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Marjorie Taylor Greene and GOP try and fail to poke holes in Cassidy Hutchinson’s shocking Jan 6 testimony

Privately, members worry testimony is ‘damning’ for Trump

John Bowden
Wednesday 29 June 2022 00:01 BST
Trump tried to 'grab wheel' when told he wasn't being taken to Capitol, Jan 6 hearing told

A handful of Republicans reacted publicly with scorn on Tuesday after Cassidy Hutchinson’s explosive testimony at a surprise hearing of the January 6 committee.

But as the hearing concluded it was clear that many – including Donald Trump himself – were reeling from the latest revelations.

Ms Hutchinson is part of a long list of Republicans whose testimony the Jan 6 committee has decided to highlight; the growing chorus of both Trump-affiliated voices and those of other Republicans from around the country have cut deeply into the counter-narrative pushed by GOP leadership on Capitol Hill calling the hearings a partisan witch hunt.

On Tuesday, she made a series of shocking statements about the conduct of both Donald Trump and Mark Meadows, her immediate boss in the Trump White House where she served as a liaison between the West Wing and Capitol Hill, a position that makes her a familiar face for many Republican lawmakers.

Among those revelations about the goings-on of the White House in the days leading up to the attack on Congress was the confirmation that Mark Meadows, Mr Trump’s chief deputy, privately expressed to her just days before that Jan 6 could likely get “real, real bad”. The statement was the first direct confirmation from a Trump administration official that the administration suspected violence was likely as Mr Trump attracted thousands of his supporters to the District of Columbia.

In response to her testimony the former president himself went on a tirade via his Truth Social account, denouncing Ms Hutchinson as a “leaker” and disloyal. He would deny specific parts of her testimony, including a reported assertion that he had stated Mike Pence “deserved” to be hanged for treason for his refusal to take part in the effort to overturn the election (in reality, Ms Hutchinson testified that Mark Meadows said he believed the president thought as much during a conversation with the White House counsel).

He also took more personal shots at her, including criticising her handwriting and calling her a “whacko”.

The former president and a handful of Republicans on Capitol Hill also latched on to an unsuccessful effort to prove that another one of Ms Hutchinson’s more jaw-dropping assertions, that Mr Trump had assaulted a Secret Service agent and attempted to grab the wheel of the presidential vehicle, was false.

“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,” Mr Trump wrote on Truth Social.

Republicans on Capitol Hill including Reps Marjorie Taylor Greene and Dan Bishop as well as the Twitter account run by the GOP leadership of the House Judiciary Committee all retweeted a diagram of the “Beast”, an armoured limousine that typically ferries the president around DC, in an attempt to prove that Mr Trump could not have reached the steering wheel.

But as CNN reporter Andrew Kaczynski noted in a Twitter thread, there were two problems with that theory, the largest of which was that Mr Trump was in an entirely different vehicle when the incident supposedly happened. Indeed, CSPAN footage tweeted by Mr Kaczynski clearly shows that Mr Trump was in an SUV at the time.

The Judiciary GOP account also denounced Ms Hutchinson’s testimony as hearsay in multiple tweets, despite many parts of her testimony being firsthand accounts of conversations with Mark Meadows, who is currently dodging the committee’s request for testimony, and her own experiences in the White House. As committee members pointed out, her desk in the White House was located very close to the Oval Office.

Meanwhile CNN’s Melanie Zanona reported that GOP members of Congress were privately calling the testimony “damning”, a sentiment echoed on Fox News by one of its lead news anchors, Bret Baier.

“I’ve covered politics a long time,” Baier said on Tuesday after the hearing. “I don’t think there has been testimony like this, kind of jaw-dropping in a way on the inside workings of a White House in crisis after, you know, at this moment, January 6th, that we have seen since Watergate, really.”

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