Trump Ordered the Code Red
You're goddamn right he did.
I don’t know that I had ever heard of Cassidy Hutchinson before this afternoon. But her testimony before the House January 6 Committee was devastating for former President Trump, rather firmly establishing that he intended to egg on violence that day—and would have done more had the Secret Service not restrained him.
NPR (“Witness recalls Trump lunging for the wheel when told he couldn’t go to the Capitol“)
Former President Donald Trump intended to go to the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, after his speech calling for his supporters to march there and became “irate” when told he couldn’t, according to testimony Tuesday from Cassidy Hutchinson, a former White House aide.
Trump told the rally at the Ellipse that day he would go to the Capitol and Secret Service and National Security Council staff communicated about “clearing a route,” according to messages shown by the committee. In the communications, security personnel used the code name “Mogul” for Trump.
The president was under the impression that he would be taken to the Capitol following his speech, said Hutchinson, who was then a top aide to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
When he learned there were no security assets and Trump would have to return to the White House, the president grew “irate” and attempted to grab the steering wheel of “The Beast,” the president’s armored vehicle. Hutchinson did not witness the altercation, but heard it from others and those who were there did not dispute the account, she said.
“‘I am the effing president, take me up to the Capitol now!'” Hutchinson testified that Trump said.
Trump talked about walking to the Capitol, where he might give a speech or enter the House chamber. And when staff stopped those plans, Trump attempted to grab the steering wheel of the vehicle to direct it that way, she said.
Hutchinson also testified that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy contacted her during the rally and asked for her to make sure that Trump didn’t come to the Capitol.
Trump responded to Hutchinson’s testimony, posting on Truth Social, the social media platform he controls: “Her Fake story that I tried to grab the steering wheel of the White House Limousine in order to steer it to the Capitol Building is “sick” and fraudulent, very much like the Unselect Committee itself – Wouldn’t even have been possible to do such a ridiculous thing.”
WaPo (“Trump lunged for steering wheel, Secret Service agent in bid to reach Capitol, former aide testifies“):
Cassidy Hutchinson, who was an aide to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, delivered explosive testimony Tuesday to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, offering startling details on the activities of President Donald Trump and those around him before the attack on the U.S. Capitol and on the deadly day itself.
They summarize the key revelations:
- Meadows and Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s attorney, sought pardons related to their roles in the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol, Hutchinson testified. She said Trump also expressed interest in pardoning the Capitol rioters.
- Trump was so “irate” that he wasn’t being driven to the Capitol after his speech on the Ellipse on Jan. 6 that he attempted to grab the steering wheel of his limousine and lunged at a member of his Secret Service detail, Hutchinson testified, citing the account of a senior-ranking colleague.
- Hutchinson described an outburst by Trump at his attorney general in which he threw dishes, leaving ketchup streaming down the wall.
- Hutchinson testified that Trump was informed that attendees at a Jan. 6 rally near the White House were armed but that he still wanted security removed from the area and the crowd to march to the Capitol.
- Hutchinson said that as violence increased at the Capitol, she witnessed White House counsel Pat Cipollone telling Meadows: “Mark, something needs to be done or people are going to die. The blood is going to be on your f—ing hands.”
- Hutchinson recalled that Meadows told her days before insurrection that “things might get real, real bad” at the Capitol on that day.
POLITICO (“White House aide delivers shocking testimony about out-of-control Trump on Jan. 6“):
Minutes before Donald Trump took the stage at an Ellipse rally on Jan. 6, 2021, he urged the Secret Service to remove security magnetometers to let in people with weapons because “they’re not here to hurt me,” a former top White House aide told investigators on Tuesday.
Cassidy Hutchinson also testified to the Jan. 6 select panel that Trump intended to travel with his supporters at the rally to the Capitol, a progression that quickly became a violent mob. She also recalled hearing from two security officials — including Robert Engel, the head of the then-president’s Secret Service detail — that when Trump was told he’d be returning to the White House instead of going to the Capitol on Jan. 6, he lunged for the steering wheel of his vehicle and was physically restrained by Engel.
Hutchinson also said she heard firsthand worries about Trump potentially traveling to the Capitol to disrupt the certification of his loss from Trump White House counsel Pat Cipollone. She testified that Cipollone warned against letting Trump travel to the Capitol that day in stark terms: If Trump did so, his White House counsel said, “we’re going to get charged with every crime imaginable,” from obstruction to fraud.
The former White House aide’s remarks portrayed Trump as spiraling into an increasingly manic rage as he continued his last-ditch effort to seize a second term he didn’t win. Hutchinson offered some of the gravest evidence yet of Trump’s awareness of the violent elements within his base that were ultimately unleashed against Congress — and his indifference to the ultimate result. And her testimony landed hard on the Hill, where some Republican lawmakers immediately pushed back.
Signs of Trump’s fury had been emerging for weeks, Hutchinson said, recalling that Trump once hurled a plate of food at the wall after his Justice Department batted down claims of widespread election fraud.
Hutchinson’s comments came in an explosive public hearing of the Jan. 6 select committee focused on her insights into the machinations by Trump, Meadows and their allies in the runup to Jan. 6. Her knowledge, informed by being present in nearly every meeting involving Meadows during the post-election period, have quickly propelled Hutchinson into a prominent role for Capitol riot investigators.
WaPo’s Amber Phillips assembles “All the bombshells Cassidy Hutchinson dropped about Trump and Jan. 6.” Here are here takeaways; the article itself explains each in some depth:
1. Trump knew his supporters had weapons — and encouraged them to march on the Capitol. And he tried to go, too.
2. Trump wrestled with Secret Security agent to go to the Capitol
3. Trump threw dishes — regularly
4. Trump didn’t want to call off the rioters
Peter Baker of the NYT provides the reasonable conclusion from all of this, citing an unlikely source:
“This is the smoking gun,” Solomon Wisenberg, a former deputy independent counsel in Ken Starr’s investigation that led to Bill Clinton’s impeachment, tells me. He says there’s no question that today’s hearing establishes a case for Trump’s criminal culpability on “seditious conspiracy charges.”
Whether Attorney General Garland concurs and will act on it are separate questions. But this is the first time that I’ve thought it remotely possible that the former president would face federal charges for his role.