Then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows speaks with reporters at the White House, Oct. 21, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo / Alex Brandon, File)
A former top aide to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows testified under oath that she saw her old boss burning documents around once or twice a week in the weeks leading up to the Capitol riot.During a closed-door interview with the House committee investigating Jan. 6 in May, Cassidy Hutchinson said that she had seen Meadows throw documents into his office’s fireplace “maybe a dozen, maybe just over a dozen” times between December 2020 and January 2021, according to a new round of transcripts released Tuesday.
A personal aide to former President Donald Trump also testified he saw Trump destroy documents, according to other transcripts released by the Jan. 6 committee, which further adds to speculation about what those documents entailed and why White House officials were so eager to get rid of them. Federal law requires that presidential administrations maintain original copies of records the president makes or receives and turn them over to the National Archives; Trump is currently under investigation for taking documents with him when he moved back to Mar-A-Lago, some of which were marked top-secret or classified. Hutchinson, who’d previously testified publicly before the committee in an explosive hearing in late June, said she didn’t know what the documents were or if what Meadows did was illegal. Politico previously reported that Hutchinson told the committee that Meadows had burned papers after a meeting with Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, who helped lead the effort in Congress to overturn the election results.
But the recently released transcript of Hutchinson’s testimony shows that she told the committee that Meadows burned papers after meetings with Perry on multiple occasions, possibly as many as four times. Hutchinson said that Perry met with Meadows about “election issues,” specifically: “The Vice President’s role on Jan. 6.” “| remember one time … [Meadows’] door was propped open. He put a few things in the fireplace. And there were a few people in the office with him,” Hutchinson testified. “Mr. Perry was in the office with him, but I don't remember who else was. Mr. Perry brought a few other people to meet with him.”Hutchinson also testified that in late November or early December 2020, Meadows held a meeting with Oval Office staffers and stressed the importance of not letting information from meetings leak. “Let's keep some meetings close hold,” Hutchinson recalled Meadows saying. “We will talk about what that means, but for now, we will keep things real tight and private so things don't start to leak out.”Hutchinson also said during June 20 testimony that Trump aide Peter Navarro told her that QAnon adherents “point out a lot of good ideas” and suggested to her that Meadows read up on it. In both the May 17 and June 20 testimonies, Hutchinson mentioned that Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene brought up QAnon, including when Trump was in Georgia for a rally on Jan. 4, 2020. “Ms. Greene came up and began talking to us about QAnon and QAnon going to the rally, and she had a lot of constituents that are QAnon, and they’ll all be there,” Hutchinson told investigators. “And she was showing him pictures of them traveling up to Washington, D.C., for the rally on the 6th.” On June 20, Hutchinson said she recalled “Marjorie Taylor Greene bringing QAnon up several times, though, in the presence of the president, privately with Mark.”Want the best of VICE News straight to your inbox? Sign up here.