In the days before the Capitol riot, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows privately said that “things might get real, real bad on Jan. 6,” his former top aide testified on Tuesday, a sign that top White House officials knew that then-President Donald Trump’s planned rally that day could turn violent.
Cassidy Hutchinson, who was Meadows’ top White House aide, told the House Select Jan. 6 Committee that former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a Trump adviser, told her days before the Capitol attack that the plan was to send Trump to the Capitol Building.
“We’re going to the Capitol. It’s going to be great. The president’s going to be there. He’s going to look powerful,” Giuliani said, according to Hutchinson.
When Hutchinson asked Giuliani what he meant, he told her to talk to Meadows. And when she asked her boss, Hutchinson said that Meadows warned “things might get real, real bad on Jan. 6.”
“That evening was the first moment that I remember feeling scared and nervous for what could happen on Jan. 6,” Hutchinson testified Tuesday.
Hutchison said she had no specific information about possible communications between the Trump team and extremists who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6. However, she did testify that in the days leading up to the riot, she began hearing the words “Oath Keeper” and “Proud Boys”—particularly when “Mr Giuliani was around.”
She also testified that Trump and Meadows were warned on Jan. 6 that rally attendees had brought weapons, including AR-15s and Glocks, to D.C. that day, but shrugged off the warnings. Capitol police also warned that several attendees had climbed trees near the main event by the Ellipse, and some of them were armed with guns.
Trump, Hutchinson testified, was furious that the space on the White House Ellipse used for his rally wasn’t full—and told the Secret Service to remove their security magnetometers and allow armed protesters in to see him so that his crowd would look bigger on TV.
“I don’t effing care that they have weapons,” Hutchinson testified that Trump said. “They’re not there to hurt me. Take the effing mags away. Let the people in, they can march to the Capitol from here. Let my people in, and take the effing mags away.”
Recapping Hutchinson’s testimony, GOP Rep. Liz Cheney stated, “Trump was aware that a number of the people in the crowd had weapons and were wearing body armor,” and nonetheless, he urged the crowd to go to the Capitol.
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