Jan. 6 committee holds sixth hearing

By Adrienne Vogt, Elise Hammond, Aditi Sangal, Melissa Macaya and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 0437 GMT (1237 HKT) June 29, 2022
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8:06 p.m. ET, June 28, 2022

Secret Service informs committee that agents are willing to testify and dispute the SUV incident

From CNN's Josh Campbell and Ryan Nobles 

A Secret Service official familiar with the matter told CNN that Tony Ornato, then-White House deputy chief of staff, denies telling Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson that the former President grabbed the steering wheel or an agent on his detail. 

The Secret Service, through the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Legislative Affairs, notified the committee Tuesday afternoon that they will make the agents involved available to testify under oath, the official said. The agents are also prepared to say under oath that the incident itself did not occur.

The lead agent, Robert Engel, previously testified before the committee and described the interactions with former President Donald Trump on Jan. 6, including the former President's desire to travel to the Capitol, but Engel was not asked about an altercation or being assaulted, the official said.  

Ornato is now an assistant director with the Secret Service. 

Asked about the Secret Service disputing the testimony, a committee spokesperson said, “The committee trusts the creditability of a witness who is willing to testify under oath and in public but is also willing to hear any and information that others may have that would aid in their investigation.” 

Hutchinson’s lawyer also challenged the Secret Service agents to testify under oath.

“Ms. Hutchinson testified, under oath, and recounted what she was told. Those with knowledge of the episode also should testify under oath,” said attorney Jody Hunt in a Twitter post.

5:18 p.m. ET, June 28, 2022

House Republicans privately stunned over testimony: "Enough to make me throw my lunch against the wall"

From CNN's Melanie Zanona

Cassidy Hutchinson testifies during the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the US Capitol, on June 28 in Washington, DC.
Cassidy Hutchinson testifies during the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the US Capitol, on June 28 in Washington, DC. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

Some House Republicans are privately stunned over the explosive new Jan. 6, 2021 revelations from former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson — a trusted and familiar face to many GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

Lawmakers and aides said they were particularly disturbed by an episode where Trump was allegedly so irate about not being taken to the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, that he lunged at his Secret Service inside the presidential limo and another episode where Trump allegedly expressed support for the “Hang Mike Pence” chants.

One GOP lawmaker said they weren’t able to catch the whole hearing, “but enough to make me throw my lunch against the wall” – a reference to how Trump allegedly threw his lunch against the wall in anger at one point.  

Another Republican lawmaker who was watching the hearing texted CNN: “wow” and acknowledged that today’s hearing contained new and explosive information that shed light on Trump’s mental state on Jan. 6, 2021.

“This does show how emotionally and personally involved Trump was in the January 6 events,” the member said. “He really cared about what was happening at the Capitol. He wanted to be a part of it.”

But this lawmaker was skeptical it would move the needle: “I don’t know how many persuadables there are out there. I mean, if you think President Trump hasn’t done anything wrong with what’s been released previously, today isn’t changing your mind.”

 

4:05 p.m. ET, June 28, 2022

Thompson says Jan. 6 committee will keep pursuing Cipollone, even for a transcribed interview

From CNN's Morgan Rimmer

Rep. Bennie Thompson
Rep. Bennie Thompson (CNN)

Rep. Bennie Thompson, Jan. 6 committee chair, told CNN after Tuesday's hearing that the committee will "seriously consider inviting" former White House counsel Pat Cipollone "for a transcribed interview or something like that."

"I anticipate a serious discussion about him," he added. 

Thompson, who was speaking off camera, would not say whether they have evidence that former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows requests a pardon in writing, telling reporters, "Stay tuned for the hearings." 

Pressed on whether the pardons will be the subject of a future hearing, he said it "will be included." 

Asked about the urgency behind scheduling today's hearing with 24-hours notice, Thompson replied: "The fact that we now have someone who worked in the White House, who clearly understands that many things were known in terms of the danger that the vice president faced, that people were breaking into the Capitol, who potentially were armed — they knew about it, and nothing was done for a long, long time, and we had not had a witness, up until Ms. Hutchinson, to step forward and say that."

Thompson also said that they have not talked to the Department of Justice about potential witness tampering by Trump associates, or about Meadows. 

