Cassidy Hutchinson Proves that Trump Knew the Mob He Sicced on Mike Pence Was Armed

Cassidy Hutchinson just gave absolutely historic testimony implicating Donald Trump, Mark Meadows, and other in January 6. (My live tweet is here.) The woman is incredibly poised and courageous. Her testimony might help to turn the tide against Trumpism in this country.

But her testimony is not enough, yet, to charge Trump in January 6.

Without taking anything away from her dramatic testimony, I’d like to boil down what she said that will be useful in holding Trump accountable.

She only recently committed to delivering this testimony

The Committee announced Hutchinson’s testimony just yesterday, less than 24-hours before her testimony, in spite of the fact that she had already sat for three interviews with the committee, as well as a fourth quite recently. The decision to testify was so recent that members of the Committee had to fly back from their recess to attend.

A key reason she was willing to testify more forthrightly, it seems clear, is she recently (earlier this month) replaced her lawyer from a Trump loyalist to Jody Hunt. Hunt, once Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ Chief of Staff, is still a conservative Republican, but he has spent years holding up principle against Trump.

Particularly given his ties to the department, it’s likely that Hunt will happily guide Hutchinson to share this testimony with DOJ.

For those asking why DOJ didn’t have this testimony earlier, the answer is simple: It has taken a process for Hutchinson to get here.

She is a firsthand witness to important details

A number of things Hutchinson said are damning direct evidence against Trump or others. But it’s important to break that down, because while all of it would be admissible in a conspiracy, not all of it would be admissible against Trump.

  • In a conversation on January 2, Giuliani told Hutchinson Trump was going to go to the Capitol; when she asked Meadows about this, he said “things might get real bad on the Sixth.” This implicates both Rudy and Meadows in foreknowledge, though not Trump directly.
  • Hutchinson provided evidence that there was intelligence warning of violence (and that John Ratcliffe knew about it); she did not say — though it’s likely — that Meadows and Trump had the same awareness.
  • Hutchinson described that there were mentions of militia in advance in discussions implicating Rudy in advance of the insurrection. These would need to be more specific to be worthwhile evidence, but she may be able to point DOJ to where to get more specifics.
  • Hutchinson described advance knowledge of Trump supporters bringing weapons both in advance of January 6 and that day. Hutchinson specifically said that Meadows did not act on these warnings. She also made it clear that Deputy Chief of Staff Tony Ornato had spoken to the President about the weapons, but she did not say she knew what happened in that conversation.
  • Hutchinson’s testimony on a really critical point includes some ambiguity. In conversations at the White House and then later at the rally, Trump saw the crowd on January 6 and was furious more of his supporters weren’t inside the arena. He was aware many supporters were staying outside the arena because they didn’t want to go through the magnetometers because they had weapons. He asked to ditch the magnetometers because “they weren’t there to hurt him.” This detail is most important because it reflect knowledge on Trump’s part they were armed, before he riled them up and sent them to the Capitol. But in a trial, he would excuse letting them into the rally itself by pointing to his long-standing crowd narcissism, exhibited most famously at his inauguration.
  • Some of Hutchinson’s most damning testimony involved his insistence on going to the Capitol. Some of this — the most damning, her description of how he lunged at his Secret Service detail when he refused to take Trump to the Capitol — was second-hand. It would require Ornato or Trump Secret Service Agent in Charge Bobby Engel to present that in a trial. Plus, Trump would offer less incriminating explanations for why he wanted to go to the Capitol. Hutchinson mentioned he wanted to enter the chamber, though, which should be developed more (because he would require an invitation). The Secret Service is now pushing back on this.
  • During the rally at the Ellipse, Mark Meadows twice pushed Hutchinson away when she was trying to warn him of violence at the Capitol. This squandered 20-25 minutes in which he might have responded to the initial violence, but since he did nothing for hours anyway, it made little difference. It does, however, reflect Meadows’ own disinterest in protecting the country.
  • Hutchinson’s description of efforts to keep belligerent language out of Trump’s speech reflects on Pat Cipollone’s foreknowledge of Trump’s criminal exposure, but probably would require Cipollone’s testimony to be admissible against Trump. Hutchinson described Cipollone’s legal concerns about going to the Capitol, as well, but not necessarily that he explained that to Trump.
  • Hutchinson alluded to discussions involving Mark Meadows, Rudy, and Scott Perry about what they would have done if Trump had made it to the Capitol, but she explicitly said she wasn’t sure which of those plans were shared with Trump.
  • At Trump’s request, Mark Meadows remained in the loop with Mike Flynn and Roger Stone on January 5 which may help implicate Meadows in the militia planning; Hutchinson discouraged Meadows from attending the War Room at the Willard in person, but he did call in.
  • After the attack started Hutchinson described, Meadows telling Cipollone that “he doesn’t want to do anything,” suggesting the President didn’t want to respond at all to the Capitol attack. But that would require testimony from one or both of them to clarify the meaning.
  • Perhaps the most damning part of her testimony described that Meadows and Cipollone were in the Oval with Trump discussing the hang Mike Pence chants just before Trump put up the 2:24 tweet claiming Pence hadn’t shown courage. It’s in that conversation where Trump said, “Mike deserves it.” This goes a long way to proving the deliberate effort by Trump to put Pence at more risk. But DOJ would need another witness and/or some corroboration for the timeline to place the “Mike deserves it” comment to just before Trump sent the tweet.
  • The Committee presented some of the calls from others, including Ivanka, for Trump to call off the rioters; Hutchinson’s testimony will be one part of the evidence that Trump did nothing during the attack (though Meadows’ comment that “Trump didn’t want to do anything” may be more important to show affirmative refusal, but DOJ would need to get Meadows’ testimony on that point).
  • Hutchinson also testified that both Rudy and Meadows wanted a pardon after January 6, which implicates them, but not Trump.

Hutchinson may lead to or force the testimony of others

Whether it happens with the January 6 Committee or DOJ, Hutchinson’s is the kind of testimony that might identify witnesses who would cooperate with DOJ or against whom Hutchinson’s testimony could be used to coerce cooperation.

For example, there’s a greater (Cipollone) or lesser (Kevin McCarthy) that her testimony will embarrass or otherwise convince other witnesses to cooperate with the Committee.

Her testimony identified other White House staffers who were also witnesses to Trump’s demands that the Secret Service ditch the magnetometers or that he go to the Capitol, who would make key witnesses for DOJ.

If Ornato and Trump’s Secret Service detail have been unwilling to testify, this may make it easier to obtain their testimony.

Hutchinson’s testimony tied Rudy to the militias in advance. She also established Rudy’s foreknowledge of a plan to go to the Capitol. These might be really important details implicating Rudy (plus she was witness to some of his earlier efforts to sow the Big Lie.

Her testimony tied Meadows into the plotting at the Willard (on Trump’s orders). And she otherwise depicted Meadows as taking no action because Trump didn’t want to. The case against Meadows would/will need to be far more robust, but having testified against him publicly, she’s likely to be able to offer DOJ far more.

Liz Cheney raised witness tampering in this hearing, without naming names. It’s quite possible Hutchinson has firsthand knowledge of that.

Trump sicced a mob he knew to be armed on his Vice President

To sum up, the most important pieces of testimony show that Trump knew well a significant number of the people at his rally were armed. And after siccing them on his Vice President (and trying to join them), instead of calling them off, he instead further incited violence against Pence, claiming at the moment he did so that they were right to attack Pence.

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204 replies
  1. Jamie C. says:

    Today was a perfect example of how these hearings can move nicely in concert with DOJ’s investigation. Mostly first hand testimony in proximity to many of the most important moments of the week leading up to 1/6.

  2. timbo says:

    I feel the incident in the Presidential SUV, as it was departing the Ellipse, is the most damning thing in today’s testimony. Here is evidence that the President strongly wanted to be marching on the Congress. This is currently hearsay evidence if Engel (and/or other as yet unidentified witnesses) cannot/will not confirm Hutchinson’s testimony.

      • Arice says:

        I would relish getting those two agents up in front of Congress to testify under oath. Let’s just imagine, for a second, that Ms. Hutchinson heard it wrong or the embellished version that had Trump “grabbing the wheel” and trying to choke an agent. But, really, the truth is that Trump threw a shit fit when his detail wouldn’t drive him up to the Capitol to be with “his people” while they looted the other branch of govt. I’m totally okay with that. I always thought the bit about grabbing the wheel sounded a bit fishy. He’s unhinged but not that insane to think grabbing a limo wheel is going to get him where he wants to go.

