U.S. President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence during the Republican National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S., on Monday, Aug. 24, 2020. (Chris Carlson/AP Photo/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified Tuesday that on Jan. 6, she heard her boss, Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, tell the White House’s top lawyer that President Donald Trump thought Vice President Mike Pence deserved the “Hang Mike Pence!” chants coming from Trump supporters during the Capitol riot.Hutchinson, who served as a top aide to Meadows, described Meadows as being in something of a fugue state — sitting on a couch in his office, scrolling on his phone, and not paying attention to the television — as rioters were approaching the Capitol. Hutchinson told Meadows to call Rep. Jim Jordan, a close friend and Trump ally in Congress who was helping lead the effort to overturn the election results.
“I remember thinking in that moment, Mark needs to snap out of this,” Hutchinson testified. “I don’t know how, but he needs to care.”Pat Cipollone, at the time the White House Counsel, stormed into Meadows’ office and said they needed to go see Trump. Hutchinson testified to the House committee investigating Jan. 6 that Meadows responded: “He doesn’t want to do anything.”“Mark, something needs to be done, or people are going to die and the blood is going to be on your effing hands,” Cipollone said, according to Hutchinson’s testimony.Later, Hutchinson said she heard Meadows and Cipollone in the Oval Office dining room discussing the “Hang Mike Pence” chant. “Mark, we need to do something more, they’re literally calling for the vice president to be effing hung,” Hutchinson said she heard Cipollone say.But Meadows was apparently unmoved. “You heard him, Pat,” Hutchinson recalled Meadows saying about Trump. “He thinks Mike deserves it. He doesn’t think they’re doing anything wrong.” Hutchinson testified that she believed “they” meant the Capitol rioters.In an interview last year with ABC News’ Jonathan Karl, Trump defended the rioters as being “very angry” with Pence. “They said, ‘Hang Mike Pence,’” Karl reminded Trump.“It’s common sense, Jon. It’s common sense that you’re supposed to protect,” Trump responded. “If you know a vote is fraudulent… how can you pass on a fraudulent vote to Congress?”
During the Capitol riot, Trump tweeted that Pence didn’t have the “courage” to help him overturn the results of a free and fair election. “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!” Trump said, in a tweet that was later deleted.
Asked what she thought about the tweet when she saw it, Hutchinson said she was “disgusted.” “It was unpatriotic. It was un-American.”Want the best of VICE News straight to your inbox? Sign up here.