Jan. 6," she said. "And I had a deeper concern for what was happening with the planning aspects of it."
Hutchinson says Proud Boys, Oath Keepers discussed at White House ahead of Jan. 6
As law enforcement sought to prepare for the Jan. 6 rally and prevent potential violence, Hutchinson testified that she heard mention at the White House of two of the far-right groups that were involved in storming the Capitol.
“I recall hearing the word 'Oath Keeper' and hearing the word 'Proud Boys' closer to the planning of the Jan. 6 rally, when Mr. Giuliani would be around,” she told investigators in earlier taped testimony, which was played by the committee Tuesday.
Hutchinson says Meadows told her things ‘might get real, real bad’ on Jan. 6 after Giuliani conversation
Hutchinson testified about conversations she had with White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Rudy Giuliani on Jan. 2 after the two men met at the White House.
Giuliani "asked me if I was excited for the 6th," Hutchinson said in her testimony. "He said it would be a great day" and told her they were going to go to the Capitol.
Hutchinson said she asked Giuliani what he meant and he told her: "Talk to the chief. Talk to the chief."
Later that evening, Hutchinson told Meadows about the vague conversation with Giuliani. Meadows replied: "There's a lot going on, Cass, but I don't know, things might get real, real bad on Jan. 6."
West Wing map shows Hutchinson's proximity to the Oval Office
Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., displayed a map that showed the first floor of the West Wing at the White House and showed Hutchinson's proximity to the Oval Office each day.
"On the right, you can see the president’s Oval Office," he said. "On the left, the chief of staff’s office suite. Within the chief of staff’s office suite, in the heart of the West Wing, was your desk, which was between the vice president’s office, Mr. Kushner’s office and the Oval Office," he said, referencing Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner.
"That's correct," Hutchinson said when asked if it was accurate that it would only take 5 or 10 seconds to walk to the Oval Office from her own.
Cheney says Hutchinson is 'in a position to know a great deal' about Trump's White House
Ranking member Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said in her opening statement that Hutchinson is a strong witness to hear testimony from because of her role working for former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and on Capitol Hill.
"In short, Ms. Hutchinson was in a position to know a great deal about the happenings in the Trump White House," said Cheney, who added that Hutchinson already sat for four videotaped interviews with committee investigators.
Cheney said the hearing Tuesday will "cover certain but not all relevant topics within Ms. Hutchinson’s knowledge today" and that future hearings will offer greater detail.
"Today, you will hear Ms. Hutchinson relate certain firsthand observations of President Trump’s conduct on Jan. 6," Cheney said. "You will also hear new information regarding the actions and statements of Mr. Trump’s senior advisers that day, including his chief of staff Mark Meadows and his White House counsel. And we will begin to examine evidence bearing on what President Trump and members of the White House staff knew about the prospect for violence on Jan. 6 even before that violence began."
White House aide set to testify as hearing is gaveled in
Jan. 6 Committee Chair Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., gaveled in Tuesday's hearing, explaining the purpose of the last-minute hearing.
He said: "The select committee has obtained new information dealing with what was going on in the White House on Jan. 6 and in the days prior — specific, detailed information about what the former president and his top aides were doing and saying in those critical hours."
Former Trump White House deputy press secretary: Hutchinson showing 'tremendous bravery'
Cassidy Hutchinson's biggest revelations so far
Cassidy Hutchinson appeared in video testimony during the fifth Jan. 6 hearing last week and revealed the identities of Republican members of Congress who sought pre-emptive pardons from Trump.
Some of those lawmakers who requested pardons included Reps. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., and Mo Brooks, R-Ala., she said in the clips played during the hearing.
Hutchinson also testified that the White House Counsel’s Office repeatedly told those discussing alternate slates of electors that their plans were not legally sound. She said that this was communicated, for example, to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, Rudy Giuliani and Giuliani's associates.
She also testified that Meadows was explicitly warned about potential violence on Jan. 6.
Hutchinson reportedly sat for more than 20 hours in deposition with the committee over three separate sessions.
Who is Cassidy Hutchinson?
A former aide to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, Cassidy Hutchinson was in the West Wing on Jan. 6, 2021, and with Trump during his speech at the “Stop the Steal” rally on the Ellipse.
Hutchinson, a graduate of Christopher Newport University, had previously interned for Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., before being hired as a White House intern in 2018.
