Capitol Storm Inquiry: Witness: Trump Demanded Access For Armed Supporters

Cassidy Hutchinson made it clear to the investigative committee on the Capitol storming on January 6, 2021 that the White House was well aware of the threat.

Capitol Storm Inquiry: Witness: Trump Demanded Access For Armed Supporters

Cassidy Hutchinson made it clear to the investigative committee on the Capitol storming on January 6, 2021 that the White House was well aware of the threat. However, then-President Trump wanted armed supporters to be allowed to attend the rally.

According to a former White House employee, then-US President Donald Trump was said to have been aware of the potential violence on January 6, 2021. Despite massive security concerns, Trump also wanted to drive to the Capitol himself that day, where Congress was to certify the election of his successor Joe Biden, said Cassidy Hutchinson, then assistant to Trump's chief of staff Mark Meadows. Hutchinson testified at a surprise public hearing on the Capitol attack committee scheduled for the day before.

In the past few weeks, former employees and members of the government have repeatedly testified and heavily incriminated Trump. Hutchinson, in his mid-20s, said Trump knew about guns in the audience before his January 6 speech to his supporters. "Take those damn metal detectors away. They're not here to hurt me. Let them in. Let my people in, they can march to the Capitol after the rally," Hutchinson quoted Trump as saying. She claimed to have heard these words from him shortly before his speech. When a president makes a speech, security personnel require those present to pass through metal detectors.

On January 6, 2021, Trump supporters violently stormed the seat of parliament in the capital Washington. Congress met there to certify Biden's election victory. Five people were killed in the riots, including a police officer. The attack on the heart of US democracy shook the country. Trump had recently incited his supporters at a rally that his election victory had been stolen. He also said publicly at the time that he too would come to the Capitol. As a result, there were several reports that Trump actually wanted to get there - but so far no confirmation from Trump's leadership circle at the time.

The committee of inquiry learned from law enforcement reports that participants at the Trump rally had pepper spray, knives, brass knuckles, tasers and blunt objects, said committee vice chair Liz Cheney. During the rally in front of the White House on January 6 - immediately before his supporters violently stormed the Capitol - Trump still assumed that he would personally drive to the Capitol, Hutchinson continued. When the president was told on leaving the rally by his top Secret Service bodyguard that he could not go to Congress for security reasons, he was very "angry."

Citing a conversation he had with a colleague and the Secret Service official immediately after the incident, Hutchinson said Trump even tried to grab the driver's steering wheel in the armored SUV. He is said to have said, "I'm the damn President, take me to the Capitol." The bodyguard grabbed his arm to keep him away from the steering wheel, she continued. Trump used his free arm to fight back.

Hutchinson said Chief of Staff Meadows — who appeared to approve of the plan — did not inform Trump that a trip to the Capitol would not be possible. There had previously been considerations that Trump might give another speech in front of the Capitol, Hutchinson said. Hutchinson also called Trump's attacks on his former deputy Mike Pence "unpatriotic". She said, citing Meadows, that Trump believed Pence deserved the attacks against him.

Committee Vice Chair Cheney had made similar statements at a previous hearing. According to the Republican, Trump is said to have spoken positively about efforts to hang his vice president. Hutchinson was "disgusted" by all of this, she said. "It was unpatriotic, it was un-American. We watched the Capitol being defaced because of a lie," she said of the Capitol attack.

Hutchinson had been summoned as a surprise witness. At a previous hearing, she had already come into focus - but at that time only videos of her statements were shown. "I want all Americans to know that what Ms. Hutchinson did today is not easy," Republican Cheney said, having taken over the questioning of the witness. "The easy way is to hide from the limelight, refuse to come forward and try to downplay or deny what happened."

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