The House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol will hear from a former aide to Mark Meadows, Donald Trump’s White House chief of staff, during Tuesday’s surprise hearing.
Cassidy Hutchinson, who also served as Trump’s special aide, has previously testified behind closed doors on several occasions, revealing that House Republicans supporting Trump’s quest to void the 2020 election were seeking presidential pardons. Hutchinson also testified that Trump himself had signaled to Meadows that he supported calls by Capitol rioters to “hang Mike Pence” during the insurrection, according to CNN.
The news of Hutchinson’s appearance, first reported by Punchbowl News, comes as the committee announced a surprise hearing on Tuesday to “present newly obtained evidence” and “receive testimony.” The panel had previously said it would hold no additional hearings before the House recess on July 4.
It’s unclear if Hutchinson will be joined by other live witnesses on Tuesday. Punchbowl News reported that there were concerns for Hutchinson’s safety. New security measures will be put in place during Tuesday’s hearing, according to CNN.
Ahead of the committee’s first public hearings in early June, Hutchinson had been introduced as an important witness.
“Cassidy Hutchinson could turn out to be the next John Dean,” Norm Eisen, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and an attorney for House Democrats in Trump’s first impeachment trial, told The Washington Post.
Dean, President Richard Nixon’s White House attorney, became a star witness during the House Watergate hearings after testifying publicly about Nixon’s involvement in the scandal.
The committee previously released a video of Hutchinson’s previous testimony, when asked if any members of Congress had asked for a presidential pardon. Hutchinson said Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), Andy Biggs (R-Arizona), Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) and Scott Perry (R-Pa.) all ask them.
“Mr. Gaetz was personally pushing for a pardon, and he had been since early December,” Hutchinson said. “I don’t know why.”
The former aide also recounted that Meadows, Trump and Rudy Giuliani were among those involved in discussions of a scheme promoting fake presidential voters around Thanksgiving in 2020, according to video released during the June 21 hearing. . Meadows and Giuliani are among Trump loyalists who have defied the committee’s January 6 subpoenas.
During Thursday’s hearing, which focused on Trump’s pressure on the Justice Department to help his campaign lies, the panel also played Hutchinson’s testimony revealing that Rep. Perry pushed Trump to install Jeff Clark as Attorney General.
“He wanted Mr. Clark, Mr. Jeff Clark, to take over the Department of Justice,” Hutchinson said.
Hutchinson said he saw Meadows burning papers after meeting with Perry in the weeks following the 2020 election, according to Politico. She also told investigators that Meadows had been warned that the “Stop the Steal” rally scheduled for Jan. 6 in Washington could turn violent, according to a court filing in April.
After the 2020 election, Hutchinson called Jordan Fuchs, Assistant Secretary of State for Georgia, to ask if there was anything the White House could do to express gratitude for auditing ballot signatures. by correspondence, according to a Reuters report from March 2021.
A Georgia Fulton County investigation into whether Trump broke the law by pressuring state officials to nullify the 2020 election results.
Earlier this month, Politico reported that Hutchinson replaced his Trump ally attorney with Jody Hunt, who served as chief of staff to Trump’s first attorney general, Jeff Sessions. This decision would have suggested his increased willingness to cooperate with the investigation.
Punchbowl News reported that Hutchinson had spoken to the Jan. 6 committee within the past 10 days.
In the days leading up to the panel’s first public hearing, panel member Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) was asked about Hutchinson’s role. While he wouldn’t reveal details of what Hutchinson shared privately with the panel, he told the Washington Post Live that several young people who knew what was going on had come forward.
“He is certainly someone who has given truthful testimony to our committee and you will see other junior personnel who have come forward and enthusiastically cooperated with this investigation into this attack on our country,” Raskin said. .
Meanwhile, federal agents last week seized the cellphone of John Eastman, a lawyer advising Trump on plans to overturn the election result, according to a court filing, suggesting a criminal investigation is gaining momentum. alongside the House panel’s investigation.
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