The Jan. 6 House Select Committee heard explosive testimony in a hastily convened Tuesday hearing — accusations that former President Donald Trump vehemently denied.
The surprise testimony came from Cassidy Hutchinson. She is a former White House aide and assistant to chief of staff Mark Meadows. Curiously, she had already given four interviews behind closed doors to investigators.
Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) said the sudden rescheduling resulted from testimony Americans “immediately” need to hear. At a thrown-together hearing with promises of ground-shaking new details?
In her testimony, she said the former president insisted on going to the Capitol after his Jan. 6 speech.
When Secret Service agents told him it was not a good idea, Trump got into the presidential limo nicknamed “the Beast.” Hutchinson told the committee that Secret Service official Tony Ornato related to her what happened when Trump was told he was going to the White House instead.
The 25-year-old former aide said she was told that Trump had a “very strong, very angry response.” She said Trump “reached up toward the front of the vehicle to grab the steering wheel” and then “used his free hand to lunge towards Bobby Engel.”
The wide-ranging accusations by Hutchinson included Trump agreeing with chants calling for former Vice President Mike Pence’s hanging. She said the former president smashed a plate against the wall when he learned former Attorney General Bill Barr did not believe there was widespread voter fraud.
Former President Trump on Tuesday strongly denied the testimony given by Hutchinson, who he said he barely knew. What he did know is that she was described as a “total phony and leaker.”
He added that she wanted to go to Florida with other members of his team after he left the White House, but he personally turned her down. Trump described her as “very upset and angry” that he did not want her to join his post-presidential staff.
The surprise hearing was announced Monday afternoon and became the sixth in a series of public spectacles rolled out by House Democrats — and two Republican allies. The next meeting was not scheduled until July, but the committee cited “recently obtained evidence” for the move.
This charade has descended into political theater — if it wasn’t already before, it certainly is now. The only thing it lacks is Geraldo Rivera opening an empty safe, but there’s still time to squeeze that under the Big Top.