Former White House aide to January 6 Committee: Trump knew rioters were armed
Tyler Merbler from USA, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Former White House aide to January 6 Committee: Trump knew rioters were armed

A former White House aide Tuesday told the US House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack that former US President Donald Trump encouraged January 6 election protesters to go to the US Capitol despite knowing that some were armed with weapons ranging from rifles to bear spray and spears.

Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, also testified that Trump wanted to accompany protestors to the Capitol and later lunged at a member of his own security detail when informed it was unsafe to do so.

Tuesday’s committee proceedings, announced the day before, focused on Hutchinson’s recollections of the conversations and events preceding, during and following the January 6 attack. Her testimony centered on White House officials’ knowledge of armed militias attending the January 6 rally, concerns from White House counsel that marching to the Capitol was illegal, and conflict within the Trump administration over the then-president’s refusal to ask rioters to disperse.

Hutchinson recounted incidents to the Committee when she either participated in or overheard conversations pertaining to the events on January 6. She told the committee that Meadows said “[t]hings might get real, real bad” during the rally. Trump, according to Hutchinson, told his advisors that “they’re not here to hurt me,” when objecting to the fact that armed protesters were not being allowed to enter the area where he was speaking.

Hutchinson also overheard a conversation where White House officials were discussing the fact that rioters inside the Capitol were chanting “Hang Mike Pence.” According to her testimony, Meadows told White House Council Pat Cipollone: “You heard it Pat, he thinks Mike deserves it. He doesn’t think they’re doing anything wrong,” presumably referring to Trump.

The Committee also highlighted the fact that Trump advisors Roger Stone and Michael Flynn, whose Federal  criminal convictions were respectively commuted and pardoned by Trump, were planning to interfere in the counting of electoral votes. Hutchinson testified that Meadows met with them and others on January 5 by phone.

This hearing occurred four days after the previous one where the Committee detailed how Trump allegedly tried to pressure the US Department of Justice to investigate the 2020 US Presidential Election results. Trump is also alleged to have pressured Georgia and Arizona officials to overturn their states’ election results and he pushed former Vice President Mike Pence to not certify the 2020 Election results before Congress.

Currently no upcoming public Committee hearings are scheduled, but more may be added in the near future.