“I was brought to tears when I received the email that I had been selected to participate,” Hutchinson told her college news service in 2018. “As a first-generation college student, being selected to serve as an intern alongside some of the most intelligent and driven students from across the nation — many of whom attend top universities — was an honor and a tremendous growing experience.”
In video testimonies played at the last hearing, Hutchinson revealed key information about Jan. 6, including names of GOP members of Congress who requested pardons from the Trump White House.
Jan. 6 committee to present 'recently obtained evidence' during Tuesday's hearing
Ex-Sen. Alan Simpson appears in new ad backing Cheney
A new ad for Wyoming Republican Rep. Liz Cheney features former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson, a political icon in the state, backing Cheney’s re-election.
But in an interview with NBC News about the ad, the Wyoming political giant minced few words about his frustration with former President Donald Trump, who is backing a primary challenge against Cheney over her repeated criticism of the former president.
“She’s not after Trump or hating Trump. She is stating what is obvious to many Americans: That this is a wrecking ball of democracy,” Simpson said of Cheney’s work on the Jan. 6 commission.
He went on to mock Trump’s declaration to “Stop the Steal” as “Stop the Squeal,” calling Trump a “spoiled brat” who is “at the root” of a “Machiavellian distortion of whatever this country stands for.”
He was arrested for his role in Jan. 6. Now he’s a front-runner in Michigan’s GOP primary for governor.
But since the FBI arrested him on misdemeanor charges for his role in the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, he has emerged as a front-runner. Maybe the front-runner.
No one else in the race, Kelley bragged here last week, showed the devotion he did by being on the scene of what turned into a deadly riot aimed at keeping then-President Donald Trump in power. In a GOP field scrambled first by the disqualification of two leading candidates and then by the FBI raid on his home on the day the House Jan. 6 committee began its nationally televised hearings, circumstances have conspired to catapult Kelley to the front of the pack.
“They talked about it all over the nation, all over the state of Michigan,” Kelley, 40, said in an interview. “It boosted my name. There’s been a ton of support.”
Trump-allied lawyer who pushed for Pence to overturn election says federal agents seized his phone
John Eastman, the Trump-allied lawyer who wrote memos urging then-Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the 2020 election results, said in a court filing Monday that his phone was seized by federal agents last week.
In papers filed in federal court in New Mexico, Eastman said he was stopped last week in the state by federal agents, who executed a search warrant and seized his phone.
He said that on the evening of June 22, he was stopped by FBI agents while walking to his car after having dinner at a restaurant with his wife and a friend. The agents patted Eastman down, seized his phone and “forced” him to unlock it, he said.
Eastman is seeking his phone’s return.
Missed the last hearing? Here's what you need to know
The efforts, public and private, culminated in an Oval Office meeting just days ahead of the Jan. 6 riot in which top Justice officials threatened to resign if Trump went through with a plan to install Jeffrey Clark atop the agency because he was willing to assist in Trump’s plans.
Three former senior Justice Department officials who rebuffed Trump at the time testified live: Jeffrey Rosen, the acting attorney general; Richard Donoghue, the acting deputy attorney general; and Steven Engel, who led the department’s Office of Legal Counsel.
Thursday’s hearing was set to be the last one this month after the committee decided to push the final scheduled hearings into July, a move lawmakers said would allow more time to process new information.
Top Meadows aide Cassidy Hutchinson to testify at Jan. 6 hearing
Cassidy Hutchinson, who served as a senior aide to Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, is slated to testify Tuesday at a last-minute hearing scheduled by the Jan. 6 committee, three sources tell NBC News.
In recorded testimony presented last week, Hutchinson told investigators that a group of GOP lawmakers had sought presidential pardons following the insurrection at the Capitol, including Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida and Mo Brooks of Alabama.
Jan. 6 panel adds last-minute hearing Tuesday afternoon
WASHINGTON — The Jan. 6 committee will hold a last-minute public hearing Tuesday to present new evidence and hear witness testimony, after having previously said it would take a break until mid-July.
The hearing is scheduled for Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET, according to an advisory the committee sent out Monday. In an unusual move, the committee has not identified the witness, as it did for previous hearings.
“There is new evidence that is coming to [the committee’s] attention on an almost daily basis,” said a source familiar with the hearing. The committee was “just planning on working this week in preparation for the final two hearings, so this is unplanned.
“You can deduce from that that there will be a lot of significance to the hearing.”