      • Grant G says:

        Cassidy Hutchinson said Pat Cipollone told story about what happened in vehicle….If Pat was told story, so were others…
        I’m almost positive J6 panel has corroborating receipts ready for next hearing…

        J6 panel, in laying out today’s testimony in the way they did would have known Trump and his people would use the hearsay argument to discredit……We’ll have to wait n see….Because if they do have the receipts…

        Trump and company have already taken the bait and fell headlong into the trap.

        Cheers

          • Grant G says:

            I’ll have to re-watch….Ornato confirmed what Pat Cipollone had stated…I do believe that’s what Cassidy said….

            And, if you think about it….Grabbing the wheel, lunging a SS agent really isn’t germane to underling insurrection/sedition story…Just added spice..

            Why would she make up that story?

            Was the story fed to Cassidy in jest?

            It doesn’t make sense to make up that story….and or to feed it to her in jest

          • Krisy Gosney says:

            IIRC Oranto and Engel were in a room and Hutchison is called in and Engel (the one who did not get hit by Trump in the clavicle; I believe that’s Engel) said to her ‘do you know what happen in the car today?’ And then Engel proceeds to tell her what Trump did to Ornato as Ornato listened. Cheney was careful to ask Hutchison if Ornato ever told her the retelling was false (H said he never denied the retelling’s facts.).

        • Hopeful says:

          This story has holes, not first hand……

          In 2022, if a person relates a second hand story and then actual participants deny the account; the web world goes bananas and claims EVERYTHING the witness stated must also be a lie.

          And a significant percentage agree

          Very treacherous world, why would she relate such a story? I didn’t witness the testimony; hope she prefaced by saying this is only what she heard.

            • Hopeful says:

              Thanks for the comment and question.

              My comment is based upon perception, not reality. Perception drives social media.

              She testified under oath.

              She could have been told an exaggerated story. She truthfully told what she heard.

              Any person in that car can dispute the story to the news media, not under oath.

              Social media response can be coordinated to be awful.

              • Rayne says:

                You realize, of course, your comments here are part of that social media response.

                We’re certainly aware of it, this not being our first rodeo.

                Also fully aware you’ve not pointed out specific holes in Hutchinson’s story.

          • CJ-FL says:

            And it’s only the web world that has embellished this story to the level of actual “getting ahold of the wheel and choking”. Hutchinson was much more vague in that the person telling her had actually pointed to his clavicle. The details were never verbalized- to us anyway. I thought that trump had only grabbed for the wheel. Not an indication that ge got ahold of it.
            Still, this seems the least important of what we’ve learned.

            • timbo says:

              You are wrong there. This is compelling hearsay evidence of state of mind. I believe it basically can be used to compel other witnesses to deny or the state of mind of Twitler in and around January 2021’s insurrection at the Capitol…under oath.

      • Lawnboy says:

        To be fair and balanced, is there a remote chance that 45 confused his detail for a V-jayjay?

        After all he has said “I just grab them….”

        LB

      • Peterr says:

        Peter Alexander didn’t quote the Secret Service pushing back – he said “A source close to the Secret Service” says the Secret Service denies this.

        Unless a Secret Service officer comes out in public, raises his right hand, and swears it didn’t happen, I’ll take Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony as accurate. It seems much more likely to me that a source close to the Secret Service is scared of what this means, not that the Secret Service denies it.

        • civil says:

          That’s how I feel. Apparently both Engel and Ornato have already testified before the committee. I’d be surprised if Cheney questioned Hutchinson about this without already having gotten confirmation from Engel or Ornato (but I’m periodically surprised by things).

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          The Committee would need to depose everyone in the limo then. These Secret Service agents agreed to put their lives on the line to protect a guy like Trump, who has an exceptionally keen predator’s eye, and would have personally vetted some of them.

          The range of weapons one might use against Trump includes the truth. Refuting it with terminological inexactitudes, in Churchill’s phrase, they might think is part of the job.

          • Ginevra diBenci says:

            These particular secret service agents (Ornato and Engel) had a personal fealty to Trump, who had put Ornato on the campaign staff. That means he had/has something to hold over them. Social media talk is cheap. Let’s see them under oath on TV.

      • Greg Hunter says:

        So the question might be is why would Ornato feed her that story and what does that mean? Is there any reason?

        Did Trump know he would never get the off the record movement?

        Was that orchestrated and was the real motive to hide that taking of Pence if he got in the car at the loading dock was always the plan?

        Did Trump grab a clavicle..was it a story? or was it a more graphic act for someone else in the Beast?

        • Peterr says:

          He told the story to her as soon as she got back to the West Wing from the Ellipse. At that time, no one knew how the day would end, or what would happen the next day or the day after that. Hell, the Capitol was still under the control of the Capitol Police at that point.

          There’s no “feeding” anyone a story here, and no orchestration or deeper motive. This was simply three coworkers looking at each other and saying “Damn – never had a workday like this, and it’s not over yet . . .”

        • ken dickson says:

          It seems a bit odd that someone in the President’s Secret Service detail would be gossiping about details of their protection experience, at least to people outside the Service. But see YouTube: “Carol Leonnig: Tony Ornato Has Said A Lot Of Things Didn’t Happen.” Are Ornato’s stories like preemptive ‘poison pills’ against future testimonies, casting doubt against any future leakers?

      • Tarkeel says:

        Is there a missing ‘chance’ after McCarthy?

        (…)there’s a greater (Cipollone) or lesser (Kevin McCarthy) that her testimony(…)

      • Grant G says:

        Olivia Troye…..(Fmr White House Homeland Security Advisor to Pence) pushing back or Ornato..

        Boom….This puts things in a whole new light..

        “Tony Ornato lied about me too. During the protests at Lafayette sq in 2020, I told Mark Meadows & Ornato they needed to warn press staged there before clearing the square. Meadows replied: “we aren’t doing that.” Tony later lied &said the exchange never happened. He knows it did”

        https://twitter.com/OliviaTroye/status/1542236497239310337

        • Rayne says:

          Gives me gooseflesh recalling one cameraperson who was smashed by law enforcement during the Lafayette Square protest. I can’t recall which law enforcement agency they were with. At the time it looked like this was mostly Barr’s doing with deploying Bureau of Prisons personnel as riot control but Ornato lying about this means it was more than Barr at work.

          Was this another practice event for January 6?

      • Alan Charbonneau says:

        I’ve read that Ornato and Engel both are willing to testify under oath the Trump
        grabbing the steering wheel/throttling his bodyguard incidents never happened.

        If they do come forward and testify under oath, they better tell the truth. I’ve got a feeling the Jan 6 Committee has more evidence about Trump’s conduct than simply Hutchinson’s secondhand story. I’m guessing there were more than two agents in the Suburban and Cheney has already obtained their testimony about the incident.

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          There was also the driver. And Trump should remember that cross-examination, which he keeps screaming for, cuts both ways. If Ornato and Engel have been deposed, it is unlikely Cheney would evoke testimony from Hutchinson that contradicts them. (Unless she has other plans.) Thus, if they come forth to tell a new story favorable to Trump, she can impeach using prior testimony.

    • Pigeon in a Library says:

      Trump’s beastly behavior in the Beast was certainly the most dramatic. The Secret Service physically restraining the president is eye popping. But “they’re not here to hurt me,” while having that mobspeak fig leaf, is a pretty naked reveal of his own awareness of how Jan 6 would go. This hearing had some of the best storytelling and shocking details so far.

      I was also fascinated by her descriptions of Mark Meadows checked out attitude, like him on the couch on his phone not looking up to receive warnings. Since Boehner’s book where he calls Meadows “schizophrenic” I’ve always wondered what flavor of weirdo he is. This offered more evidence if not explanation. There’s been so much psychoanalyzing of Trump and his upbringing, I wish we had it for the rest of the cast. I’d like to learn more about the process that makes a reptile as passive and cowardly as Meadows.

      • BobCon says:

        He’s a nut and liar.

        What makes it worse is reporters have known this for years, but instead of burning him as a background source when he lies to them and damages their credibilty, they keep going to him as a source and give him anonymity.

        Isaac Chotiner was dogging Philip Rucker for a while over his ridiculous use of Meadows as an anonymous source for his book “I Alone Can Fix This.” Chotiner was finding example after example where Meadows had to have been the source and was transparently lying to Rucker.

        For more on the DC press’s stupid engagement with Meadows:

        https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/10/04/mark-meadows-trump-covid-425912

        • emptywheel says:

          I don’t think reporters have internalized just how dumb and/or mendacious most of the Tea PArty folks are (and I say that based on working with their offices on surveillance issues), and as more get in power, they treat them as reliable because they have power.

