Cassidy Hutchinson provides explosive testimony during the Jan. 6 hearing
A MARTINEZ, HOST:
Cassidy Hutchinson, top aide to former chief of staff Mark Meadows, shared explosive testimony before the January 6 select committee.
RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
Among the many revelations, Hutchinson said former President Trump knew the crowd at his rally on January 6 was armed.
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CASSIDY HUTCHINSON: Take the effing mags away. They're not here to hurt me. Let them in. Let my people in. They can march the Capitol after the rally's over. They can march from the Ellipse. Take the effing mags away.
MARTIN: Mags, by the way, is short for magnetometers, those metal detectors used for security. Hutchinson said President Trump wanted those armed protesters to march freely to the U.S. Capitol.
MARTINEZ: NPR congressional correspondent Claudia Grisales is with us. All right, let's - so let's start with some of the biggest revelations Hutchinson shared in her testimony.
CLAUDIA GRISALES, BYLINE: Yeah, she said her former boss, Mark Meadows, and Trump were made aware multiple times of the dangers faced as a result of this months-long effort to overturn the 2020 election result. Hutchinson recounted one conversation with then-White House counsel Pat Cipollone, who pleaded she work to keep Trump from going to the Capitol on the day of the attack. She said it was a topic of several conversations. And, at one point, key allies talked about trying to find a way to get Trump inside the House chamber. Here's Hutchinson.
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HUTCHINSON: Mr. Cipollone said something to the effect of, please make sure we don't go up to the Capitol, Cassidy. Keep in touch with me. We're going to get charged with every crime imaginable if we make that movement happen.
GRISALES: Hutchinson also shared Trump and Meadows ignored pleas multiple times to intervene in the violence at the Capitol. For example, she said Meadows would not look up from his phone, even as he got reports the attack was escalating. In the end, she said, there were three White House groups - one calling for Trump to intervene, another that agreed but stayed quiet and a third that falsely blamed others for it.
MARTINEZ: Anything from Donald Trump on what she testified to?
GRISALES: Well, he has denied these claims on his social media platform. And then other parts of her testimony has also been disputed, but several have pushed back on that. For example, Hutchinson said a White House official told her Trump tried to gain control of the presidential limousine on January 6 to go to the Capitol, and there was a physical altercation involving Trump towards this agent trying to stop that from happening. She said the agent was present when the story was related and did not dispute it. Other outlets are reporting that some are disputing some of those details. But Hutchinson's attorney pointed out last night she testified under oath, and a select committee aide said she was a credible witness. And the panel welcomed new testimony under oath to make such claims.
MARTINEZ: All right. So now that the committee has dropped this bomb, who else might we hear from next?
GRISALES: Right. With this hearing, the panel ramped up pressure on other key witnesses to come forward. That includes Cipollone, who Republican Vice Chair Liz Cheney brought up in an earlier hearing calling for his appearance. Cheney also revealed two anonymous cases of witness tampering. And after the hearing, Maryland Democrat and committee member Jamie Raskin told reporters a panel is looking into this. And we also heard for the first time Matt (ph) Meadows and Rudy Giuliani both asked for pardons, and that's part of a bigger issue the panel is investigating.
And then finally, they also briefly touched on links between extremist groups - the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers - to key Trump allies, such as Roger Stone and former administration official Michael Flynn, and then the former president himself and Meadows, leaving a lot to fill in there with new hearings come next month.
MARTINEZ: NPR's Claudia Grisales. Thanks a lot.
GRISALES: Thank you much.
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