 

4:02 p.m. ET, June 28, 2022

What to know about the key players in Tuesday’s testimony

From CNN staff

These are some of the names the public heard most during the Jan. 6 House select committee's sixth hearing. Here's who they are and what former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified about them today:

Mark Meadows:

Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows listens as former President Donald Trump speaks on the South Lawn of the White House in July 2020.
Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows listens as former President Donald Trump speaks on the South Lawn of the White House in July 2020. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
  • Meadows is the former White House chief of staff under President Trump. Hutchinson, who was his former aid, testified today that he and Trump himself were aware of the possibility of violence on Jan. 6, 2021.
  • Hutchinson said that Meadows told her that "things might get real, real bad on Jan. 6."
  • Hutchinson told the committee that Meadows indicated he was interested in receiving a presidential pardon related to Jan. 6. 

Tony Ornato and Robert Engel:

Tony Ornato
Tony Ornato (from Federal Law Enforcement Training Accreditation)
  • Ornato, then-White House deputy chief of staff, told Hutchinson that Robert Engel, who was the Secret Service agent in charge on Jan. 6, 2021, repeatedly told Trump on their way back to the White House after Trump’s Ellipse speech that it wasn’t safe to go to the Capitol.  
  • According to Hutchinson, Ornato recounted Trump screaming, “I’m the f---ing President. Take me up to the Capitol now.” Trump then “reached up toward the front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel,” Hutchinson remembered learning. She added that, according to Ornato, Trump used his other hand to “lunge” at Engel. 

Pat Cipollone:

Former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone is seen in the East Room of the White House in May 2020.
Former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone is seen in the East Room of the White House in May 2020. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
  • Not long after the rioters broke into the US Capitol, former White House counsel Cipollone rushed into Meadows' office demanding a meeting with Trump, but Meadows said Trump didn't want to do anything about it. Hutchinson said Cipollone "very clearly said this to Mark — something to the effect of, 'Mark, something needs to be done or people are going to die and the blood's going to be on your f---ing hands.'"
  • On the morning of Jan. 6, 2021, Hutchinson also spoke to Cipollone, who said "something to the effect of 'please make sure we don't go up to the Capitol. ... We're going to get charged with every crime imaginable if we make that movement happen.'"
  • "He was also worried that it would look like we were inciting a riot or encouraging a riot to erupt on the Capitol, at the Capitol" prior to Jan. 6, 2021, she said.

Rep. Jim Jordan:

GOP Rep. Jim Jordan stands with dozens of people calling for stopping the vote count in Pennsylvania due to alleged fraud against former President Donald Trump on the steps of the Pennsylvania state capital in Harrisburg on Nov. 5, 2020.
GOP Rep. Jim Jordan stands with dozens of people calling for stopping the vote count in Pennsylvania due to alleged fraud against former President Donald Trump on the steps of the Pennsylvania state capital in Harrisburg on Nov. 5, 2020. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
  • The Republican Ohio lawmaker called Meadows on the afternoon of Jan. 6, 2021, and Hutchinson said she brought the phone to Meadows. She was about two feet away from him, and she heard them discussing the Jan. 6 rioters' chanting "hang Mike Pence." After he hung up with Jordan, Cipollone told Meadows that more needed to be done, but Meadows said Trump didn't think the rioters were doing anything wrong, she said.
3:46 p.m. ET, June 28, 2022

Hutchinson: "There was a large concern of the 25th Amendment potentially being invoked" day after Capitol riot

From CNN's Alex Rogers

Former President Donald Trump delivered a speech on Jan. 7, 2021 finally acknowledging that Joe Biden would be inaugurated in part because there was a “large concern” by the White House that Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet could invoke the 25th Amendment to remove him from power, according to testimony Tuesday by former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows’ aide, Cassidy Hutchinson, before the House select committee.

Hutchinson also testified that Trump did not want to include references in the speech to prosecuting the pro-Trump rioters, but instead wanted to float pardons for them. After the White House Counsel’s office pushed back, Trump did mention pardons in that speech.

If the 25th Amendment had been invoked, Trump could’ve put his presidency up for a vote before Congress, where two-thirds would have been necessary to kick him out.

“There was a large concern of the 25th Amendment potentially being invoked, and there were concerns about what would happen in the Senate if it was,” Hutchinson testified.

The thinking at the time was that Trump needed the speech “as cover” to protect himself from the threat of his Cabinet trying to oust him from power, Hutchinson said. Hutchinson said that was a “secondary reason” for Trump to give the speech; the first was that Trump needed to condemn the violent attack to try and prevent it from becoming his legacy.

While Trump gave the speech effectively conceding the election, he wanted to remove calls for “prosecuting the rioters or calling them violent” from early drafts of his Jan. 7, 2021, speech, according to Hutchinson, but wanted to float pardons to his supporters.

“He didn’t want that in there,” said Hutchinson. “He wanted to put in that he wanted to potentially pardon them.”