      • MissyDC says:

        Meadows wasn’t checked out. He was on TWO phones. An official and a burner and was probably coordinating with PB/OKs or who knows. I was frustrated how CH kept talking about Mark being on his phone, giving the impression he wasn’t paying attention. Maybe this will come up later when J6 committee gets his Signal and can show side by side CH testimony & Meadows correspondences.

        • Raven Eye says:

          Or…

          …I’ve had a couple of jobs where I had an issued phone and my personal phone. I certainly didn’t want to conduct personal stuff on the work phone, nor work stuff on my personal phone. No burners there.

          • timbo says:

            Were you working on breaking your oath to the Constitution while you were on one of those phones? Because if you were, you’d be wishing that you’d burned a phone by now…as Meadows apparently did when he left the White House.

          • Another dude from G-ville says:

            And, not that these folks followed the rules, if Medows was part of the campaign he should have had a separate phone for that.

        • Pigeon in a Library says:

          Oh to be a fly on that phone! I’m not sure he has the work ethic to be personally coordinating with the militias. It wouldn’t surprise me if he was just doomscrolling like the rest of us, or playing candy crush in airplane mode, or reading a reddit page for how to get permanent residence in the Sunken Place. Can a man be a snake and an ostrich at the same time? Apparently, he says in his memoir that the most important job of a Chief of Staff is to be able to say no the president. So maybe he’s just a really funny guy?

      • BruceF says:

        Along with Trump’s behavior towards SS, I keep pondering how three events that occurred on Jan 5th were related have they been fully investigated? Are there connections that are pertinent:

        1. Pence and Trump meet and Pence makes clear he rejects Eastman plan, or other strategies by which the Vice President might overturn EV count,
        2. Drooling dotard Chuck Grassley announces he will be standing in for Pence during EV count proceedings,
        3. Lenders staff contact SS and express concerns about the safety of the VP.

        My big question is were their communications from WH to Grassley after Pence meeting that led the Corn Clown to make his pronouncement? If so why? This portion of the drama would seem to demand further investigation!

  3. Grant G says:

    Guaranteed the j6 panel has receipts to prove up most of Cassidy’s testimony today….Trump on Truth Social has already made a statement denying food toss with Cassidy helping with the clean-up and Trump denying grabbing the steering wheel….Maga online warriors and many GOP are screaming hearsay hearsay hearsay….

    Clearly the j6 panel set a trap and Trump already walked into it…

    J6 panel has provided many receipts of proof proving testimony true from previous hearings…J6 thus far in hearings set the plate for future hearings..This happened today too.

    Liz Cheney started the hearing saying something to the effect that today’s testimony will come more to light in future hearings…

    Trump already made statement on Truth Social denying steering wheel and food toss ….Guaranteed J6 has corroborating testimony on that.

    Today’s hearing and testimony was merely priming the pump…giving last few hold-outs a chance to come clean….And the trap which already hooked Trump’s ankle.

    Cheers

    • timbo says:

      >Clearly the j6 panel set a trap and Trump already walked into it…

      Uh, what the heck “trap” are you talking about? Please explain how this is some sort of trapping of Trump beyond simple investigative work and gathering of testimony.

      • Grant G says:

        The trap….Having Trump boldly claim Cassidy is lying, which he did on truthless Truth Social….only to have it verified by further testimony in future hearing….Now do you get it?

  4. Bobby Gladd says:

    Goopers are trying to dismissively (hints of misogyny?) blow off her testimony as a lightweight “hearsay joke.”

    1. It’s not a trial, but;
    2. She was under Oath on penalty of perjury, no “joke” for a young woman with likely shallow pockets.

  5. Just Some Guy says:

    Curious if any of the documentary footage the January 6th Committee has cooborates Hutchinson’s testimony because, like it or not, both the public and a jury would be swayed more by that than witness testimony.*

    *not saying this is the “correct” way for both to react, mind you.

  6. Notyouraveragenormal says:

    It’s pretty nuts. I can already imagine the RWNJs interpreting this as that Trump didn’t desert them after all and that there was a deep state effort to subdue him. Of course, my comment refers to the political, not the legal, although perhaps those two realms are slowly starting to converge.

    Hopefully the J6C’s and DOJ’s efforts will help to bring the GOP back from the brink (by self-preservation if not shame).

  7. Anvil Leucippus says:

    Does the committee usually gather in a SCIF before a hearing? I was trawling for some indication if that was normal behavior, and struck out.

      • Anvil Leucippus says:

        Thank you. I started getting into the weeds trying to find an answer on my own.

        I also can’t find any footage of committee members or staff carrying a security bag into the SCIF today. So, the reason for entering was something that was already in the room or it was a discussion and not a physical object. The whole thing piqued my interest today. Exciting stuff!

    • Arice says:

      The House hearing rooms like Cannon 390 all have adjacent cloakrooms for the members to gather in before, during and after hearings. They’re not typically SCIFs. There are numerous SCIFs on the Hill, though, if needed.

  8. BobCon says:

    “TRUMP SICCED A MOB HE KNEW TO BE ARMED ON HIS VICE PRESIDENT”

    Unsurprisingly, as of few minutes ago the NY Times is glossing over this point even as other outlets are highlighting it.

    The Times is going the “oh that wacky Trump” route instead, and trying to slice and dice what Hutchinson said into microbits that resist interpretation.

  9. TooLoose LeTruck says:

    I will say, Ms Hutchinson has an automatic best seller on her hands, should she so choose…

    Talk about being a witness to history…

  10. Zeke says:

    While I’m impressed by her poise and happy that she testified, I can’t help but wonder how things may have played out if she had found the courage to provide this information and/or give this testimony at the second impeachment trial. I doubt the outcome of the trial would have been different, but perhaps getting whatever dominoes are (hopefully? likely?) to fall earlier in the process would have put things on a different trajectory.

    • Rayne says:

      Nah. I don’t want to put all the burden on this single young staffer. Look at all the more senior individuals who said absolutely dick about what happened.

      She might not have had effective legal counsel in January 2021; we already know she fired a Trump-connected lawyer for a Sessions-connected lawyer just recently.

      • Zeke says:

        The burden definitely isn’t all on her and she is far down the list of people who should have stepped up, but I’m just reluctant to see her as some sort of hero for finally doing the “right” thing, in spite of her age, etc. I was very lucky to have worked as a legislative aide (fancy term for answering the phone and getting coffee) for the state assembly when I was in college and had several colleagues that would also have described themselves as “conservative activists.” They were exactly the type who would have had no qualms working for douchebags like Ted Cruz and Steve Scalise, so I’m probably (definitely) making some assumptions and not being fair to her. My guess is that the story of how she got from there to testifying today will be an interesting one.

        • Rayne says:

          Working with a Trump-connected attorney — I mean, think about the attorneys he uses — and in an environment with white collar mobsters comfortable with intimidation tactics would be enough to squelch even the best of intentions.

          Think about what keeps Cruz and Scalise on short leashes when both have enough name cred they shouldn’t give a flying fig.

          • blueedredcounty says:

            I am with you on this, Rayne. Right after Trump tried to get him killed, and felt like it was fully deserved, Mike Pence bailed on discussions on the 25th Amendment, even though he know he had the backing of at least one (Betsy DeVos) if not two (Elaine Chao) Senate-confirmed cabinet members.

            None of them went public with the info for over a year. Even now, they could make a joint appearance. Either they are craven and still think they have a chance at the presidency (Pence) or they’re so entitled they don’t have any responsibility towards the country or the oaths they took.

            • Zeke says:

              Maybe I’m missing it, but none of them are victims. They all willingly put themselves in Trump’s orbit, Hutchinson included. I feel like this should be a cautionary tale rather than a tale of heroism, but I’ve been wrong before (once).

              • timbo says:

                One can argue that the old GOP party elite put Pence right where they wanted him to be at the 2016 GOP party convention…

              • earlofhuntingdon says:

                A lot of people put themselves in the orbit of a new president, for a host of reasons. A tiny number of them ever speak out publicly against them. A much smaller number still speaks out when it might criminally implicate a president and his closest advisers.

                Hutchinson deserves credit. A host of wealthy and powerful figures do not, because they still adhere to the Republican code of omerta about the attempted criminal overthrow of government.

            • Molly Pitcher says:

              Be serious ! Elaine Chao is married to McConnell !! She’s not going to testify to anything unless subpoenaed.

              • Ginevra diBenci says:

                Or until McConnell decides Trump is no longer useful, and joins the ranks of the “hero” right.

    • timbo says:

      Witnesses weren’t really allowed in either impeachment trial of Twitler. Hopefully in the next one there’ll be plenty?

