We already knew Trump is reckless, selfish, and immoral. We didn't know how bad it got on January 6.
Key takeaways from Cassidy Hutchinson's bombshell testimony.
Whew. It’s hard to know where to begin with the remarkable testimony we heard Tuesday from Cassidy Hutchinson, a former top aide to Trump’s final chief of staff, Mark Meadows, who herself was a key player in the final days of the Trump administration. But let’s start with Hutchinson’s account of Trump’s January 6 presidential vehicle tantrum — one that apparently became physical.
Hutchinson, recounting conversations she had with Robert Engel, former head of Trump’s security detail, and former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Tony Ornato, testified that Trump was so livid about being prevented from joining his supporters during their January 6 march on the Capitol that he not only grabbed at the steering wheel of the presidential vehicle, but also lunged at Engel.
“I’m the effin’ president, take me up to the Capitol now,” Trump said, according to Hutchinson. Ornato apparently even grabbed at his clavicle to mimic Trump’s outburst.
In that instance, Trump didn’t get his way — in part because of security concerns, but also because White House lawyers were worried about getting “charged with every crime imaginable” if the president interfered with Congress certifying the electoral vote count. But in general, the testimony Hutchinson offered about being around the president that day painted a picture of astounding selfishness and disregard for the safety of others.
“This is effin’ crazy”
The hearing began with Liz Cheney playing police radio transmissions from January 6 indicating some members of Trump’s mob were toting AR-15s. For obvious reasons, those people didn’t try to go through safety checkpoints that were set up around the area where Trump later delivered his incendiary speech.
But according to Hutchinson, Trump was completely unbothered by the prospect of armed supporters of his marching on the Capitol, because he knew they didn’t want to hurt him. Instead, he was mad about the security checkpoints, which he blamed for keeping people away and making his crowd size look smaller.
Trump’s meltdown in the presidential vehicle took place after his speech, and he was ultimately brought back to the White House. Hutchinson testified that as the Trump mob descended on the Capitol a short time later, the president indicated to Meadows that not only was he uninterested in doing anything to call off his supporters (ignoring demands from Fox anchors and even his son that he do something), but he was unbothered by the “hang Mike Pence” chants because he thought his vice president deserved it.
“This is effin’ crazy,” White House counsel Pat Cipollone told Meadows around that time, according to Hutchinson.
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