Who is Cassidy Hutchinson?
SHERO is a reader-supported publication, that makes many published articles available to the public for free. Please support independent journalism for everyone by becoming a paid subscriber today.
Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, is expected to be called as the last-minute witness to testify publicly today before the select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol attack. Hutchinson has already been interviewed by the committee and video clips from her deposition have been featured by the panel during earlier hearings, but her live testimony and close proximity to Meadows signals a move by the Special Committee to reveal more insider knowledge of the events leading up to and following the insurrection.
The following is from Punchbowl News, which initially broke the story of the identity of today’s witness:
“As Meadows’ executive assistant, Hutchinson had unique and constant access to him, former President Donald Trump and the White House inner circle in the run-up to, during and after the Jan. 6 insurrection. She also was a main point of contact in the White House for dozens of members of Congress.
Having covered Meadows and the Trump White House, we can tell you that Hutchison was in the middle of almost everything that happened in the West Wing, so she’s a hugely important witness. Count on it.”
The last-minute appearance by Hutchinson was hastily arranged on a week where no public activity had been anticipated, and the committee announced the hearing was set only 24 hours before it was scheduled. The rush to hold the hearing after the panel had said it would not hold any more until July shows the importance of Hutchinson's expected live testimony and the need to conceal the identity of the witness. The security concerns have also led to new precautions being taken inside the hearing room for this event, as access for reporters has also been limited.
A video clip of Hutchinson testifying about who had asked then-President Trump for pardons was played by the Special Committee last week. It was revealed that Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA), wanted then-Justice Department lawyer Jeffrey Clark to take over the entire Department of Justice, a plan which would have assisted Trump in pursuing his plan to stay in power through the highest legal agency in the country. "[Perry] wanted Mr. Clark, Mr. Jeff Clark, to take over the Department of Justice," explained Hutchinson.
In another testimony video clip (see the video embedded in the tweet below), Hutchinson also named several Republican members of Congress who she said had inquired about pardons, either for themselves or others, in the lead-up to January 6. Those who asked for pardons directly or inquired about the possibility of a pardon for Members of Congress included Perry; Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL); Mo Brooks (R-AL); Andy Biggs (R-AZ); Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Louie Gohmert (R-TX). Perry and Biggs have since denied that they sought a pardon. Gaetz called the Jan. 6 Committee “an unconstitutional political sideshow [that is] siccing federal law enforcement on political opponents.”
Hutchinson has also testified about a few other key changes between Trump and Meadows, specifically that Trump had suggested to Meadows that he approved of the "hang Mike Pence" chants from rioters who stormed the US Capitol. She also testified that Trump had complained about his then-vice president being hustled to safety while Trump supporters breached the Capitol.
According to a court filing in April, Hutchinson told congressional investigators that Meadows was warned before Jan. 6 about the threat of violence that was coming when Trump supporters planned to meet up at the US Capitol. Hutchinson explained that Anthony Ornato, a senior Secret Service official who also held the role of a political advisor at the White House, came in “saying that we had intel reports saying that there could potentially be violence on the 6th and Mr. Meadows said: ‘All right. Let’s talk about it.’” She added, “I’m not sure if he — what he did with that information internally.”
The reason Hutchinson is now complying fully with the Special Committee’s requests for testimony is that she was not willing to risk getting a contempt of Congress charge in order to impede the probe, as refusing to cooperate with the committee could lead to thousands in legal bills. She also switched her legal counsel in early June and her new lawyer, Jody Hunt of Alston Bird, replaced former attorney, Stefan Passantino, who has deep connections to Trump.
Hunt is a longtime close ally of Jeff Sessions and served as his chief of staff when the former attorney general enraged Trump by recusing himself from the Russia probe. The change in counsel is yet another signal of an increased willingness to cooperate fully with the Jan. 6 Select Committee’s probe and the panel has signaled that it views Hutchinson as a key witness.
Cassidy Hutchinson also interned for House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) before becoming a White House intern the summer before her senior year at Christopher Newport University in Virginia. “As a first-generation college student, being selected to serve as an intern alongside some of the most intelligent and driven students from across the nation — many of whom attend top universities — was an honor and a tremendous growing experience,” she told her university in October 2018.
Amee Vanderpool writes the SHERO Newsletter and is an attorney, published author, contributor to newspapers and magazines, and analyst for BBC radio. She can be reached at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @girlsreallyrule.
Paid subscriptions and one-time tributes embedded in each article allow me to keep publishing critical and informative work that is sometimes made available to the public — thank you. If you like this piece and want to support independent journalism further, you can forward this article to others, get a paid subscription or gift subscription, or donate once, as much as you like today.
And soon, Trump and Meadows will go under oath to rebut her testimony. Looking forward.
Very curious to see what the fallout from her testimony will be (if any).