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Told of armed rallygoers on Jan. 6, Trump called for relaxed security

“I don’t effing care that they have weapons,” Trump had said on Jan. 6, according to new bombshell testimony.

WASHINGTON (CN) — President Trump was repeatedly warned about armed rallygoers on Jan. 6, and he responded by calling for the Secret Service to reduce security so he could have a larger audience for his speech that preceded the violent attack on the Capitol, lawmakers revealed Tuesday in a hurried meeting of the House select committee investigating the insurrection.

Cassidy Hutchinson, who was the top aide to Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows, testified this afternoon that, during Trump's Jan. 6 rally at the Ellipse that devolved into a war zone, Trump was angry attendance was not at capacity. After being warned that Secret Service was denying entry to people who tried to pass through magnetometers armed with guns, bear spray, knives and brass knuckles, Trump delivered new instructions to those working the checkpoints.

“I don’t effing care that they have weapons. They are not here to hurt me. Take the effing mags away. Let my people in. They can march to the Capitol from here," Trump said, according to Hutchinson.

Trump said the rioters did not pose a threat to him, Hutchinson continued, but was acutely aware of the intent behind their chants to “Hang Mike Pence.” As established in previous testimony, Trump had been pressuring his vice president for weeks after the election to unilaterally overturn the Electoral College results that established Democrat Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 election.

"[Trump] thinks Mike deserves it; he doesn’t think they are doing anything wrong,” Hutchinson said she was told by her boss, Meadows.

Hutchinson's testimony painted a picture of both an indignant president, unwilling to quell the violence, and a quiet and reserved chief of staff on Jan. 6, as Trump supporters laid siege to the Capitol.

“He almost had a lack of reaction,” Hutchinson said of Meadows.

She said Secret Service official Anthony Oranato, who had a second role as a White House adviser, warned ahead of time that the Jan. 6 rally could turn violent, and that he told Meadows on Jan. 6 that rallygoers were armed with knives, guns and spears affixed to flagpoles.

When White House counsel Pat Cipollone told Meadows that rioters had breached the Capitol building, Hutchinson quoted her boss's reply to the attorney: “He doesn’t want to do anything, Pat,” Meadows allegedly said of the president.

She said Cippolone's reply was, “Mark, something needs to be done or blood is going to be on your effing hands."

Trump had expected to be part of the crowd laying siege on the Capitol, Hutchinson said, saying Rudy Giuliani told her on Jan. 2, 2021, that Trump would be there.

“He looked to me and said something to the effect of, ‘Cass, are you excited? The sixth is going to be a great day,'" she said, quoting the president's president attorney.

When she told Meadows about her conversation with Giuliani, her boss allegedly told her: "Things might get real, real bad on Jan. 6."

It was, Hutchinson continued, “the first moment I remember feeling scared.”

Cipollone meanwhile warned Hutchinson to make sure that Trump did not go to the Capitol on Jan. 6, she said, adding that the White House counsel expressed fear about criminal charges.

"Please make sure we don't go up to the Capitol, Cassidy. We're going to get charged with every crime imaginable,” she said Cipollone told her.

According to Hutchinson’s testimony, Cipollone was worried about administration officials being charged with incitement of an insurrection and undermining the Electoral Count Act.

Hutchinson said Meadows and Giuliani both sought presidential pardons in the aftermath of Jan. 6.

At one point, Hutchinson said there was a conversation about Trump holding a speech at the Capitol and even going into the House chamber. 


Hutchinson recalled that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy called her as well and said Trump should not come to the Capitol building.

Trump did not end up going to the Capitol on Jan. 6, but Hutchinson said she heard of a physical altercation between the then-president and his security staff when he found out he was not being driven to the Capitol riot.

"I'm the effing president, take me up to the Capitol now,” Trump reportedly yelled at his security detail in the presidential limo.

When he was told he was not being taken to the Capitol, he lunged for the steering wheel and then grabbed at the throat of Secret Service agent Bobby Engel.

Once Congress finally certified Biden's victory, a ceremony that had to be adjourned on Jan. 6, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Mark Meadows, according to Hutchinson's testimony, that members of Trump’s cabinet were talking about invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.

"After the attack on the U.S. Capitol, this was being discussed by members of president Trump's cabinet as a way of stripping the full power of the presidency from Donald Trump,” Representative Liz Cheney, one of two Republicans on the committee, said. 

Near the end of the hearing, Cheney dropped a bombshell as she offered up examples of potential witness tampering by Trump administration officials.

She displayed messages from one individual deposed by the committee who testified about having received a message ahead of time from the Trump team.

"What they said to me is, as long as I continue to be a team player, they know that I'm on the team. I'm doing the right thing, I'm protecting who I need to protect, you know, I'll continue to stay in the good graces in Trump world," the witness recalled.

Tuesday's hearing was a surprise presentation that the committee convened with less than 24 hours’ notice. The committee had initially planned not to hold another hearing until after the long holiday weekend for the Fourth of July, as many members of Congress are already out of town.

Relying heavily on Hutchinson's testimony, committee members emphasized that the witness, during her work in the West Wing, spoke daily with a wide range of Trump administration officials, senior White House staff and members of the White House counsel’s office, as well as members of Congress.

Before Tuesday’s hearing, Hutchinson sat for four recorded interviews with the committee.

Previous hearings included video in which Hutchinson testified that six of the Republican lawmakers who perpetuated Trump’s election lies asked for presidential pardons after the Jan. 6 insurrection. 

She told the committee that Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene, Louie Gohmert, Mo Brooks, Matt Gaetz, Scott Perry and Andy Biggs all sought executive protection after the riot.

Hutchinson also watched Meadows burn documents after a meeting with Perry, who was a strong advocate of Trump’s attempts to subvert the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Hutchinson also told the committee that the White House counsel’s office warned Trump, Meadows and Giuliani against the then-president’s warped legal strategy to contest the election results and halt the certification of the Electoral College.

Hutchinson recently obtained a new legal counsel, ditching a former Trump official for attorney Jody Hunt who served as chief of staff to former Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Hunt made headlines during the Trump presidency for her cooperation with special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the Trump campaign’s relationship with Russia.

The committee has announced at least two additional hearings focused on the far-right extremists who attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6 as well as Trump’s hourslong silence during the deadly rampage.

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