Cassidy Hutchinson, the January 6th panel's surprise witness, is very bad for Donald Trump: columnist

Cassidy Hutchinson, the January 6th panel's surprise witness, is very bad for Donald Trump: columnist
Former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson (screengrab/@Sky_Lee_1/Twitter).

When the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol unexpectedly announced on Monday that will hold a last-minute public hearing on Tuesday afternoon at 1:00 p.m., speculation immediately started brewing over who their new star witness would be and what that person would reveal.

Late Monday night, their identity leaked. Cassidy Hutchinson, who was serving as then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows will testify before the bipartisan commission about what she saw before, during, and after former President Donald Trump's insurrection.

Hutchinson's account will likely reveal previously unknown details about what went down inside Trumpworld after Trump lost the 2020 election. On Tuesday morning, Greg Sargent explored the significance of Hutchinson's cooperation in a Washington Post editorial.

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Hutchinson, Sargent began, "might end up qualifying as this saga’s John Dean," President Richard Nixon's Watergate White House counsel who had "direct knowledge of extraordinary corruption. In the Trump administration, Hutchinson was herself placed deep inside the White House."

Hutchinson, Sargent continued, is uniquely positioned to tear down the last remnants of Trump's overarching defense – that he "really believed he had won the election; he exercised what he thought were his legal options in response to that belief; and the mob he incited is best understood as a protest that got out of hand."

Sargent then recalled what Hutchinson has already revealed to members of the Select Committee, which aired her deposition at its fifth hearing last Thursday:

Hutchinson confirmed to the Committee that on January 6th, 2021, Trump made some comment to the effect that Vice President Mike Pence deserved to be hanged.
Hutchinson reportedly can also testify about intense plotting between Meadows and a gang of House Republicans to pressure Pence to subvert the electoral count in Congress. Hutchinson had already testified to the committee that House Republicans sought pardons from Trump; reiterating this in person could add force.
Hutchinson has privately testified to witnessing a Secret Service agent telling Meadows that intelligence indicated there might be violence on January 6th. We already know Trump’s lawyers directly informed coup architect John Eastman that their scheme could precipitate street violence, which it did.

Hutchinson also testified to the Committee that Congresspersons Andy Biggs (R-Arizona), Mo Brooks (R-Alabama), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia), Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), and Scott Perry (R-Pennsylvania) sought pardons from Trump for their roles in his coup to subvert democracy and install himself into a second term.

At that same hearing, former Justice Department officials recalled that Trump – skeptical that Pence would go along with his plot to overturn the election – threatened to replace the attorney general with a loyalist, which nearly triggered a mass resignation.

"Just say the election was corrupt, and leave the rest to me and the Republican Congressman," Trump told Richard Donoghue, the acting deputy attorney general at the time.

Pieced together, "these corrupt acts interlocked: That manufactured impression would create the pretext for Pence to illegally delay the count, to buy time for the coup’s completion," Sargent continued.

"All this wrecks the second line of defense: the idea that Trump merely thought he was exercising his legal options. In fact, Trump knew he was pressing for highly improper or illegal acts at multiple levels — by both Pence and top law enforcement officials — yet did so anyway," he added. "In short, the entire scheme was carefully, elaborately and corruptly premeditated."

Read Sargent's full column here (subscription required).

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