Donald Trump wanted to march on the Capitol with his mob of supporters on January 6 last year, even after he was told that they had weapons, according to damning new testimony revealed at a congressional hearing on Tuesday.
A former White House aide testified that the former president was irate after being told that he could not go to the Capitol. Trump said: “I’m the fucking president. Take me up to the Capitol now,” Cassidy Hutchinson testified.
Trump, who was sitting in his vehicle, then tried to grab the steering wheel but the Secret Service agent next to him took his arm and stopped him, Hutchinson said. “Sir, you need to take your hand off the steering wheel”, she said the agent told the president.
Hutchinson testified that Trump said of his armed supporters: “They’re not here to hurt me. Take the effing mags away. Let my people in. They can march to the Capitol from here.”
Mags is a reference to magnetometer, a metal detector which was preventing armed supporters from entering his rally.
Hutchinson also testified that Mark Meadows, Donald Trump’s chief of staff, warned her that “things might get real, real bad” on January 6 2021, highlighting how the former president’s inner circle was aware of the potential for violence ahead of the attack on the US Capitol.
Hutchinson, who worked for Meadows as a close adviser in the West Wing, testified publicly on Tuesday afternoon, in the latest proceedings of the committee investigating the January 6 attack by a mob of Trump supporters.
The bipartisan panel had not expected to hold any hearings this week, but changed its plans to “present recently obtained evidence and receive witness testimony”, it said.
Hutchinson opened her testimony by describing meeting Rudy Giuliani in the White House on January 2, and the former mayor of New York and Trump lawyer telling her to expect that on January 6 “we’re going to the Capitol”.
When she asked Meadows what that might be referring to, Trump’s chief of staff responded that “things might get real, real bad”. “That evening was the first moment that I remember feeling scared and nervous about what could happen on January 6,” Hutchinson said. “I had a deeper concern with what was happening with the planning aspects.”
Hutchinson also testified that Trump was told that the crowd assembling at the National Mall on the morning of January 6 had weapons but the US president dismissed the threat, saying “they aren’t here to hurt me”.
Her testimony could provide crucial details of Trump’s efforts to foment the attack on the Capitol and overturn the results of the 2020 election, as well as the former president’s attempts to cling to power despite his defeat to Joe Biden.
Since they began this month, the public hearings of the January 6 committee have proven more damaging to Trump than expected. They are showing the lengths to which he went in pressuring state officials, his own justice department and vice-president Mike Pence, as well as a violent mob, in order to stop Biden’s victory being certified.
Hutchinson has testified privately to the committee previously and parts of her deposition were aired during a hearing last week. In one of the clips, she named some of the Republican lawmakers in the House of Representatives who asked Trump for pardons in connection with their efforts to overturn the election. Hutchinson was a former Republican aide in the House of Representatives before moving to the White House.
The committee has sought not only to reconstruct the events of January 6 2021, but also to capture what led to the riot and Trump’s actions during that period.
As the panel has laid out its case, calls have grown for the justice department to prosecute Trump for trying to stop Biden’s victory. It is far from clear whether Merrick Garland, attorney-general, will take that step.