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.