“He didn’t think that they did anything wrong,” said Hutchinson, referring to the pro-Trump rioters. “The people who did something wrong that day-or-the person who did something wrong that day was Mike Pence, by not standing with him.”

5:30 p.m. ET, June 28, 2022

Former Secretary of State Pompeo informed Meadows Cabinet secretaries were considering invoking 25th Amendment

From CNN's David Shortell

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a top Trump loyalist during the administration, reached out to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows after the Capitol riot to inform him that Cabinet secretaries were considering invoking the 25th Amendment to remove then-President Donald Trump from power, Hutchinson testified Tuesday.

"Mr. Pompeo reached out to have the conversation with Mr. Meadows in case he hadn't heard the discussions amongst Cabinet secretaries," Hutchinson said.

"It was more of a 'This is what I'm hearing, I want you to be aware of it, but I also think it's worth putting on your radar," she said.

The warning proved powerful in the White House on Jan. 7, 2021, where aides were scrambling to convince President Donald Trump to deliver a speech before the country.

According to Hutchinson's testimony, Trump's closest aides, including Meadows, Ivanka Trump, and Jared Kushner, wanted Trump to make the remarks in large part out of concern about the 25th Amendment being invoked.

In a 2021 book by ABC News Chief Washington Correspondent Jonathan Karl, Pompeo through a spokesperson denied that there had ever been conversations around invoking the 25th Amendment.

But in an interview with USA Today earlier this month, former Trump administration Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said that she discussed the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment with other Cabinet members and then-Vice President Mike Pence following the Capitol attack.

3:31 p.m. ET, June 28, 2022

Hutchinson dictated statement for Trump at Meadows' request to tell rioters to leave the Capitol

From CNN's Holmes Lybrand

A note written by Cassidy Hutchinson is shown on a screen as she testifies on Tuesday.
A note written by Cassidy Hutchinson is shown on a screen as she testifies on Tuesday. (Shawn Thew/Pool via Reuters)

Cassidy Hutchinson confirmed to the committee during Tuesday’s hearing that she wrote a draft statement for former President Donald Trump on Jan. 6, 2021 at the behest of her boss, then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, calling for the rioters to leave the Capitol.

The note, which the committee displayed during the hearing, said that “anyone who entered the Capitol illegally (or) without proper authority should leave immediately.”

“That's a note that I wrote at the direction of the Chief of Staff on January 6, likely around 3 p.m.,” Hutchinson told the committee. “That's my handwriting.”

Hutchinson told the committee that she wrote the note for Meadows, who dictated a statement for Trump to possibly put out, which he never did.

According to Hutchinson, Meadows brought the card back later with the word “illegally” crossed out. Meadows “said we didn’t need to take further action that day,” Hutchinson testified. 

Instead, Trump posted a video at 4:17 p.m., repeating election lies and calling for rioters to go home, telling them “we love you.”

4:43 p.m. ET, June 28, 2022

Catch up: These are the key lines from Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony at today's hearing 

From CNN staff

Cassidy Hutchinson is sworn in to testify before the House Select Committee on Tuesday.
Cassidy Hutchinson is sworn in to testify before the House Select Committee on Tuesday. (Andrew Harnik/PoolAP)

Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, testified today before the Jan. 6 committee.

Rep. Bennie Thompson, the Jan. 6 committee chair, said in his opening remarks that Hutchinson embodies "courage" for testifying and Republican Rep. Liz Cheney said in her opening statement that Hutchinson's testimony "touches on several important and cross-cutting topics, topics that are relevant to each of our future hearings."

Aides to former President Trump were left speechless amid Hutchinson's testimony on Tuesday, acknowledging to CNN that her testimony was "a bombshell" with potentially huge repercussions for Trump.  "This is a bombshell. It's stunning. It's shocking...I don't have words. It's just stunning," said one Trump adviser. 

If you're just reading in now, here are some of the key things that Hutchinson said during her testimony so far:

