Despite warnings from his top lawyers, former President Donald Trump insisted on going to the Capitol on Jan. 6 and “lunged” at a Secret Service agent who told him he couldn’t, a former White House aide testified.
Former top aide to Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows Cassidy Hutchinson made the comments in a Jan. 6 Committee hearing Tuesday. She said that White House Counsel Pat Cipollone warned repeatedly that Trump going to the White House could put many people at the White House in legal jeopardy.
“On Jan. 3 Mr. Cipollone had approached me knowing that Mark [Meadows] had raised the prospect of going to the Capitol on Jan. 6,” Hutchinson said. “Mr. Cipollone had a brief private conversation where he said to me ‘we need to make sure this doesn’t happen, this would be legally a terrible idea for us.'”
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“It’s my understanding that Mr. Cipollone thought that Mr. Meadows was indeed pushing this along with the president,” she added.
“Cipollone said something to the effect of, ‘Please make sure we don’t go up to the Capitol… we’re going to get charged with every crime imaginable,'” Hutchinson said. Among the crimes, she said, were obstruction of justice and “defrauding the electoral count.”
Yet even after the White House had relayed to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and others that Trump would not go to the Capitol, the former president declared that he would in a speech on the Ellipse the morning of Jan. 6.
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Trump left his rally speech expecting that he would be taken to the Capitol, Hutchinson said.
According to Hutchinson, former Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations Tony Ornato told her, “He was under the impression from Mr. Meadows that the off the record movement to the Capitol was still possible and likely to happen.”
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But when Secret Service agents broke the news to him, “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 f-ing president, take me up to the Capitol now.”
Hutchinson said Ornato also told her Trump tried to “grab at the steering wheel” of the “Beast” presidential limo, and Trump then lunged at the Secret Service agent in charge at the time.
President Trump rebutted Hutchinson’s testimony to the committee on his own social media platform, TRUTH Social.
“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?” said Trump on the platform.
Trump referred to another incident brought up during Tuesday’s hearing, during which he allegedly threw his lunch at the wall after reading a story by The Associated Press from early December 2020, detailing that then-Attorney General Bill Barr did not find widespread fraud in the election.