The most explosive testimony yet from the Jan. 6 committee came today in a surprise hearing. The sole witness? A recent graduate who had an extraordinary window into the inner workings of the Trump White House.
As a senior at a college that prizes honor and encourages its students to lead a life of significance, Cassidy Hutchinson told her campus newspaper, “I am confident I will be an effective leader in the fight to secure the American dream for future generations, so they too will have the bountiful opportunities and freedoms that make the United States great.”
Two years later, she found herself in the midst of a series of events that have become the subject of one of the most high-profile congressional hearings in decades. And she has come forward to tell the nation what she heard and saw.
Crisply dressed in black and white, she sat alone at the witness table with a three-ring notebook, responding to questions from Vice Chair Liz Cheney. In the back, four police officers who battled rioters for hours on Jan. 6, 2021, watched with grim faces – sometimes with head in hands – as Ms. Hutchinson described the Trump inner circle as aware of armed protesters and the potential for violence, but unable or unwilling to convince the president to stop it.
Her testimony, based on what she witnessed and heard firsthand from senior officials, included numerous bombshells that portrayed the president as irascible, throwing dishware, grabbing the steering wheel of the presidential limousine, and lunging for the throat of a Secret Service agent when they refused to take him to the Capitol after his speech on Jan. 6. She described her boss, then-chief of staff Mark Meadows, as difficult to get through to, even as rioters breached the Capitol.
“I remember thinking at that moment – Mark needs to snap out of this,” she testified under penalty of perjury.
As she left the hearing room, a few people clapped – the first instance of applause I’ve heard during the hearings.
I’ll be back with a full story tomorrow examining the implications of Ms. Hutchinson’s testimony – and what it means for Trump White House officials, including those who have so far declined to testify.