  11. Eichhörnchen says:

    I posted this question in the previous thread, but probably came too late to the party.

    How is it that guys with AR-15s, Glocks, etc. can hang out on the Ellipse- sitting in trees with a view of the President, no less – and not be confronted by law enforcement? And the police weren’t interested in the confiscated weapons either?

    • David says:

      I hope this is one of the points the committee makes recommendations on in their final report.

      But to address your question directly, many years ago I attended the Atlanta Pot Festival. Thousands of people were smoking weed right in front of the hundreds of police who were working that day. The police were cordial, and I saw no-one arrested, even though possession and smoking marijuana were illegal then as now in Atlanta. Why didn’t the police arrest everyone? Partly because they were VASTLY outnumbered. And partly because everyone was otherwise behaving themselves. I imagine both those reasons came in to play on 01/06 as well.

      [Welcome to emptywheel. Please use a more differentiated username when you comment next as we have several community members named “David” or “Dave.” Thanks. /~Rayne]

      • Eichhörnchen says:

        The entire conversation about these people in the hearing centered on them preferring to stay outside the rally area so they could hang onto their weapons and Trump saying they should be let in with their weapons to populate his photo. No one suggested they’d be taken away by police or that police would confiscate their weapons. The implication appeared to be that those same armed men later headed for the Capitol to do Trump’s bidding.

        • Drew says:

          I think there were some confrontations of individuals, but the crowd was too big & police forces were to limited for a round up. Most of the weapons were either concealed or not obviously illegal. Trump, of course, hadn’t thought about this in advance, but inviting a bunch of insurrectionists for a “wild time” means some are going to have reasons to avoid standard security precautions.

            • Drew says:

              That’s true, and it’s why the organized militias mostly weren’t carrying firearms at the Capitol (and the QRF had its arsenal staged in Virginia) – but law enforcement is always selective, and in this case they had too many demonstrators to comprehensively get all of them arrested. This would particularly be the case because the administration was supportive of these demonstrators and did whatever they could to limit police presence-and conveyed that the cops shouldn’t “harass” these “law abiding” Republicans. So the enforcement was spotty on the morning of January 6.

        • Eureka says:

          This is also obviously why Trump (Murdoch outlets, etc.) have irrationally insisted from the get-go that there were no weapons at the Capitol.

          File yet another one under Trump doth protest too much…

    • bawiggans says:

      As security began to detect that a number of people in the crowd were armed, was this communicated to fellow officers and up the chain of command? Even if carrying weapons is not prohibited in that location, one would think that this would be an important bit of intelligence for those charged with securing an event at which POTUS would be present. Trump’s security detail seems to have been well aware of it. Did this interesting tidbit get passed along to those guarding the Capitol or was it decided that would spoil the surprise?

      • timbo says:

        It was. It’s in the testimony and submitted evidence at yesterday’s hearing, etc.

        The problem is that on the day of there was also a bomb threat at the GOP and DP party HQ buildings that drew resources and management eyes away from the crisis building at the Capitol itself. And I still note that the Committee has not taken on that particular angle to this whole thing as yet… may they find who planted those bombs.

  12. Estragon says:

    I find myself curious about the valets at the White House. If these ketchup stained walls could talk, etc. I have some vague recollection that they are active duty military, did I imagine that?

    Gen. Flynn taking the “fifth” on whether he believed in the peaceful transfer of power was one of the most shocking things I’ve ever seen on live TV, second to the plane hitting tower 2. What was his brother up to that day? Why didn’t the QRF scramble from Virginia? Was it that antifa was a no-show or did they hear the guard/donohuge posse was getting deployed?

    • xbronx says:

      Estragon, for me, the second he took the 5th on the question of a peaceful transition all I could think of was this in itself “dishonorable” and what are the mechanisms, if any, to stop his military pension?

      • Estragon says:

        As I understand it, it’s not realistic to imagine the military taking action on this, however— theoretically— he could be recalled to active duty. Unsure about the pension, it’s probably safe unless he’s implicated in some kind of RICO :-)

        BMaz this a joke don’t ban me

        • timbo says:

          Perhaps the military won’t have to do anything. The crimes Flynn has allegedly committed are well covered by the Federal laws, independent of the US Military Code. It’s pretty clear that if Flynn were recalled to duty, he’d face a court martial instantly at this point.

          • Rugger9 says:

            This is a topic I’ve laid out several times before and pulling Flynn’s pension is a non-starter.

            To be prosecuted under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) which at least would involve Article 134 (‘bringing discredit’) among others, Flynn would have to be under orders. However, Flynn is retired and since he’s past 60, outside of the normal recall range. So, a specific intervention within the regulations would be needed since Flynn didn’t get to five stars. Either that or the Army would have to show something that Flynn did before retiring (which may be possible, given the First Law of Dirtbags I would not be surprised if the Turkish or similar moonlighting had gone on before Flynn’s retirement) puts him in the UCMJ crosshairs.

            Then, a general court martial would be convened and Flynn tried. If the GCM finds that Flynn should be Dismissed, that would be when Flynn loses his pension. There is a reason officers do not get Good Conduct Medals, because we are expected to behave at all times.

              • Rugger9 says:

                I would agree with you on that, absent some more active role in J6 which so far is not apparent. Something spectacular would be necessary that would basically shame the Army into making LTG Flynn an example. There is precedent for such a long reach. The guard badge for the Tomb of the Unknowns can be rescinded even long after leaving the service if its recipient does anything dishonorable. It’s one of the rarest decorations to have. However, this is an exception that proves the rule IMHO.

                That doesn’t stop DoJ from filing charges tied to this sedition, though and even though Flynn was pardoned for specific items, J6 wasn’t one of them. One also wonders what Flynn the younger was doing on J6 given how much more reactionary he’s been in the rare times he’s been quoted.

                • bmaz says:

                  Right now, they still have an issue because of the Larrabee decision, which is still on appeal. Fair chance it gets reversed in the DC Circuit if the oral argument was any indication. But even if it is, just cannot envision Flynn being recalled and courtmartialed.

                  • Rugger9 says:

                    There is a much better chance DoJ sends Flynn up the river on J6-related charges, which would carry plenty of jail time.

                    I also wonder what Flynn’s son was doing since he’s a MAGA piece of work as well.

                    • Alan Charbonneau says:

                      For some reason there’s no reply link to bmaz’ s post about Flynn likely not going to prison.

                      Based on what we know now, I agree. However, Denver Riggleman worked with the Jan 6 committee and he said more explosive evidence is yet to come.

                      Michael Flynn’s brother was behind the slow National Guard response. I know the IG said Charles Flynn did nothing wrong That IG report was, in turn, pushed back on. I don’t know who is correct, but I think we will find out that both Michael and Charles Flynn were part 0f the conspiracy.

                      In any event, I think Michael is going to come out of this in a bad way. He’s not the type to stop criming after getting his pardon.

              • timbo says:

                Are you saying that the JAGs and IGs in the military shouldn’t do this…or just saying the won’t?

                • bmaz says:

                  I do not think they should, and do not think they will. And, currently they arguably cannot because of the Larrabee decision in DC District. I know people want to lash out at anything and everything, but that accomplishes nothing.

                  There is no conduct whatsoever done by Flynn while still active in any regard. How many veterans should be recalled and punished for something having nothing whatsoever to do with their service? How many? Do you think the UCMJ has capacity for those implications? Really?

  13. earlofhuntingdon says:

    About that intelligence DoJ had about the mob’s intent to storm the Capitol and/or other government buildings. Did that information get to the Capitol Police before January 6th?

    • emptywheel says:

      One of the reports cited was the Capitol police one.

      But it will be an interesting question whether the Secret Service intel got there.

  14. Zinsky says:

    The testimony today was absolutely gripping and was among the best live Congressional testimony I have seen in my 50+ years of watching politics. Ms. Hutchinson showed incredible poise and grace.
    Excellent summary of the proceedings above, as well. You brought up several things I hadn’t heard or points I hadn’t considered. I am finally starting to feel like Trump and his inner circle (most notably Roger Stone) might finally face serious consequences for their actions! Thank you for helping all of us understand this web of deceit more clearly.

    • bmaz says:

      Things that, unless Hutchinson flat out lied about them before, have been known to this Committee from the start. It was not about Hutchinson’s safety, as today put her in far more danger than she ever was previously.

      So, what was this?

      • cmarlowe says:

        Not sure what you mean by “the start?” She recently got a new atty and there was a 4th closed door sitting with the committee in May.

        • bmaz says:

          I mean from moment one. If today was some kind of new revelation, somebody has been lying. It is either Hutchinson or the Committee. The thought that this was some kind of emergency surprise hearing is ludicrous though.

