Donald Trump tried to grab the steering wheel from a US Secret Service agent when told he would not be taken to the US Capitol during a riot there – and even endorsed calls to “hang” his vice president, an investigation has been told
Cassidy Hutchinson, who served as a top aide to Mr Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, appeared in a live hearing by the committee investigating the January 6th Capitol riots on Tuesday.
Ms Hutchinson, 25, told the panel Mr Trump was angered after being told he would not be taken to the Capitol and quoted Mr Trump saying: “I’m the effing president, take me up to the Capitol now.”
She testified that a Secret Service agent had to physically restrain Mr Trump who, sitting in the back seat, used his free hand to lunge toward the neck of Secret Service agent Robert Engel.
As his supporters laid siege to Congress, both Mr Trump and Mr Meadows appeared unconcerned about cries in the crowd to “hang Mike Pence!”
The president tweeted during the attack that Pence didn’t have the “courage” to object to President Joe Biden’s victory, as he presided over the joint session of Congress that day.
And Ms Hutchinson quoted Mr Meadows as saying that Trump “thinks Mike deserves it.”
Thousands of Trump supporters stormed Congress on 6 January 2021 in a bid to thwart Joe Biden’s election victory, smashing windows and sending politicians fleeing for their lives.
Four people died the day of the attack, more than 100 police officers were injured and one died the next day.
Four officers later died by suicide.
Ms Hutchinson also told the panel she was “scared, and nervous for what could happen” ahead of the riot after conversations with Mr Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, Mr Meadows and others.
She said she was apprehensive because she had heard plans for a rally and possible movements to the Capitol.
The former aide sat doors away from Mr Trump’s Oval Office and testified that just days before the attack on the Capitol, Mr Meadows knew of the looming violence that could unfold.
Mr Meadows told Ms Hutchinson that “things might get real real bad,” she said.
She said Mr Giuliani told her it was going to be “a great day” and “we’re going to the Capitol.”
She added: “It was the first moment that I remembered feeling scared and nervous of what could happen on Jan 6.”
Trump did not care rally attendees were armed
Ms Hutchinson also testified that Mr Trump did not care that supporters at the January 6th rally preceding the riot were armed with weapons including AR-15-style rifles.
She said the then-president was angry that the Secret Service, which is charged with protecting the president, was using magnetometers to keep armed people out of the fenced-off area where he gave his speech.
The former White House aide said: “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******-ing mags away. Let my people in, they can march to the Capitol from here. Let the people in, take the f****** mags away.”
However, the former president has dismissed Ms Hutchinson’s and described her as “bad news!”.
Writing on his online platform truthsocial.com, Mr Trump said: “I hardly know who this person, Cassidy Hutchinson, is, other than I heard very negative things about her (a total phony and “leaker”), and when she requested to go with certain others of the team to Florida after my having served a full term in office, I personally turned her request down.
“Why did she want to go with us if she felt we were so terrible? I understand that she was very upset and angry that I didn’t want her to go, or be a member of the team. She is bad news!”
Trump threw lunch at wall after Bill Barr interview
According to video testimony shown by the committee from Kayleigh McEnany, Mr Trump’s White House press secretary at the time, the former president was so enraged by an interview with the then-attorney general Bill Barr, he threw his lunch at the wall, leaving ketchup dripping down it.
Mr Barr had told the Associated Press there was no evidence of election fraud.
Ms Hutchinson told the committee there were “several times” where she was aware of him “either throwing dishes or flipping the tablecloth to let all the contents of the table go onto the floor”.
Earlier hearings from the committee have focused on different aspects of the riot, including Mr Trump’s efforts to pressure the Justice Department to upend the 2020 election results.
Mr Trump has consistently dismissed the ‘January 6th Committee’ as a Democratic Party witch-hunt, despite most of the witnesses being Republican Party members.