Share

Former White House aide testifies to Trump's fury over election, says he lunged at Secret Service agent, threw plates in fits of rage

This was CNBC's live blog following Tuesday's hearing of the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

VIDEO11:5011:50
Former White House aide testifies in Jan. 6 hearing

A former top White House aide testified Tuesday to then-President Donald Trump's fury over the 2020 election, telling lawmakers he lunged at a Secret Service agent who wouldn't take him to the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 and told staff Vice President Mike Pence deserved chants from rioters calling for him to be hanged.

Cassidy Hutchinson, the former aide to Trump's ex-Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, said the former president also told staff he didn't care if rioters had weapons and told Secret Service to remove the devices they used to screen protestors for hidden weapons that day.

Hutchinson's testimony came in a surprise sixth hearing scheduled by the House Select Committee investigating the attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob on Jan. 6, 2021. The committee said last week that its final two hearings would come in July, but on Monday afternoon it abruptly announced the latest hearing "to present recently obtained evidence and receive witness testimony."

The committee blames Trump for conjuring the violent crowd and sending them toward the Capitol, and has strongly suggested he broke the law in doing so. The panel has placed the former president at the center of a multifaceted conspiracy to overturn his loss to President Joe Biden in the 2020 election.

Trump claims 'I hardly know' star witness in hearing

Trump slammed Hutchinson while also distancing himself from her in a post on his social media platform Truth Social.

"I hardly know who this person, Cassidy Hutchinson, is, other than I heard very negative things about her," Trump said.

He claimed hearing she was "a total phony and a 'leaker,'" without providing evidence.

"She is bad news!" He claimed on the platform he has used since Twitter permanently banned him shortly after the Capitol riot.

Kevin Breuninger

Former Trump White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney says he believes Trump aide who described irate president on Jan. 6

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney listens during a cabinet meeting held by U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, U.S., October 21, 2019.
Leah Millis | Reuters

Former Trump White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said he believes Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to Mark Meadows, after she testified that Donald Trump was irate as he was blocked from marching to Capitol Hill on Jan. 6, 2021.

Hutchinson gave damning testimony to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot on Tuesday, including that former President Donald Trump lunged at a Secret Service agent in a rage in the presidential limousine when told he could not be taken to the Capitol while his supporters marched to try to stop the certification of the election results.

Mulvaney, who was Trump's chief of staff before former Congressman Meadows took the helm, said in a tweet after Hutchinson's initial testimony that he believes her. Hutchison worked for Meadows while he was chief of staff.

"I know her. I don't think she is lying," Mulvaney tweeted.

Hutchinson previously said that Trump insisted to the Secret Service after his speech on Jan. 6 that he wanted to go to the Capitol.

"I'm the 'effing' president, take me up to the Capitol now!" Trump insisted, according to Hutchinson, describing what she was told had happened in the limo that day.

- Brian Schwartz

Trump threw dishes at wall in fit of rage after DOJ found no evidence of election fraud

President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Four Seasons Arena on July 5, 2018 in Great Falls, Montana.
Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

Hutchinson said that, in December 2020, Trump threw his lunch and dishes against a wall when he learned that former Attorney General William Barr and the Justice Department didn't find any evidence of widespread election fraud.

In the wake of his loss to President Joe Biden, Trump began to claim without evidence that the 2020 election had been "stolen" from him thanks to widespread voter fraud. His own attorney general later found that there was no evidence to support that assertion.

As the news broke that the Justice Department had found no evidence to support his claims of election fraud, "I remember hearing noise coming from down the hallway," Hutchinson said.

"I left the office and went down to the dining room and noticed that the door was propped open and the valet was inside the dining room changing the tablecloth off of the dining room table," she testified.

"He motioned for me to come in, and then pointed towards the front of the room near the fireplace mantle and the TV, where I first noticed there was ketchup dripping down the wall and there was a shattered porcelain plate on the floor," Hutchinson continued.

"The valet had articulated that the president was extremely angry at the attorney general's AP interview and had thrown his lunch against the wall," she added. "He said something to the effect of, 'He's really ticked off about this. I would stay clear of him for right now. He's really, really ticked off about this right now.'"

Thomas Franck

Furious Trump lunged at Secret Service agent when told he couldn’t go to the Capitol after rally, aide testifies

Cassidy Hutchinson, who was an aide to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows during the administration of former U.S. President Donald Trump, demonstrates Trump's actions inside the presidential limousine on January 6 as she testifies during a public hearing of the U.S. House Select Committee to investigate the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol, on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 28, 2022.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

Trump lunged at a Secret Service agent in a rage in the presidential limousine when told he could not be taken to the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, Hutchinson testified.

At the White House after the rally, the head of Trump's security detail Robert Engel was sitting and looking "somewhat discombobulated" and "lost," she said.

Hutchinson said that then-White House official Tony Ornato asked her, "Did you effing hear what happened in [the president's vehicle,] The Beast?"

