Trump’s backed rioters calling to ‘Hang Mike Pence’, witness tells Jan 6 committee: ‘Mike deserves it’

Ms Hutchinson claimed Mr Trump physically attacked his Secret Service agent when he would not let him go to the Capitol on Jan 6

Graig Graziosi
Tuesday 28 June 2022 20:23 BST
Trump said Mike Pence ‘deserves it’ over chants calling for him to be hanged, aide says

Cassidy Hutchinson, the former aide to Mark Meadows, who was the White House Chief of Staff during Donald Trump’s administration, said the former president defended January 6 rioters who were chanting "hang Mike Pence."

On the day of the Capitol riot, several Trump supporters in the crowd were captured on video chanting "hang Mike Pence" after the former vice president refused to illegally attempt to overturn the 2020 election.

Ms Hutchinson testified before the House Select Committee investigating the Capitol riot on Tuesday.

She recalled being in the room with Mr Trump when other aides were pressing him to address the violence occurring at the Capitol. They had mentioned that the crowd was calling for Mr Pence to be hanged.

"Mike deserves it," Ms Hutchinson claims Mr Trump said.

She recalled being disgusted by the events of that day.

"As an American, I was disgusted. It was unpatriotic, it was un-American. We were watching the Capitol building get defaced over a lie," she said.

Ms Hutchinson's testimony was explosive, pulling back the curtain on Mr Trump's actions as the Capitol riot unfolded.

She claimed that Mr Trump had intended to walk or drive to the Capitol alongside the rioters on January 6 following his "stop the steal" rally at the Ellipse in Washington DC.

Ms Hutchinson recalled a discussion between herself, former White House chief of operations Anthony Ornato, and Mr Trump's Secret Service detail leader Robert Engel.

Mr Ornato recounted to Ms Hutchinson that Mr Trump and Mr Engel entered "the Beast," a name given to the presidential limo, and Mr Trump demanded to go to the Capitol. Mr Engel allegedly told him the Capitol was not secured and it was too dangerous for him to travel there.

Being told he could not go allegedly incensed Mr Trump, who tried to grab the limo's wheel. Mr Engel allegedly stopped him and grabbed the president's arm. After that, Mr Trump allegedly grabbed at Mr Engel's throat.

Ms Hutchinson claimed that Mr Ornato told her that Mr Trump screamed, "I'm the f****** president, take me up to the Capitol now."

Mr Engel was in the room with Mr Ornato when he told the story to Ms Hutchinson. Mr Engel did not correct or dispute Mr Ornato's account of the incident.

She also revealed that earlier in the day, just before his speech, Mr Trump became “irate” because some of his supporters were not being allowed into the Ellipse to hear his speech. He reportedly wanted to see the entire area filled, and did not want any of his supporters turned away.

The individuals who were being turned away were being rejected because they were armed, some with AR-15s. Mr Trump reportedly demanded that his security detail get rid of the magnetrons, or “mags,” they used to ensure no one was trying to bring weapons into the event.

“I was in the vicinity of a conversation where I overheard the president say something to the effect of, ‘I don’t f****** care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me. Take the f****** [magnetrons] away,’” Ms Hutchinson told the committee.

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