  • Meadows said that Trump thought Pence deserved chants calling for him to be hanged: Hutchinson said that she heard Meadows say that Trump did not think the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol rioters were doing anything wrong and that Vice President Mike Pence deserved to face chants that calling for his hanging. "I remember Pat saying something to the effect of, 'Mark, we need to do something more, they're literally calling for the vice president to be f---ing hung.' And Mark had responded something to the effect of, 'You heard it, Pat, he thinks Mike deserves it, he doesn't think they're doing anything wrong.'"
  • Trump shattered his lunch plate after learning Barr said election wasn't fraudulent, aide says she was told: Hutchinson described Trump's angry reaction after former Attorney General Bill Barr said in an interview with the Associated Press that the Department of Justice had not found evidence of widespread voter fraud after the 2020 election. Hutchinson testified that after learning about the interview Trump went down to the White House dining room and threw a plate against the wall, shattering it. "I left the office and went down to the dining room and I noticed that the door was propped open and the valet was inside the dining room changing the table cloth off of the dining room table. He motioned for me to come in and then pointed towards the front of the room near the fireplace mantle and the TV where I first noticed there was ketchup dripping down the wall and there's a shattered porcelain plate on the floor." Hutchinson said that the valet told her that Trump was "extremely angry" at Barr "and had thrown his lunch against the wall, which was causing them to have to clean up." 
  • Hutchinson details secondhand account of Trump lunging at Secret Service agents on Jan. 6 : Hutchinson testified that she was told that Trump became "irate" when informed by security that he would not be going to the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, because the situation was not secure. Tony Ornato, then-White House deputy chief of staff, told Hutchinson that Robert Engel, who was the Secret Service agent in charge on Jan. 6, 2021, repeatedly told Trump on their way back to the White House after Trump’s Ellipse speech that it wasn’t safe to go to the Capitol. And she testified that she heard a secondhand account of how Trump was so enraged at his Secret Service detail for blocking him from going to the Capitol that he lunged to the front of his presidential SUV and tried to turn the wheel. According to Hutchinson, Ornato recounted Trump screaming, “I’m the F’ing President. Take me up to the Capitol now.” Trump then “reached up toward the front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel,” Hutchinson remembered learning. She added that, according to Ornato, Trump used his other hand to “lunge” at Engel. 
  • Mark Meadows sought a presidential pardon: Hutchinson told the committee that her former boss, Mark Meadows, did seek a presidential pardon related to Jan. 6, 2021. "Mr. Meadows did seek that pardon, yes, ma'am," she answered in response to Cheney's question. In addition to Meadows, Rudy Giuliani, the former personal lawyer for former President Donald Trump, also sought a pardon, Hutchinson told the committee.
  • Hutchinson said she heard Trump say he didn't care that his supporters had weapons: Hutchinson testified that she overheard Trump saying that he did not care if his supporters had weapons — and suggested he had no issue with them marching to the Capitol armed. "I overheard the President say something to the effect of 'I don't F-ing 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-ing mags away."
  • Trump and Meadows were told that there were weapons among supporters at Jan. 6 rally held at Ellipse: Meadows and Trump himself were aware of the possibility of violence on Jan. 6, 2021, including that Trump supporters had weapons when they gathered on the Ellipse that day, Hutchinson testified. Hutchinson also testified that Ornato said he talked to Trump about weapons at his rally on Jan. 6, 2021. The House select committee investigation learned from law enforcement reports that people at the Trump rally on the Ellipse had pepper spray, knives, brass knuckles, Tasers and blunt objects that could be used as weapons, Cheney said on Tuesday.
  • Hutchinson heard Proud Boys and Oath Keepers mentioned leading up to Jan. 6: Hutchinson told the committee she heard the names of two far-right groups, the Proud Boys and Oath Keeper, mentioned leading up to Jan. 6, 2021. “I recall hearing the word ‘Oath Keeper’ and hearing the word ‘Proud Boys’ closer to the planning of the January 6 rally, when Mr. Giuliani would be around,” Hutchinson said in a video the committee played of one of her previous depositions. Rep. Cheney noted that “Hutchinson has no detailed knowledge of any planning involving the Proud Boys for Jan. 6.” Dozens of people connected to the Proud Boys have been arrested for their alleged participation in the Capitol riot, and leaders of both groups have been charged with seditious conspiracy for their alleged role that day, some of whom provided security that day for allies to Trump, including Roger Stone.  
  • Meadows told Hutchinson "things might get real, real bad on Jan. 6": Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told his aide Cassidy Hutchinson on Jan. 2, 2021, that "things might get real, real bad on Jan. 6," she testified on Tuesday. She said he told her this after she spoke with former President Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, who told her "something to the effect of 'we're going to the Capitol.'" Hutchinson said that Meadows "was scrolling through his phone; I remember leaning against the doorway and saying, 'I just had an interesting conversation with Rudy, Mark. It sounds like we're going to go to the Capitol.' He didn't look up from his phone and said something to the effect of 'there's a lot going on, Cass, but I don't know, things might get real, real bad on Jan. 6." She said: "That evening was the first moment that I remember feeling scared and nervous for what could happen on Jan. 6." Hutchinson testified that she heard a secondhand account of how Trump was so enraged at his Secret Service detail for blocking him from going to the Capitol on January 6 that he lunged to the front of his presidential limo and tried to turn the wheel. 
  • Days before the riot, Giuliani said "we’re going to the Capitol": Hutchinson testified Tuesday that Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani told her on Jan. 2, 2021 – four days before the US Capitol was attacked by Trump supporters – that “we’re going to the Capitol” on January 6, and that President Trump himself was also planning to be there. “Cass, are you excited for the 6th? It’s going to be a great day. … We’re going to the Capitol. It’s going to be great. The president is going to be there, it’s going to look powerful,” Giuliani said, according to Hutchinson, who also said Giuliani told her that Trump would be with members of Congress that day. It was previously known that Trump wanted to go to the Capitol on January 6, but Hutchinson’s testimony establishes for the first time that people around Trump had advance knowledge of this plan.
  • Hutchinson says Trump’s conduct on Jan. 6 was "un-American" and "unpatriotic" Hutchinson said Trump’s behavior on Jan. 6 was “unpatriotic” and ‘un-American." The committee asked Hutchinson to describe her real-time reaction from January 6, when Trump slammed Vice President Mike Pence in a tweet at 2:24 p.m. ET, which was after his supporters invaded the Capitol, forcing Pence, lawmakers, and staffers to run for their lives. "As a staffer… I remember feeling frustrated, disappointed, and really it felt personal. It was really sad,” Hutchinson said. “As an American, I was disgusted. It was unpatriotic. It was un-American. We're watching the capitol building get defaced over a lie. And it was something that was really hard in that moment to digest… I still struggle to work through the emotions of that."
5:21 p.m. ET, June 28, 2022