Ornato said that when Trump got in the car, he was under the impression from Meadows that they were likely still going to the Capitol, as he claimed he would do in the speech to his supporters, Hutchinson testified.

When Engel relayed that they were not because it was not secure, Trump "had a very strong, a very angry response to that," Hutchinson said Ornato told her.

"Tony described him as being irate," Hutchinson said. Trump said something like: "I'm the effing president, take me up to the Capitol now."

Engel again refused, at which point Trump "reached up towards the front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel. Mr. Engel grabbed his arm, said, 'Sir, you need to take your hand off the steering wheel. We're going back to the West Wing,'" Hutchinson testified.

Trump "then used his free hand to lunge toward Bobby Engel," Hutchinson said she was told. She added that when Ornato told her this story, he motioned his hands toward his clavicles.

Kevin Breuninger

White House lawyer warned "we're going to get charged with every crime imaginable" if Trump goes to Capitol on Jan. 6

White House counsel Pat Cipollone speaks during opening arguments in the U.S. Senate impeachment trial of U.S. President Donald Trump in this frame grab from video shot in the U.S. Senate Chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., January 21, 2020.
U.S. Senate TV | Reuters

Pat Cipollone, then White House counsel to Trump, warned Hutchinson "we're going to get charged with every crime imaginable" if Trump went to Capitol, she said.

On Jan. 3, "Mr. Cipollone and I had a brief private conversation where he said to me, 'We need to make sure that this doesn't happen. This would be a legally terrible idea for us. We have serious legal concerns if we go up to the Capitol that day.'"

Three days later, "Mr. Cipollone said something to the effect of, 'Please make sure we don't go up to the Capitol, Cassidy,'" she said. "'We're going to get charged with every crime imageable if we make that movement happen,'" she said, recalling his comments.

Hutchinson added that Cipollone had warned in the days leading up to the attack on the Capitol that, if Trump went to the protest, "it would look like we were obstructing justice."

He was also concerned that "it would look like we were inciting a riot, or encouraging a riot."

Thomas Franck

Trump told aides: 'I don't effing care that they have weapons,' Hutchinson said

Trump supporters stand on the U.S. Capitol Police armored vehicle as others take over the steps of the Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, as the Congress works to certify the electoral college votes.
Bill Clark | CQ-Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images

Trump wanted to take magnetometers away from the entrance to his rally space near the White House in order to let armed supporters in on Jan. 6, 2021, Hutchinson told the committee.

Magnetometers are used by the U.S. Secret Service to detect hidden weapons.

Trump was angry that the crowd appeared smaller than he wanted for his rally at the Ellipse, which began shortly before a joint session of Congress convened on Jan. 6.

He blamed the magnetometers, saying in a tent backstage that he wanted them removed to let more people in. "He was angry that we weren't letting people through the mags with weapons," Hutchinson said.

Trump then said words to the effect of, "I don't effing care that they have weapons, they're not here to hurt me, take the effing mags away. Let my people in, they can march to the Capitol from here. Let the people in. Take the effing mags away," Hutchinson testified.

Kevin Breuninger

Meadows didn't look up from phone when aides briefed him on rioters' weapons

Protesters gather on the second day of pro-Trump events fueled by President Donald Trump's continued claims of election fraud in an attempt to overturn the results before Congress finalizes them in a joint session of the 117th Congress on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Kent Nishimura | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images

Meadows didn't look up from his phone when Hutchinson and former Deputy Chief of Staff Tony Ornato briefed the chief of staff on the kinds of weapons rioters were carrying during the morning of Jan. 6.

"When Tony and I went in to talk to Mark that morning, Mark was sitting on his couch on his phone, which was something typical," Hutchinson said.

Ornato then gave him a "fairly thorough" explanation of the weapons the rioters carried, including knives, AR-15-style assault rifles, bear spray, flagpoles and spears, she continued.

"And I remember distinctly Mark not looking up from his phone," she said. "I remember Tony finishing his explanation and it taking a few seconds for Mark to say something."

"I almost said: 'Mark, did you hear him?'" she added. "And then Mark chimed in and was like, 'Alright. Anything else?'"

Thomas Franck

Meadows feared 'things might get real, real bad on January 6,' his aide says

Then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows speaks to reporters in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, July 29, 2020.
Erin Scott | Reuters

Hutchinson said that Meadows told her four days before the riot that "things might get real, real bad on January 6."

On Jan. 2, 2021, Hutchinson said she walked Trump's then-lawyer Rudy Giuliani out of the White House. During that walk, Giuliani asked if she was excited for the events of Jan. 6, and told her to talk to her boss Meadows about it.

"I went back up to our office and I found Mr. Meadows in his office on the couch. He was scrolling through his phone. I remember leaning against the doorway and saying, 'I just had an interesting conversation with Rudy, Mark. Sounds like we're going to go to the Capitol,'" Hutchinson said.

