White House aide’s astonishing testimony may help January 6th committee resonate with the public

US

This January 6th committee has been struggling to cut through.

Despite some extraordinary revelations over three weeks, Americans seem to be so desensitised and divided that the hearings haven’t resonated in the way that had been intended.

They had hoped to discredit Donald Trump and debunk his stolen election claims bit by bit with the prime-time hearings and witnesses – mostly Team Trump insiders and Republican Party loyalists.

But this is a social media world; attention spans are short and minds are sceptical.

The committee needed compelling and digestible viral moments, not lengthy testimony.

With Cassidy Hutchinson, maybe they achieved that.

The top aide to Mr Trump’s Chief-of-Staff, Mark Meadows, presented calm and composed testimony, under oath, which exposed the extent of the former president’s rage as he tried to hold onto power.

More on Us Capitol Riots

Crucially, she also claimed that Mr Trump and his inner circle knew the mob who stormed the Capitol building on 6 January 2021 included many who were armed yet, he still encouraged them to march on the building.

‘This is f****** crazy’

Ms Hutchinson’s description of the steering wheel moment – in which Mr Trump is alleged to have grabbed the wheel when the Secret Service refused to take him to the Capitol – was memorable and shocking.

Her recollection of how she and Trump’s lawyer warned Mr Meadows that the mob wanted to hang Vice President Mike Pence was chilling, mostly because of the Chief-of-Staff’s response.

“They’re literally calling for the vice president to be f****** hung,” Mr Trump’s counsel Pat Cipollone told Mr Meadows.

“You heard him, Pat,” Mr Meadows replied.

“He [Trump] thinks Mike [Pence] deserves it. He doesn’t think they’re doing anything wrong.”

“This is f****** crazy,” Mr Cipollone said.

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Former Donald Trump aide says then-president raged at the Secret Service after being told he could not go to the Capitol Building

Committee aiming to convince public that Trump is corrupt

The committee is now beginning to join the dots in an effort to prove that Donald Trump knew that many in the crowd at the Capitol were armed and intent on violence.

The committee wants to prove that the riot at the Capitol was the culmination of Trump’s own plan to overturn the 2020 election.

They want to convince the American public that the 45th President of the United States is corrupt to the core and remains a clear and present danger to American democracy.

In a final remarkable moment committee vice-chair, Republican Liz Chaney alleged ‘witness tampering’.

“I think most people know that attempting to influence witnesses to testify untruthfully presents very serious concerns,” Ms Cheney said in her closing remarks with a clear inference that those still close to Mr Trump had been intimidating witnesses.

Quite astonishing, or maybe not given the state of politics in the US now.

Mark Meadows (left) with former US President Donald Trump (right)
Image:
Mark Meadows (left) with former US President Donald Trump (right)

Read more:
Trump supporters’ reaction to Capitol riots inquiry shows America is in a dangerous place

Trump pressured officials to ‘say election was corrupt’
Officials reveal Trump supporters’ backlash as he claimed election fraud

Team Trump is naturally dismissing all of Ms Hutchinson’s words, delivered under oath, as hearsay and part of a witch-hunt.

Yet it’s remarkably telling that of all the moments delivered today, the only one Trump insiders seem to be prepared to refute is the steering wheel incident.

Just that one.

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