Cassidy Hutchinson, the former White House aide who delivered shocking testimony about Donald Trump before the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riots, was initially advised to mislead the committee, according to an executive summary released this week.
The Jan. 6 committee claims that an ethics attorney in the Trump White House was initially advising Hutchinson ahead of her public testimony, telling her that she “could, in certain circumstances, tell the Committee that she did not recall facts when she actually did recall them.”
When Hutchinson raised concerns, the attorney told her, “You saying ‘I don’t recall’ is an entirely acceptable response to this,” the committee claims.
The report further claims the attorney instructed Hutchinson “about a particular issue that would cast a bad light on President Trump: ‘No, no, no, no, no. We don’t want to go there. We don’t want to talk about that.'”
Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a member of the House committee, elaborated on the claim to CNN, saying Hutchinson “was advised to say that she didn’t recall something when she did. So that’s pretty serious stuff.”
Hutchinson later hired a new attorney, CNN reports.
CNN reports that the attorney in question, Stefan Passantino, said in a statement that he did not advise Hutchinson to mislead the committee: “I represented Ms. Hutchinson honorably, ethically, and fully consistent with her sole interests as she communicated them to me. I believed Ms. Hutchinson was being truthful and cooperative with the Committee throughout the several interview sessions in which I represented her.”
Hutchinson’s June testimony introduced a number of shocking claims, including that Trump was aware his supporters were armed in D.C. on Jan. 6, and that he lunged at his Secret Service detail in the car in an attempt to reach the Capitol that day.
Speaking under oath, Hutchinson said she heard from Trump’s head of Secret Service, Robert Engel, that the former president yelled at his security team, “I’m the f—— president, take me up to the Capitol now.”
“The president then reached up to grab at the steering wheel,” Hutchinson said, recalling what she was told.
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Hutchinson, who worked as an adviser to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, also described other moments of anger for Trump, telling the committee that she once walked in to a room in the White House to see a valet cleaning up after Trump had “thrown his lunch against the wall.”
“There was ketchup dripping down the wall,” she said, and a shattered porcelain plate on the ground. The valet, she testified, told her that Trump had grown angry after Attorney General Bill Barr fact-checked his false claims of election fraud in an interview with the Associated Press.
The committee unanimously voted Monday to recommend that the Justice Department charge Trump with four crimes: obstructing an official proceeding, conspiracy to defraud the government, inciting an insurrection, and conspiracy to make a false statement.