          • cmarlowe says:

            There were new revelations to me (and may have been new to the committee if Hutchinson previously held back). The information as to whether or not it was really an emergency may be forever confined to the SCIF.

          • Peterr says:

            I think the surprise was the communications revealed at the end of the hearing, about Trump supporters leaning on witnesses. It sounded to me as if these folks initially told the committee that they had not been leaned on, but recently came back to the committee and told them otherwise.

            And I wouldn’t be surprised if Hutchinson wasn’t one of those who was leaned on.

            She testified three times, and when clips of that testimony started appearing in earlier hearings, someone on Team Trump immediately recognized that her testimony could be really dangerous. Something happened to cause her to switch attorneys, to someone less tied to Trump. Pressure from Team Trump on her initial attorney may have kept her from volunteering things initially, but at some point, she stood up to that lawyer and hired Hunt.

            That would not have gone over well with Team Trump. If they were foolish enough to try the polite armtwisting of “we know you are loyal, and trust you will do the right thing,” she sounded today like someone who would share that with the committee.

            Meanwhile, if other witnesses who were tampered with saw Hutchinson’s earlier testimony and were ashamed of their lack of being forthcoming, they may have come forward with their own tales of witness tampering.

            Cheney’s closing statement struck me as a big big shot across someone’s bow, saying in essence “We know who you are. We know who you tampered with. Be afraid, you SOB, and don’t you dare even think about pressuring any of our witnesses. We know where you live.”

            That was a time-sensitive blast.

            • cmarlowe says:

              A blast indeed, and deterring witness tampering “now” is a reasonable explanation for the timing.

            • Alan Charbonneau says:

              Marcy said that Liz learned at the feet of a master! That master also said “my daughter can take care of herself”. No kidding.

            • emptywheel says:

              I think that’s about right.

              THe change in lawyers DID make this time sensitive. This was a way to take a willing but nervous witness and get that testimony before more pressure could be brought to bear.

              • Rugger9 says:

                New attorneys mean new tactical policies and perhaps the fresh eyes view made it clear to counsel that continued stonewalling was a bad choice. There is also the announcement of Alex Holder providing 120 hours of documentary footage to the J6SC which might include our witness yesterday. Something else to consider in the dynamics is the ongoing propensity for blame buses emanating from Mar-a-Lago targeted at staff to insulate Individual-1. This policy might just have convinced Ms. Hutchinson that no one in that WH would ever really have her back if she risked trouble by staying the course. So, CH’s counsel after looking at recent history advised her to talk.

                Heck, even Jarvanka allowed themselves to be interviewed as part of their CYA campaign. Whether that testimony holds up depends on what Alex Holder’s film shows, and if we’re lucky Holder might have footage that corroborates CH.

            • Ravenclaw says:

              Yes. If we assume that Ms. Hutchinson was afraid for her safety – had at minimum been subjected to mafia-style messages (“we know you are loyal, not one of those foolish people who get themselves hurt” etc.), then getting all her testimony on the public record under oath provides some measure of protection. Not against random Brandon types but against anything planned. Before, her death could have been made to look like part of a robbery or rape unrelated to her former employment. Now, that would not work. I’m curious as to whether she changed lawyers first, then got the veiled threats, or changed lawyers because of the threats (from him?), but at the end of the day it doesn’t matter.

          • TPAkyle says:

            What if the “surprise” was really about piquing viewer interest to increase the audience?

            It would be interesting to compare viewer numbers from this hearing versus the previous. Biden’s State of the Union address got 38M viewers. First hearing got 20M. How did we do today?

            • timbo says:

              More likely it was that she’d agreed to testify publicly and this was the best date that her lawyer and the committee could come up with.

          • fm says:

            I view that as a good thing if this wasn’t in fact an emergency surprise hearing. That would mean that the committee would likely have back-up as to her testimony, like the “lunging” at the secret service in the SUV because they have also interviewed both Engel and Ornato under oath. Her testimony about Trump lunging is the thing Trumpers and the right wing are trying to smear, so they can claim the rest of her testimony is also false.

      • Eureka says:

        I guess I see this somewhat differently: her speaking publicly reduces danger to her (from inner Trumpworld) — cat’s out of the bag *and _everyone_ knows it*. I suppose danger to her increases if we consider so-called stochastic, general Trumper-types who will get exercised on social media by the usual propagandists.

        There is a bit of a see-saw effect (more/less danger; fewer/greater constraints on others who may be bad actors) somewhat akin to when someone tries to deal with a domestic violence relationship privately versus more publicly.

        Will agree that they also wanted to change the news cycle, but folks pinning that on Dems are once again doing Cheney and her efforts at re-situating the GOP too many favors. No one wants this SCOTUS wrecking-ball cycle off the airwaves more than “good” GOPers who seek more or continued power (except inasmuch as said news blurbs “paradoxically” target Dems).

      • Drew says:

        I haven’t re-watched this enough to feel certain, but I get the impression that the person whose position was most eroded by specifically today’s testimony was Mark Meadows. Her description of him disinterestedly scrolling on his phone while critically awful things were happening was striking–and damning.

        So. I’m wondering if something happened (in addition to her new lawyer) that caused her to turn on Meadows (I mean from minimizing his culpability to putting together the full extent of how badly he behaved-not necessarily lying or covering up before, or being out to get him now)

        There was mention in some of the chatter on twitter last night mentioned “credible security concerns” and today at the end, the committee focused, in a pretty ominous and hardcore way on witness tampering and intimidation. So, to speculate a bit–what if Meadows, in his nice Christian way, tried to lean on Hutchinson and she consulted her new lawyer, who contacted the committee–the committee decided to change the order of their presentation, both to keep her from further intimidation, but ALSO to deliver a message to SEVERAL witness tamperers that they were going to get seriously fucked up by Liz Cheney & co. and that they should be very afraid. Thus encouraging those who are wavering to get on the right side before it’s too late.

        • hollywood says:

          At one point she testified that Meadows gave her his phones. I know it’s common for busy folks to have more than one, but I am curious to know if one was a burner phone.

        • Belyn says:

          Yes, Meadows is the big loser. But re you second paragraph, seems to me her turn on Meadows could also be in some of the 12 hours of recorded testimony, which predates her changing of lawyers by a a couple of months (I recall her earlier testimony was in April). But don’t doubt her change in lawyer may have influenced her decision to testify publicly.

          • Drew says:

            Yeah, I wasn’t certain about that. It DOES seem unlikely that the committee would have this emergency hearing (including bringing back members from their districts where they had gone already and having a secure pre-hearing meeting in the SCIF) in which they included an account of witness tampering, unless this particular witness had called to their attention some sort of tampering/intimidation to their attention since their announcement of a hiatus in public hearings. Not necessarily Meadows, though Meadows’ embarrassment in all this seems somehow linked.

  15. Savage Librarian says:

    Another woman by the name of Hutchinson also had a special connection to an American president. Her name was Elizabeth. She was born in 1740 in Ireland and married a man named Jackson. They had a son, Andrew, who ironically was the president that Trump chose to honor by displaying images of him in the Oval Office.

    Elizabeth did not live to see her son become President. She left these wise words for her 14 year old son. It’s questionable whether Andrew actually followed her advice. And Donald Trump definitely never did:

    “…You can make friends by being honest and you can keep them by being steadfast. You must keep in mind that friends worth having will, in the long run, expect as much from you as they give to you.”

    “To forget an obligation or be ungrateful for a kindness is a base crime, not merely a fault or a sin, but an actual crime. Men guilty of it sooner or later must suffer the penalty. In personal conduct be always polite but never obsequious. None will respect you more than you respect yourself. Avoid quarrels as long as you can without yielding to imposition. But sustain your manhood always.”

    “Never bring a suit in law for assault and battery or for defamation. The law affords no remedy for such outrages that can satisfy the feelings of a true man. Never wound the feelings of others. Never brook wanton outrage upon your own feelings. If you ever have to vindicate your feelings or defend your honor, do it calmly. If angry at first, wait till your wrath cools before you proceed.”

    https://www.womenhistoryblog.com/2008/12/elizabeth-hutchinson-jackson.html

    • Peterr says:

      Gotta love it when the librarians hit the stacks. I’ll see your Elizabeth, and raise you Anne Hutchinson . . .

      Anne was a Puritan woman who took on the Boston clergy for trying to foist on the community a theology of works rather than a theology of grace. They basically ran her out of town after some ugly trials (civil and religious) and exiled her to Roger Williams’ new Rhode Island colony, but even that wasn’t enough. When rumors came that Massachusetts would annex Rhode Island, she moved further afield to stay out of the hands of the Establishment preachers.