"He didn't look up from his phone and said something to the effect of, 'There's a lot going on, Cass. But I don't know. Things might get real, real bad on January 6,'" she said.

Kevin Breuninger

Chairman Thompson, ranking member Cheney say Hutchinson's testimony is invaluable

U.S. Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Chairperson Bennie Thompson (D-MS) , Vice Chair U.S. Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY) listen during the second public hearing of the U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol, at Capitol Hill, in Washington, U.S. June 13, 2022.
Joshua Roberts | Reuters

The Jan. 6 Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, a Democrat, and ranking member Liz Cheney, a Republican, opened the hearing by noting Hutchinson's years of work for some of the nation's top GOP lawmakers, including House Republican Whip Steve Scalise and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

Cheney, who represents Wyoming in the House, said Hutchinson's testimony from her time as a staff to the Trump administration will prove invaluable.

"Today you will hear Ms. Hutchinson relate certain firsthand observations of President Trump's conduct on January 6th," Cheney said. "You will also hear new information regarding the actions and statements of Mr. Trump's senior advisors that day, including his chief of staff, Mark Meadows, and his White House counsel."

Thomas Franck

Surprise hearing called because Americans need to hear new info 'immediately,' Thompson says

Cassidy Hutchinson, who was an aide to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows during the administration of former U.S. President Donald Trump, arrives to testify during a public hearing of the U.S. House Select Committee to investigate the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 28, 2022.
Evelyn Hockstein | Reuters

Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said that he called Tuesday's last-minute hearing because the American people deserve to hear new information obtained by the committee "immediately."

That new evidence pertains to "what was going on in the White House on Jan. 6 and in the days prior," he said in his opening remarks.

It includes "specific, detailed information" about with what Trump and his top aides were doing and saying in those hours.

It's "important that the American people hear that information immediately," Thompson said. "That's why, in consultation why the vice chair, I recalled the committee for today's hearing."

Kevin Breuninger

Panel recaps prior hearing on how Trump pushed DOJ to help overturn 2020 election

Richard Donoghue, former Acting Deputy Attorney General, testifies before the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol in the Cannon House Office Building on June 23, 2022 in Washington, DC.
Alex Wong | Getty Images

Ahead of the latest hearing, the committee shared a video recap of its last presentation, which centered on how Trump and his allies pressured Department of Justice leaders to aid his efforts to reverse the 2020 election.

"Trump's pressure campaign spread to every level of government. During our last hearing, we showed the American people about the pressure he applied to the Department of Justice," the committee said in a tweet.

Attached was a three-minute video stitching together snippets from last Thursday's hearing. Included was a clip displaying a handwritten note from former deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue, who wrote that Trump pushed him to "just say the election was corrupt" and "leave the rest to me" and Republican lawmakers. Donoghue called that "an exact quote" from Trump.

In another clip, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, D-Ill., said that Trump "wanted the top Justice Department officials to declare that the election was corrupt, even though, as he knew, there was absolutely no evidence to support that statement."

Kevin Breuninger

Hutchinson's ex-boss Meadows has refused to cooperate with the Jan. 6 probe

Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows is seen on a video screen during the public hearing of the U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 9, 2022.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

Hutchinson's former boss, Meadows, for a time had planned to speak with the committee voluntarily. But he reversed course, and in December 2021 and filed a civil lawsuit to invalidate two of the committee's subpoenas.

The House of Representatives that same month voted to hold Meadows in contempt of Congress over his refusal to comply with the Jan. 6 probe.

The vote sent a referral to the Department of Justice, which in June decided not to prosecute Meadows.

The committee's chairman, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and vice chair, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said they found it "puzzling" for the DOJ to "reward" Meadows and another former Trump aide, Dan Scavino, " for their continued attack on the rule of law."

Kevin Breuninger

Hutchinson alleged multiple GOP lawmakers sought presidential pardons

A video of former special assistant to the president Cassidy Hutchinson is shown on a screen during the fifth hearing held by the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol on June 23, 2022 in the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, DC.
Demetrius Freeman | Getty Images

In videotaped testimony played last Thursday, Hutchinson and other former Trump White House officials said several Republican lawmakers sought presidential pardons.

Hutchinson said that Reps. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., and Mo Brooks, R-Ala., "both advocated for there to be a blanket pardon" for lawmakers who attended a December 2020 meeting about the election. They also asked for pardons for "a handful of other members."

"Mr. Gaetz was personally pushing for a pardon and he was doing so since early December," Hutchinson told the committee.  Gaetz has reportedly been under investigation since last year for multiple potential crimes, including alleged sex trafficking.

Hutchinson said Gaetz asked her about setting up a meeting with then-chief of staff Meadows to discuss a possible pardon.

She said that Reps. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., Scott Perry, R-Pa., and Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, contacted her about presidential pardons, as well.

Hutchinson also said she heard that Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., had asked the White House counsel's office for a pardon.

Kevin Breuninger