The Stupid Coup
The Jan 6 Committee announced a previously unscheduled meeting for today (10AM Pacific), with a mystery surprise witness that immediately leaked (surprise!): Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
Per Tiger Beat on the Potomac (thanks Charlie!) morning email thingie we learn:
The star witness is expected to be CASSIDY HUTCHINSON, a former special assistant to the president who worked as an aide to ex-chief of staff MARK MEADOWS who has testified three times behind closed doors, in February, March and May.
Hutchinson knows a lot. Before, on, and after Jan. 6, she had close proximity to both Meadows and then-President DONALD TRUMP.
“Almost all, if not all, meetings Mr. Trump had, I had insight on,” she told the committee in March.
She has been the source of a series of extraordinary revelations:
- Burning documents: Hutchinson “told the panel investigating the Capitol attack that she saw Meadows incinerate documents after a meeting in his office with Rep. SCOTT PERRY (R-Pa.),” who was working closely with the White House to invalidate the results of the 2020 election, POLITICO’s Betsy Woodruff Swan and Kyle Cheney reported in May.
- Violence: Hutchinson testified that she remembered a Secret Service agent “coming in and saying that we had intel reports saying that there could potentially be violence on the 6th.” The agent and Meadows huddled privately for five minutes to discuss the threats, she said.
- Illegal plan: Hutchinson told the committee that the White House Counsel’s office, during a meeting with Meadows and RUDY GIULIANI and others, advised that the scheme to have alternate electors meet and cast votes for Trump was not legal.
- Early start: She testified that “Mr. Giuliani, several of Mr. Giuliani’s associates, Mr. Meadows, Members of Congress,” were discussing a fake electors plan during Thanksgiving 2020.
- GOP House members as co-conspirators: Hutchinson has given detailed testimony about a number of House Republicans who were involved with pressuring former VP MIKE PENCE to reject electors during the joint session of Congress and encouraging protesters to march on the Capitol Jan. 6.
- Pardons: She is the key source for the revelation that six House Republicans sought pardons from Trump for their roles in the events of Jan. 6.
- “Hang Mike Pence!”: She reportedly confirmed that Trump told Meadows on Jan. 6 that Trump agreed with the infamous chant of rioters who wanted to kill the vice president.
- Martial law: In an extraordinary excerpt of her testimony that has been released, Hutchinson said that conversations about seizing voting machines, appointing SIDNEY POWELL as a special counsel and “invoking martial law” were stopped because “it became clear that there would be mass resignations, including lawyers in the White House Counsel’s Office.”
All of this has become known in recent months from information revealed in litigation, leaks to reporters, and video snippets of Hutchinson’s testimony played during two of the committee’s public hearings. Hutchinson was always going to be a crucial witness, and seemed likely to go public in one of the committee’s July hearings.
We do not know why this became an emergency to get her testimony out early. Last week the Committee presented videotaped testimony from Hutchinson that discussed blanket pardons for members of Congress who tried to overthrow the election.
Our Pals at Electoral-Vote have some speculation that seems well-founded:
Hutchinson already spoke to the Committee behind closed doors, and on multiple occasions. However, she was apparently unwilling to answer certain questions and she was unwilling to testify publicly. Then she fired her lawyer, Stefan Passantino, who is deeply connected to TrumpWorld, and replaced him Jody Hunt. Hunt worked in the Trump-era Justice Department, but now answers to his bosses at the prominent law firm of Alston & Bird. And the partners there aren’t going to tolerate conflicts of interest.
In short, it sure looks like Hutchinson was getting advice to resist the committee to protect Trump, and now she’s getting advice to protect herself and to leave Trump to his own devices. If that is true, then the pressure from TrumpWorld will be intense, and one can imagine that the Committee might be worried about Hutchinson getting cold feet if they wait too long. Some are suggesting that Hutchinson could be the John Dean of the 1/6 Committee hearings. We’ll soon see. The late change in plans means it’s not clear who will broadcast the hearing, but it will certainly be streamed on the Committee’s YouTube feed. The party begins at 10:00 a.m. [PT], as usual.
One other possibility: maybe there’s more than one witness? We’ll see.