      • Epicurus says:

        Ms. Hutchinson moved to Pelham NY in the Bronx after her husband’s death. The Hutchinson River and the Hutchinson Parkway are named after her.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        Anne Hutchinson served as inspiration for the character of Hester Prynne in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter–and for her daughter Pearl. The two of them provide one of the earliest examples of feminist role modeling in American fiction.

    • John Lehman says:

      From a very famous French historian who witnessed some of the horror

      “In the whole scene there was an air of ruin and destruction, something which betrayed a final and irrevocable adieu; one couldn’t watch without feeling one’s heart wrung. The Indians were tranquil but somber and taciturn. There was one who could speak English and of whom I asked why the Chactas were leaving their country. “To be free,” he answered, could never get any other reason out of him. We … watch the expulsion … of one of the most celebrated and ancient American peoples.”

      — Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

  16. Badger Robert says:

    Although some people went through the metal detectors, and weapons were discovered, many potential rioters never attended the speeches. Therefore there was no way of knowing what weapons were present, it the Secret Service was even aware that the non attendees were going directly to the capital. Since not everyone passed through the metal detectors, its apparent the crowd was armed per Ms. Wheeler.
    With respect to an argument in the President’s car, Michael Steele was mentioning what the video showed in talking to Ari Melber. Sure enough, the President’s car starts, than stops, then proceeds. Steele speculated that is when the heated discussion occurred.
    The witness could maintain that is what the SS agents said, even if they later deny it. She never said she witnessed it directly.
    Thanks to Ms. Wheeler for explaining Ms. Hutchinson’s change in representation.

  17. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The issue was a mob violently attacking the Vice President – in order to stop the vote count so that Trump could illegitimately stay in office.

    How do Meadows, et al., get away with a shrug of the shoulders and a resigned, “He thinks Mike deserves it.”

  18. eastbaydad says:

    Marcy views the magnetometer comment as “ambiguous.” She wrote: “He asked to ditch the magnetometers because “they weren’t there to hurt him.” This detail is most important because it reflect knowledge on Trump’s part they were armed, before he riled them up and sent them to the Capitol. But in a trial, he would excuse letting them into the rally itself by pointing to his long-standing crowd narcissism, exhibited most famously at his inauguration.”

    I don’t think the two points stand in opposition to each other. That is, of course Trump’s narcissism drove him to want to see a packed crowd and then to ask to ditch the magnetometers. But that fact does not detract at all from the fact that Trump’s comment reflects Trump’s knowledge that many in the crowd were armed. Rather, it’s his sickness that caused him to utter those words that revealed his knowledge. It’s a variant of the old expression: Whiskey don’t make liars; it just makes fools.

    [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please use the same username each time you comment so that community members get to know you. This is your second user name; you commented here last as “JBinCA.” Thanks. /~Rayne]

    • grennan says:

      I’m shocked that nobody around tfg was paying attention to District of Columbia weapons laws and march permit requirements. /s

    • hollywood says:

      Trump’s lack of concern about the crowd and their weapons gives lie to his claims that the violent people in the crowd were Antifa.

    • emptywheel says:

      I agree. Both are true, which is how Hutchinson described it. Just noting–particularly since I think that was the most important part of her testimony–how Trump would explain it away.

  19. klynn says:

    Marcy,
    Any chance the recent phone seizures might have been related to Cheney’s closing comments about threats?

    • Savage Librarian says:

      Ginni Thomas has suddenly changed her tune about speaking to the J6 committee, too. Looks like some rotten apples are starting to fall from the tree Cassidy Hutchinson shook. I wonder if Eastman, Ginni, and Meadows are talking to each other today. I’m remembering also how Ginni tried to intimidate Anita Hill.

      • Peterr says:

        Ginni Thomas has not changed her tune. She’s merely pushing back in a very lawyer-driven manner, not refusing to appear but trying to force the committee to show its hand, defend its reason for being (what is the legislative purpose that my testimony would serve?) while stonewalling and trying to wait them out.

        • P J Evans says:

          She should remember that they don’t have to do legislation to have a purpose. (But if she insists on having a legislative purpose, she should be told “preventing people like you from promoting more seditious conspiracies”.)

  20. cmarlowe says:

    As to the alleged struggle in the SUV, Marcy mentioned that, “The Secret Service is now pushing back on this.” Keep in mind that according to Carol Leonnig, author of “Zero Fail, The Rise and Fall of the Secret Service,” agent Oranto is a MAGA nut, and he wasn’t the only one in the Trump SS detail. Also Pence’s SS detail did not trust him on 1/6.

    [Howdy – please do us a favor and double check your name and email address before clicking on Post Comment. You’ve had a few typos which triggers auto-moderation holding up your comments and forcing moderator intervention. Thanks. /~Rayne]

    • Yohei72 says:

      And ex WH staffer Alyssa Farah told Jake Tapper on the record that Ornato has publicly lied about and tried to walk back things he said in front of multiple witnesses, after she testified to them under oath. His word is in no way reliable.

  21. Ddub says:

    Beastmaster Mastered When it Mattered!
    It still boggles that TFG was boxed in by protocol. Being told he couldn’t do something is like candy to this lunatic. Yet in all the ridiculous and dangerous planning leading up to the 6th he never made sure that he had a ride. It’s poetic? No it’s just stupid and unmoored to reality like all the other inanity.

    • Bobster33 says:

      This surprised me too. I was wondering like Bill Maher, who exactly is going to say “No” to Trump. I was imagining Trump not packing up or leaving the White House and some staff having to tell the president “No.” I did not expect the Secret Service to ever refuse Trump.

      • Ken Muldrew says:

        Perhaps they were warned ahead of time that the request might be made and should be refused (or risk being charged with “every crime imaginable”).

      • Epicurus says:

        Trump just threw a tantrum but then backed off. He could have pressed the issue especially since these SS dudes were apparently real yes-men MAGA types. Trump is physically a coward, much like the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz. “Put ’em up! Put ’em up!” He responded the same way here. “Give me the wheel! Give me the wheel!” He was no more taking the wheel than the Cowardly Lion was going to fight. Seen people like that my whole life.

        • timbo says:

          It’s not clear what happened in the motorcade precisely. Yesterday’s testimony though give ample reason to find out from first hand witness what exactly was happening throughout the day, weeks, and months surrounding January 6th insurrection from direct witnesses to events under oath.

      • Drew says:

        Trump has no understanding of protocols and standing orders etc. The Secret Service has the job of protecting the president from physical harm. They can’t drop him from a helicopter into an erupting volcano, for instance, just because he orders it-they would suffer far worse sanctions than any the President could order against him. So they had reports that all their routes to the Capitol were unsafe and filled with violent people using weapons, etc. Unlike the event where Trump crossed Lafayette Park to show an upside down Bible in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church, they had no way of clearing away the crowd and using overwhelming force to keep it at bay. So they said, “No. We’ve got to do our job and take you back to the best safe venue we have for you.”

        Presidents visit war zones, but only to carefully pacified & secure parts of them. The military or Secret Service don’t improvise on that. Trump was simply ignorant of that, as he is of most things having to do with running a country, or even an organization.

  22. Bruce Olsen says:

    For me, this confirms why DoJ decided not to charge Meadows for Contempt of Congress; they expected to charge him for his part in the J6 festivities.

    I can’t wait to learn who he was talking to when he shut the car door on Hutchinson. I don’t think it was Uber Eats.

    • timbo says:

      There’s currently zero evidence that that’s the case in the public domain. More likely this is the J6 Committee sending a message to DOJ that they need to start making public progress on contempt of Congress referrals and indict Meadows for that contempt, etc.

  23. hollywood says:

    I concede that hearsay can make for very compelling testimony, still the woman is not who you would want testifying against you–even if there were objections to her testimony.
    I have to believe there are Trump team investigators doing a deep dive on her, trying to come up with any and all possible dirt. If they find any, I suspect it will rely on massive hearsay.

    • timbo says:

      It will be pointless if these insurrectionist clowns are indicted finally. Hopefully that’ll happen sooner now that much of Hutchinson’s testimony is now public.

    • timbo says:

      The communications logs for Twitler on January 6, 2021 already have a huge and as yet unexplained gap between 11AM and into the evening. If this was fixed to coverup crimin’ then it would be silly for these bozos to have missed other stuff like recorded convos in the motorcade, etc. Personally, I think it unlikely that Twitler would knowingly record anything like what is alleged here…although that does not mean that others did not actively, possibly secretly, record some of these conversations, etc.

