Fox News host Bret Baier acknowledged that Cassidy Hutchinson’s detailed testimony about Donald Trump’s actions on January 6 could have far-reaching consequences.
While noting that he wished that some of Trump’s congressional allies were serving on the January 6 committee, Baier said of today’s hearing, “The testimony in and of itself is really, really powerful.”
Baier’s words were met with a long pause from his colleagues, prompting fellow host John Roberts to ask co-anchor Sandra Smith, “Can you still hear?”
Liz Cheney, the Republican vice-chair of the January 6 committee, indicated that the panel may return to the issue of potential witness tampering in future hearings.
Cheney concluded her remarks at today’s hearing by reading aloud from the testimony of two witnesses who said they were advised to remain loyal to Donald Trump when speaking to investigators.
“I think most Americans know that attempting to influence witnesses to testify untruthfully presents very serious concerns,” Cheney said. “We will be discussing these issues as a committee, carefully considering our next steps.”
As of now, the January 6 committee is expected to resume its hearings when the House returns from its recess on 12 July.
The committee’s evidence of potential witness tampering could also be used by the department of justice if federal prosecutors choose to pursue charges in connection to the allegations.
Some members of Congress reacted with outrage as they listened to Cassidy Hutchinson recount how Donald Trump was informed that some of his supporters at his January 6 rally were carrying weapons.
According to Hutchinson, Trump responded to that information by saying, “I don’t f’ing care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me.”
The rally that Trump spoke at on January 6 culminated in the Capitol insurrection, which resulted in several deaths and many serious injuries for US Capitol Police officers.
“It was a set up. They set up the Capitol Police and Congress to to get overrun,” congressman Ruben Gallego, a Democrat of Arizona, said on Twitter. He went on to insult Mark Meadows, Trump’s chief of staff and Hutchinson’s boss, as a “traitorous fuck”.
Some of Cassidy Hutchinson’s former White House colleagues have applauded her willingness to testify publicly before the January 6 committee.
They have also pushed back against suggestions from Donald Trump and some of his allies that Hutchinson, who served as a senior adviser to the White House chief of staff, was an unimportant staffer in the administration.
“Anyone downplaying Cassidy Hutchinson’s role or her access in the West Wing either doesn’t understand how the Trump WH worked or is attempting to discredit her because they’re scared of how damning this testimony is,” said Sarah Matthews, who served as deputy White House press secretary in the Trump administration.
Matthews added, “For those complaining of ‘hearsay,’ I imagine the Jan. 6 committee would welcome any of those involved to deny these allegations under oath.”
Trump’s former White House communications director, Alyssa Farah Griffin, echoed that suggestion, while applauding Hutchinson’s “courage [and] integrity”.
“Cassidy Hutchinson is my friend. I knew her testimony would be damning. I had no idea it’d be THIS damning,” Griffin said on Twitter.
“To anyone who would try to impugn her character, I’d be glad to put you in touch w/@January6thCmte to appear UNDER OATH.”
Mick Mulvaney, who previously served as Donald Trump’s acting chief of staff, said Liz Cheney’s closing remarks at today’s hearing indicate the January 6 committee has evidence of witness tampering.
“Cheney’s closing is stunning: they think they have evidence of witness tampering and obstruction of justice. There is an old maxim: it’s never the crime, it’s always the coverup,” Mulvaney said on Twitter.
“Things went very badly for the former President today. My guess is that it will get worse from here.”
The committee is currently set to resume its hearings next month, after the House returns from its recess on 12 July.
Liz Cheney, the Republican vice-chair of the January 6 committee, applauded Cassidy Hutchinson’s willingness to testify about what she witnessed in the Trump White House, but she also criticized Hutchinson’s colleagues who have refused to do so.
“While our committee has seen many witnesses, including many Republicans, testify fully and forthrightly, this has not been true of every witness,” Cheney said at the end of today’s hearing.
She added, “We have received evidence of one particular practice that raises significant concern.”
Cheney noted that the committee regularly asks witnesses whether they have been contacted by any of their former colleagues or anyone else who may attempt to influence their testimony.
Cheney read aloud from the testimony of two witnesses who said they had recently spoken to people who encouraged them to stay in Donald Trump’s good graces with their comments to the committee.
One witness told investigators, “What they said to me is, as long as I continue to be a team player, they know that I’m on the right team. I’m doing the right thing, I’m protecting who I need to protect. … They have reminded me a couple of times that Trump does read transcripts and just to keep that in mind as I proceed through my depositions and interviews with the committee.”
Cheney’s comments point to the possibility of witness intimidation impacting the investigation, although it will ultimately be up to the justice department to determine what (if any) criminal charges stem from the committee’s findings.
The January 6 committee hearing, which featured explosive testimony from former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, has now concluded after nearly two hours.
In her closing statement, Liz Cheney, the Republican vice-chair of the committee, thanked Hutchinson for her courage in speaking out about Donald Trump’s actions on the day of the Capitol insurrection.
“Our nation is preserved by those who abide by their oaths to our Constitution. Our nation is preserved by those who know the fundamental difference between right and wrong,” Cheney said.
“I want all Americans to know that what Miss Hutchinson has done today is not easy. The easy course is to hide from the spotlight, to refuse to come forward, to attempt to downplay or deny what happened.”
Cassidy Hutchinson said that both Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, and Rudy Giuliani, one of Donald Trump’s campaign lawyers, sought presidential pardons after January 6.
Hutchinson previously testified to investigators that several Republican members of Congress also reached out to inquire about potential pardons in connection to their involvement in the Capitol attack.
According to Hutchinson, Trump even wanted to add a line to his January 7 speech about potential pardons for the Capitol insurrectionists, but he ultimately did not do so.
Cassidy Hutchinson said she was horrified by Donald Trump’s tweet pressuring Mike Pence to disrupt the congressional certification of Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election.
At 2.24pm on January 6, as insurrectionists stormed the Capitol, Trump tweeted, “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution.”
Asked for her response to that tweet, Hutchinson said, “As an American, I was disgusted. It was unpatriotic. It was un-American. We were watching the Capitol building get defaced over a lie.”
Cassidy Hutchinson witnessed a conversation between Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, and Pat Cipollone, the White House counsel, about the insurrectionists’ chants of “Hang Mike Pence!”
The committee has previously demonstrated how those who attacked the Capitol threatened Pence, as the vice-president oversaw the certification of Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election. Donald Trump himself repeatedly pressured Pence to disrupt the certification process.
According to Hutchinson, Cipollone said something to Meadows along the lines of, “Mark, we need to do something more. They’re literally calling for the vice-president to be f-ing hung.”
Referring to Trump, Meadows replied, “You heard him, Pat. He thinks Mike deserves it. He doesn’t think they are doing anything wrong.”
After a brief break, the January 6 committee hearing has resumed, and the panel shared a clip from Michael Flynn’s testimony with investigators.
Flynn, Donald Trump’s former national security adviser and a close ally, repeatedly invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination to avoid answering the committee’s questions about the January 6 insurrection.
Among other things, Flynn would not answer a question from Liz Cheney, the committee’s Republican vice-chair, about whether he believes in the peaceful transfer of power.