Counsel advised against Trump going to Capitol on Jan 6: ‘We’re going to be charged with every crime imaginable’

‘We need to make sure that this doesn’t happen. This would be legally a terrible idea for us’

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Tuesday 28 June 2022 19:42 BST
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Related video: Trump ‘threw his lunch against wall’ leaving trail of ketchup on Jan 6, former aide tells hearing
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The White House counsel advised Donald Trump against going to the Capitol on the day of the riot, according to a witness testifying during the January 6 committee hearing.

“Please make sure we don’t go up to the Capitol. We’re going to be charged with every crime imaginable if that happens,” Pat Cipollone said the morning of January 6, according to former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, who appeared in front of the panel on Tuesday.

“On January 3, Mr Cipollone had approached me knowing that Mark [Meadows] had raised the prospect of going up to the Capitol on January 6,” she told the committee.

“Mr Cipollone and I had a brief conversation. He said to me: ‘we need to make sure that this doesn’t happen. This would be legally a terrible idea for us. We have serious legal concerns if we go up to the Capitol that day’,” Ms Hutchinson said on Tuesday.

“And he then urged me to continue relaying that to Mr Meadows, because it’s my understanding that Mr Cipollone thought that Mr Meadows was indeed pushing this along with the President,” she added.

Ms Hutchinson said Mr Cipollone was concerned about obstructing justice, defrauding the electoral count, and inciting a riot.

In stunning testimony to the committee on Tuesday, Ms Hutchinson said Mr Trump grabbed the steering wheel of the presidential limo in an attempt to go to the Capitol instead of returning to the White House after his speech at the ellipse on January 6.

Ms Hutchinson said Mr Meadows was sitting on a couch on his cellphone, scrolling and typing at around 2pm on the day of the riot when rioters were moving toward the Capitol.

The witness said she was getting frustrated because she felt like she was watching a “bad car accident”.

Cassidy Hutchinson testifies to the Jan 6 committee
Cassidy Hutchinson testifies to the Jan 6 committee (Getty Images)

“I remember thinking in that moment that Mark needs to snap out of this ... He needs to care,” she told the committee.

According to Ms Hutchinson, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone told Mr Meadows, who was on his phone at the time: “The rioters got to the Capitol, Mark ... we need to see the president now.”

“He doesn’t want to do anything, Pat,” Mr Meadows said, according to the witness.

“Something needs to be done. People are going to die and the blood is going to be on your hands,” Mr Cipollone said.

Referring to the Trump supporters’ chants of “hang Mike Pence”, Ms Hutchinson said Mr Meadows said: “You heard it Pat, [Trump] thinks Mike deserves it.”

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