  24. Doctor My Eyes says:

    “Pushback from the secret service” seems obviously based on a lie. The Committee has Engels’ testimony in the can. They would never have had Hutchinson testify if they didn’t have corroboration from Engels. I’m so sure of this because I’m sure that the J6 Committee has their shit together like no other Congressional beast I have ever witnessed. Also, I think in my entire life I’ve never seem so much uninterrupted truth-telling in the political arena. It’s all pretty astounding. Most astounding of all to me is to see a Lt. Gen. and former National Security Adviser take the fifth when asked if he supported the peaceful transfer of power in the USA. Astonishing.

    I think, strictly speaking, it is technically false to call Trump’s behavior as arising from a conspiracy. Trump doesn’t do conspiracies, he does bullying. And his (not premeditated) impulse was to bully his driver and the passenger to take him to the Capitol where he needed to go so that he could bully whoever was stopping him from being president. The mob, of course, was his muscle. There’s a reason they call it “mobster”. It all comes down to the bullying with Trump. And it worked until a procedure that is immune to presidential bullying prevented Trump from having his way, theoretically for his own safety.

    • timbo says:

      Meh. He’s pretty much part of a conspiracy to obstruct and guilty of conspiracy of insurrection. Whether he’ll ever be charged and face any further severe consequences for those conspiracies still remains to be seen. I’m hoping there will be prison soon for him and many of his most loyal followers…but who knows at this point, given that the bozo was elected President of the United States in the first place.

  25. Eureka says:

    Interesting choice, Trumpist trolls (in typical coordinated & copycat fashion, to include that former Acting DNI) are likening Hutchinson to Jussie Smollett, particularly in discussions of the Trump-USSS incidents. I have to wonder if their grasp reached only that far because of his appearance at the BET awards a couple days ago — you know, otherwise senseless splicing onto another trend they’d just had going. [Some are mixing in Amber Heard and Christine Blasey Ford, I think with the goal of splitting this off into a proper misogynistic line.]

    Regardless, as many have observed this whole “sources close to” USSS dispute is distracting from all of the other crucial points of today’s testimony.

    • Estragon says:

      It may have already been said but I’m seeing a lot of “amber heard 2.0” out there

      EDIT: it’s right there in your comment. “Mens rights” angle I guess?

      • Eureka says:

        I think they’re often dumber and more reflexive than we give them credit* for, but sure. They’re also instrumental so whatever gains traction. Also could be recency, like w/Smollett (like how many of these MAGAs know who e.g. Adria Richards is?).


        (*Hence why I didn’t get into how esp. Smollett’s demographic features represent everything they hate, so that’s a way for them to call Hutchinson less than human, a race-traitor etc., besides a “liar”, but it’s subliminally there, at least, under the conditioned disgust.)

        • Eureka says:

          Most of them are just ritually-enacting hate-centered community until someone with graver boundary issues takes it live, while enjoying the ever-present threat of same to their targets.

          But this is also why the J6C’s very public emphasis on Trumpworld threats to Hutchinson, in step with her live testimony, might help get her better security — through greater public concern. We typically have _not_ seen such calls to care for their targets (look at all EW has written re Stone/Tarrio/ABJ, or that Flynn fan and Sullivan) while the MAGA-attacks keep escalating. After all, Trump “reads the transcripts” as went the threats and if Hutchinson’s testimony to these facts stayed on paper she would not be seeing quite this groundswell of support. She is humanized and real to the functioning members of our society (and maybe to some lesser-functioning members as well: recall CBF was internet-demonized before she spoke a public word. The simultaneity here works in favor of a better outcome for CH).

        • Doctor My Eyes says:

          Good stuff there, Eureka. I think you’ve found it (so to speak).

          I think a lot these days about the essentially reactionary nature of the world-wide fascist push. The SCOTUS wanting to force everyone back to an imaginary world whose only clear trait is that it’s not the one we have created for ourselves. Russians wanting to have everything the west (and increasingly the Ukrainians) have without doing the work to create it–they essentially want to devour the west while enjoying its pleasures. Like gangsters everywhere, the Russians are parasites who need a healthy host to survive. Reacting against acknowledgement of climate chaos, against women having dignity, against mask mandates, against anything that creates common cause among people. Because it is all completely reactionary, it is completely hopeless, without self-defined goals or, really, any vision whatsoever. So now they react against this testimony without interest in learning anything or changing their knee-jerk reactionary reality creation: “our passionately held belief is the opposite of whatever the liberals are saying.”

          • timbo says:

            “The Russians” are not parasites. They’re human beings, just like you and me. Unless you are arguing that we are all parasites?

            • Rayne says:

              Doctor My Eyes’ wording was inapt. I’m sure he was referring to the Russian kleptocracy which, helmed by Putin, really governs Russia and looks for more opportunity to expand its criminal enterprise.

    • Rayne says:

      Have to wonder if there was enough advance indication Hutchinson was going to go the way of John Dean, hence the amplification of attacks on Amber Heard and MeToo movement as a whole in order to prime the MRA/incel/misogynist troll horde.

      Did Passantino’s termination as Hutchinson’s attorney give the Trump machine including his sponsors a head’s up? We may never know.

      • timbo says:

        I’m thinking it almost assuredly did give them a heads up. And it would be interesting from a DOJ investigation point of view to see if there was an uptick in threats to her after she changed attorneys.

      • Drew says:

        I don’t know about pre-attacks on Amber Heard, etc as a result of a heads up, but I do think it very likely that the right wing spaces were beginning to know what Hutchinson was going to say, at least in general terms. It seems likely that she was getting pressure from those quarters that led to the emergency basis of the hearing.

        • Rayne says:

          There were no pre-attacks on Heard; I’m speculating the massive swell of attacks on Heard and MeToo were prep for attacks on Hutchinson.

          • Drew says:

            Yeah, that’s actually what I’m skeptical about–I think the swell of misogynistic attacks is easily enough understood as the right wingers general counter attack on women, under the generalship of their heroes Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito. No need for pre-knowledge of Hutchinson’s testimony for that dynamic to develop.

            • Rayne says:

              Why bother with a swarm ahead of Dobbs overturning Roe when the right-wing was literally going to fuck over every American woman? Totally unnecessary because they’d already told all women they were going to fuck them with the leaked draft.

              • Drew says:

                Knowing Roe was being overturned etc. just excited all the misogynists & let them know they had permission to be out there aggressively.
                I note that there’s a lot of energy on the right pursuing trigger laws and bunches of these things. So going after Amber Heard was the anticipatory triumph celebration of fascism. It only relates to Cassidy Hutchinson in that she’s another woman and it only relates to January 6 by being another part of fascism.

                Of course those relationships are there, but no kind of purposeful leak.

                Rather than having there answers ready to go, it appeared to me that there were a few hours where they were scrambling to figure out how to do it.

                • Ginevra diBenci says:

                  This has been building for years. The note I keep over my desk, where I research and write, says “It’s the misogyny, stupid.” Underneath all of it–and subliminal only because the mainstream ignored it for far too long–we have become an incel culture, nurturing a hatred of women and girls that has surged past vitriol into naked, unpunished violence.

                  My purview is the ways the commercial media justify it. Because if I didn’t give myself a focus, I would give up in despair. At least now lots of other people see it. That’s something.

  26. fgw says:

    I have not seen anyone address the question of why the Secret Service did not drive Trump to the Capitol if he gave that order. Seems an obvious question, so maybe I missed the explanation. Someone mentioned protocol, but what constrained them? Was there a chain of command, with the foreknowledge that implies, that explicitly ensured that Trump not be taken to the Capitol? Or that he be taken directly back to the White House. Seems to me this incident suggests significant awareness of criminal intent within the White House that may be accessible to prosecutors (paper trail).

    • Tarkeel says:

      The Secret Service has very clear procedures for handling travel; most official (ie: announced) travel will have advance teams months scouting the area months ahead. According to yesterday’s hearing there was talk about an OTR (off-the-record; ie non-announced) trip. This was soemthing that Trump (and advisors?) pushed for several times, but USSS resisted most likely because they couldn’t protect him. I think is also their authority to disobey a direct order; their prime directive is to keep the President away from harm.

      Dirk Schwenk had a good twitter thread on what could have happened if Trump actually got to the capitol: In short, police present would have to shift to protect Trump, most likely losing the line. It would also have galvanized his supporters, who seems to have lost heart after the death of Babbitt, when they started to figure out this had real consequences.