Trump attempts to cast Hutchinson's testimony on Tuesday as revenge

From CNN's Gabby Orr and Pamela Brown

Cassidy Hutchinson testifies during a hearing held by the House Select Committee on Tuesday.
Cassidy Hutchinson testifies during a hearing held by the House Select Committee on Tuesday. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

Reacting in real time to the damning testimony of former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, former President Donald Trump claimed on Tuesday he "hardly know[s]" Hutchinson, and personally rejected a request she made to join his post-presidency staff at Mar-a-Lago.

"When she requested to go with certain others of my team to Florida after my having served a full term in office, I personally turned her request down," Trump said on Truth Social during Hutchinson's live testimony to the House panel investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the Capitol.

Trump attempted to cast Hutchinson's testimony on Tuesday as revenge, claiming she was "very upset and angry that I didn't want her" at his Palm Beach residence.

The former President's attempt to distance himself from Hutchinson, who he described as "bad news" on Tuesday, came after the committee showed renderings of the West Wing to demonstrate just how close she was to the Oval Office as an assistant to Meadows. Multiple former White House aides also publicly vouched for Hutchinson's proximity to Trump and his chief of staff before and during her appearance on Tuesday. 

"Anyone downplaying Cassidy Hutchinson's role or her access in the West Wing either doesn't understand how the Trump [White House] worked or is attempting to discredit her because they're scared of how damning this testimony is," tweeted former White House deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews. 

In response to this, one former White House aide said, “everyone high up at the White House knew her. And even if Trump didn’t know her name, he most certainly recognized her. She traveled on Air Force One with Mark for every trip.”

Cassidy Hutchinson, center, and then-White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany watch then-President Trump speak to journalists aboard Air Force One in September 2020.
Cassidy Hutchinson, center, and then-White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany watch then-President Trump speak to journalists aboard Air Force One in September 2020. (Tom Brenner/Reuters)

Hutchinson may not be a well-known name outside of Trump world, but she was an access point to the inside of it when Meadows was the former President's chief of staff. If lawmakers wanted to get in touch with Trump, they called Hutchinson, not the White House switchboard. When they had a message to push to Meadows, they rang Hutchinson, not the legislative affairs staffer, as reported by CNN's Kaitlan Collins.

Trump has previously downplayed his relationship to key witnesses who have cooperated with the House probe. 

Days after the committee revealed that Trump's former body man, Nick Luna, testified that he called then-Vice President Mike Pence a "wimp" on Jan. 6, 2021, the former President denied doing so and said he didn't know who the aide was. 

"One guy got up and said that he heard me calling Mike Pence a wimp ... I don't even know who these people are," Trump told a crowd in Nashville earlier this month. 

But days later, British filmmaker Alex Holden, who has also testified before the committee, released a video clip of Trump personally directing Luna – by name – to help properly stage one of his on-camera interviews for Holden's documentary.

Trump has often attempted to downplay his familiarity with aides and allies with whom he was once close.