By Moira Warburton
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The sixth day of congressional hearings into the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol featured Cassidy Hutchinson, a top aide to then-President Donald Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows.
Hutchinson’s testimony focused on what Meadows and Trump knew about the attack in the days before and on Jan. 6, informed by her close working proximity to both men. Here are some takeaways from the hearing:
TRUMP RALLY ATTENDEES WERE ARMED
Many Republicans – including Trump and Republican Representative Louie Gohmert – have said the rioters were not armed, but Hutchinson’s testimony contradicted this claim. She testified that both Meadows and Trump knew many in the crowd were armed with AR-15s, handguns, brass knuckles and batons and equipped with body armor.
Trump was irate that many rally attendees were having to go through metal detectors, a standard security procedure for people near the president, because it gave the appearance of fewer people attending the rally.
“They’re not here to hurt me,” Hutchinson recalled Trump as saying. “Let them in, let my people in. They can march to the Capitol after the rally’s over.”
WHITE HOUSE LAWYERS HAD LEGAL CONCERNS ABOUT JAN. 6
Hutchinson testified that White House lawyer Pat Cipollone told her on Jan. 3, 2021, that it would be “legally a terrible idea” for Trump to go to the Capitol on Jan. 6.
“He said to me, ‘We need to make sure that this doesn’t happen,” Hutchinson testified. “‘We have serious legal concerns if we go up to the Capitol that day.'”
TRUMP GRABBED STEERING WHEEL OF PRESIDENTIAL LIMO
Trump was so furious that the Secret Service and White House lawyers were planning to return him to the White House rather than allow him to go to the Capitol on Jan. 6 that he tried to grab the steering wheel from the back seat of the presidential limo, Hutchinson said.
“‘I’m the effing president, take me to the Capitol now,'” Hutchinson testified Trump said.
Trump denied that assertion in a statement posted on Truth Social, his social media app.”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,” he wrote and denied her testimony that he threw food and plates against the wall on several occasions.
TRUMP THREW LUNCH AT WALL AFTER BARR INTERVIEW
According to video testimony shown on Tuesday by the committee from Kayleigh McEnany, Trump’s White House press secretary at the time, Trump was so enraged by then-Attorney General Bill Barr’s interview with the Associated Press saying there was no evidence of election fraud that Trump threw his lunch at the wall, breaking a porcelain dish and leaving ketchup dripping down the wall.
“There were several times throughout my tenure with the chief of staff that I was aware of him either throwing dishes or flipping the tablecloth to let all the contents of the table go onto the floor and likely break or go everywhere,” Hutchinson told the committee.
(Reporting by Moira Warburton, Richard Cowan, Rose Horowitch and Doina Chiacu in Washington; Editing by Scott Malone and Howard Goller)