      • Peterr says:

        In the general coverage, the commentator (I don’t recall who) noted that the USSS has lots of intelligence funneled to them prior to a scheduled presidential trip, but for an OTR all they have is their own eyes on the ground. Given the number of angry folks strolling around on the Mall and the on-the-ground reports of weapons being taken at the magnetometers and others with weapons who did not want to go through them, it is plainly obvious why they would consider at OTR up to the Capitol on Jan 6 as bringing the president into an unsecure area and bring all kinds of folks into danger.

      • Ravenclaw says:

        Like the Three Laws of Robotics. #1 (“an agent shall not allow the president to come to harm”) supersedes #2 (“an agent shall obey the president, except when the order would violate law #1”). With self-preservation at #3, superseded by both #1 and #2.

        • fgw says:

          Was thinking of that analogy myself, but not sure I buy it. He is the President of the United States. If he wants to go, I don’t see how they can refuse. I would assume, but have no idea, that the protocol would be similar to use of the nuclear briefcase. In any case, this is being investigated, I see, and the committee isn’t stupid: https://www.politico.com/news/2022/06/08/trump-raised-jan-6-capitol-appearance-secret-service-agent-select-panel-00038217. Wonder if the testimony will now withstand scrutiny. Don’t know what “privately” really means in this context, except to keep discussion of a trip to the capitol off the books.

          • Rayne says:

            There were more than one nuclear football that day, with VP being followed by the failover twin suitcase IIRC. VP wasn’t forced into Secret Service’s vehicle likely because his detail felt he could be secured where he was.

            But Trump wouldn’t have been secured within an armed mob of thousands. I have to wonder if anybody in Secret Service had an inkling there were other threats inside that crowd, domestic or foreign, though so far we have heard nothing about threats during the run-up to and during the insurrection from antifa/counterprotesters let alone lone wolves and foreign hostiles.

    • Belyn says:

      Perhaps they thought his life was in danger. They may have known a lot less then than we know now.

      • timbo says:

        As mentioned above, they are also responsible for protecting the nuclear weapon launch mechanism(s) that are close by any US President at all times. Thus, their mission is not only to protect the US President but to also prevent the US President from being compelled to issue illegal and improper orders to deploy US weapon systems, either conventional or nuclear, etc. Further, in the event a US President goes off the deepend—as seems to have happened in January 2021—the USSS is responsible to the Constitution first, not the President.

  27. Traveller says:

    I have the same questions as fgw just above this post. What is the protocol that demands that Mr Trump be taken back to the White House rather than the Capitol? In truth this doesn’t make sense to me…I hate to find myself agreeing with Mr Trump, but he is or was correct, He is the President and I remain a little astonished that the SS had more power over the President’s movements than the an actual sitting president?

    Why is this so very, very important? Simply put, had Mr Trump made it to the Capitol as he wished, I believe, as surly did he, that the coup would then have been successful. What a great break for history if such a protocol actually in fact prevented Mr Trump from arriving on the Capitol steps to lead this teaming Mob of flesh forward into the building and ultimately to a call by Mr Trump to the Military to restore order.

    We certainly dodged a bullet:

    “For the want of a nail the shoe was lost,
    For the want of a shoe the horse was lost,
    For the want of a horse the rider was lost,
    For the want of a rider the battle was lost,
    For the want of a battle the kingdom was lost,
    And all for the want of a horseshoe-nail.”
    ― Benjamin Franklin
    I suppose, for us, Thank God the nail was missing…Best Wishes, Traveller

    • Ddub says:

      It is explained well in the Hearing. Basically in an OTR – off the record – ride the USSS has the call, end of story. And it appears they may been legally advised as well.

    • timbo says:

      The US President’s orders do not supercede those who have sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States. Many enemies of the US, both foreign and domestic, certainly would prefer that that was not true though.

      • Rayne says:

        Therein is the problem with Ornato working as Assistant Director of the Office of Training for USSS: at no time should he be in a position to instruct any USSS personnel that they are to obey POTUS over their oath to protect and defend the Constitution.

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          While simultaneously working for the Trump campaign, a position directly conflicting with that oath in certain of these instances when his MAGA loyalty came into play.

          • timbo says:

            This is actually an area that the Congress can take a look at clarifying legislatively, hence an even stronger case to compel Ornato to testify before the J6 Committee…

            • Rayne says:

              Ornato already testified before the J6 (which I’ve noted previously). Hutchinson may have been called precisely because he did already testify and what he said to the J6 may have been at odds with Engel, other testimony and evidence.

              Ornato may not be given a second chance but instead a criminal referral to DOJ if he made what appears to be false statements under oath before the J6. If Ornato was smart he’d have his lawyer asking for a second chance but we’re talking about someone who’s stupid enough to work for Trump and had has a track record of lying.

  28. Bugboy says:

    I swear, these people are so predictable. EAIAC territory. Recall the effort into downplaying the presence of weapons? “Oh, no, there were NO weapons. Therefore, it wasn’t an “armed” insurrection! Even the FBI said they found no weapons!” (Narrator: that’s not FBI’s jurisdiction…)

  29. Kyle S says:

    Just imagine if Trump had made it to the Capitol with his followers. He could’ve ordered the Capitol Police to stand down, or if they answered to a different chain of command, his presence there would’ve whipped his followers into a focused frenzy and the CP lines would’ve broken much faster. There wouldn’t have been time to evacuate members of Congress. I believe now that the original plan was for Congress to certify a different slate of electors at the tip of a spear, with Trump right there in the room for a photo op commemorating the coronation. Chilling to imagine.

    • timbo says:

      The Capitol police do not report to US Presidents in any chain of command that I’ve ever heard of, nor do they take their oaths to the US Constitution as lightly. The Capitol police are under the command of the Congress, and specifically, in emergencies, to the Speaker of the House and/or their duly appointed representatives. Effectively though, there is a committee that the police report to and generally take orders from. I believe this Capitol Police Board is made up of representatives from the US House and Senate, namely the Sargent of Arms from both houses of Congress and appointees by the Speaker and Senate leader (not the VP afaik).

  30. bg says:

    Those long Meadows phone calls. I think there is more to this and perhaps related to the timely phone seizures last week. Eastman and Clark are likely co-horts who could have spent time on the phone with a fellow traveler that day. Certainly Hutchinson was threatened. I suppose they thought a 20-something would buckle. I think that was clear from LC’s closing.

  31. Makeitso says:

    Is it still the prevailing wisdom here Trump cannot be charged due to lack of evidence? What more do you feel is needed?

  32. sls642 says:

    Can’t stop thinking about those gallows, hangman’s noose and the “hang Mike Pence” lunatics. Now we have Trump knowing that this primal mob was armed and ready to do anything to make him their permanent king/monarch/dictator.

    Who built the gallows and when? How did they get on the steps of the Capitol? There was another noose reported J6 on a tree near the Capitol. Are the two connected? Also, Grassley’s comment about presiding as Senate Pro Tem on Jan 6 and not expecting Pence to be present for the count. He attempted to walk that comment back but did a pretty unconvincing job of it.

    I don’t think Trump cared whether the mob killed Pence. If anything, that would have had a better chance of working since he could have declared some kind of national emergency and stopped the count with Grassley . becoming the guy to come through for him as Senate Pro Tem.

    And who was going to stop this? The SCOTUS? Wouldn’t bet the ranch on that. The Joint Chiefs? Remember, Trump packed the top levels of the DoD with his flunkies for a reason. The National Guard? Still waiting for an explanation for that one too. I assume people running the Jan6 Comm either already have answers to these questions or will get them.

    Don’t see how DoJ takes a pass on prosecuting Trump. Could be wrong but I don’t think so. They likely already have more than enough documents and witnesses to file. Won’t happen until the public hearings conclude and his entourage is charged. Then Trump will be the last to hear from the DoJ. Politically, they have no choice. Letting a sitting President plot the violent overthrow of the country without serious criminal consequences is simply not an option.

    The main problem the DoJ is facing is time. Hopefully, when the DoJ files this case, it is assigned to a respected, experienced judge who is a stickler for time frames and moving cases.

    • timbo says:

      Based on the revelations of the hearing this week, I’d say that DOJ may be far behind the curve when it comes to getting testimony that might cause Twitler to be indicted for insurrection and/obstruction. Imagine how hard it would be to keep testimony such as Hutchinson’s public hearing testimony this week under wraps for months or over a year? It would be next to impossible IMO. So, believing as I do on that one point, I have to conclude that this testimony may never have been given to the DOJ at all, as it was never specifically asked for by any federal prosecutors or FBI during a grand jury or simple interview, etc. I mean, it would be astounding if such testimony had already been gathered by DOJ many months ago and the information not forwarded to the Congress as well…as such testimony indicates that there may still be an ongoing active conspiracy by the former President et al to subvert the Constitution itself still.

  33. Frank says:

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