Jan. 6 live coverage: Meadows, Giuliani dispute testimony that they sought pardons

·8 min read

WASHINGTON – Members of the House committee investigating the Capitol attack Jan. 6, 2021, are calling for more Trump administration witnesses to testify, to build on evidence and testimony already collected, including bombshell revelations Tuesday from former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson.

The latest on the Jan. 6 investigation:

  • Cheney again calls on Cipollone to talk: The Jan. 6 committee's vice chair, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., called at the end of the last two hearings for former White House counsel Pat Cipollone to testify because he was in a key position to know how former President Donald Trump prepared for Jan. 6 and how he reacted to the attack.

  • Committee chair made plea to potential witnesses: In a closing statement, committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., told potential witnesses, "if you've suddenly remembered things you forgot, or gained some courage ... our door is open."

  • What's next for the committee?: The committee has not scheduled another hearing. Tuesday's was the sixth in a series on the committee's findings.

Cassidy Hutchinson's 'combustible' testimony: Surprise Jan. 6 witness, quietly drops bombshells

Mark Meadows, Rudy Giuliani deny seeking pardons from Donald Trump

Two former Donald Trump aides – White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and attorney Rudy Giuliani – are pushing back on an official's testimony that they sought preemptive pardons for actions around the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection.

"Meadows never sought a pardon and never planned to," said spokesman Ben Williamson.

Giuliani tweeted: "I specifically told President Trump I did not want or need a pardon."

During explosive testimony Tuesday, former Meadows aide Cassidy Hutchinson listed him and Giuliani as two of a number of officials who sought pardons from Trump before he left office.

“Mr. Meadows did seek that pardon," she told the Jan. 6 investigation committee.

– David Jackson

Officers who defended Capitol react to Hutchinson testimony

Some of the most outspoken law enforcement officers who defended the Capitol on Jan. 6 sounded off about former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony Tuesday before the Jan. 6 committee.

D.C. Metropolitan police officer Daniel Hodges, speaking to NBC News, put his reaction in stark terms: “I mean, the president of the United States set us up.”

Harry Dunn, a U.S. Capitol police officer, lamented on Twitter that witnesses coming forward now didn’t do more before the attack on the Capitol but still blamed former President Donald Trump for the riot.

“The blame belongs SOLELY with the former president and the people who attacked us,” Dunn tweeted. “PERIOD.”

– Rick Rouan

Trump's rage: Hutchinson testimony paints president as unhinged at end of term

Hutchinson’s testimony painted a picture of a president prone to outrage as his efforts to overturn the 2020 election failed and the end of his term drew to a close.

Hutchinson told the Jan. 6 committee that Trump was so-enraged by a December 2020 story from the Associated Press in which ex-Attorney General Bill Barr said he found no evidence of widespread voter fraud that he threw his lunch against the wall, shattering a porcelain plate and sending ketchup dripping down the wall.

Then, as he left the Jan. 6 rally at the Ellipse, Trump tried to grab the steering wheel of the vehicle he had just entered when he learned that his security detail would not take him to the Capitol.

– Rick Rouan

Trump White House knew of potential for violence on Jan. 6, Hutchinson says

Former President Donald Trump and his top aides knew there was a threat of violence on Jan. 6, but they moved forward anyway with a plan to remain in power.

Ex-White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson said Tuesday that she overheard Trump tell staff on Jan. 6 that he was unconcerned about people carrying weapons to his rally that preceded the riot at the Capitol, and his top aides knew before that day that violence was possible.

“They’re not here to hurt me,” Trump said, according to Hutchinson.

Cassidy Hutchinson portrayed Trump as so unhinged in his final days in office that he lunged at a Secret Service agent and smashed dishes.

– Rick Rouan

In case you missed it: Miss Day 6 of the Jan. 6 hearing? Trump knew mob was armed and dangerous, bombshell witness says

Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, describes the actions of former US President Donald Trump during a House Select Committee hearing to Investigate the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol, in the Cannon House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington on June 28, 2022.
Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, describes the actions of former US President Donald Trump during a House Select Committee hearing to Investigate the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol, in the Cannon House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington on June 28, 2022.

Historians say Hutchinson’s testimony a ‘big deal’

Two notable figures in American history – one a historian, another a major player in another White House scandal –said Hutchinson’s testimony could potentially change the course of history.

"Never in history have we ever heard credible testimony before Congress this shocking against a President of the United States," tweeted noted presidential historian Michael Beschloss.

John Dean, a former White House counsel who was imprisoned in the Watergate scandal of President Richard Nixon, said Hutchinson’s testimony "WAS A BIG DEAL AND IT WILL GROW BIGGER!”

– Rick Rouan

Ginni Thomas lawyer sees no need for her to testify, despite two Jan. 6 committee requests

Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, might not testify before the committee, after all.

The committee sought her testimony twice, after learning she was exchanging texts with former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and emails with former President Donald Trump’s lawyer, John Eastman.

Ginni Thomas told The Daily Caller on June 16 she was eager to testify. But her lawyer, Mark Paoletta, responded Tuesday to the committee’s formal request with an eight-page letter questioning why her testimony was needed at all. He said the emails with Eastman, texts with Meadows and a letter she sent to state lawmakers about alleged election fraud provided no basis for an interview.

“As she has already indicated, Mrs. Thomas is eager to clear her name and is willing to appear before the Committee to do so,” Paoletta wrote in the letter . “However, based on my understanding of the communications that spurred the Committee’s request, I do not understand the need to speak with Mrs. Thomas.”

– Bart Jansen

Cheney pushes Cipollone to testify to Jan. 6 committee

Cheney repeated her request for former White House counsel Pat Cipollone to testify in a Wednesday morning tweet.

Hutchinson in her testimony described Cipollone warning against allowing Trump to visit the Capitol with the mob of his supporters because he could be charged with “every crime imaginable.”

“It’s time for Mr. Cippollone to testify on the record,” Cheney said in a tweet. “Any concerns he has about the institutional interests of his prior office are outweighed by the need for his testimony.”

A breakdown of what happened Tuesday: Jan. 6 takeaways: An angry Trump pushed to go to Capitol, counsel warned of 'every crime imaginable'

Hutchinson said Trump demanded to visit Capitol on Jan. 6

Hutchinson also told the committee the White House deputy chief of staff for operations, Anthony Ornato, described Trump demanding to head toward the Capitol as his security detail drove him back to the White House after his rally Jan. 6, 2021.

Ornato described Trump trying to grab the wheel of the vehicle and lunging for one of his Secret Service agents, according to Hutchinson.

"The president said something to the effect of: ‘I am the f---ing president. Take me up to the Capitol now,’” Hutchinson quoted Ornato as telling her.

What are 'mags': And why did ex-Meadows aide bring them up at the Jan. 6 hearings?

Secret Service to respond after Hutchinson testified about Trump scuffle in vehicle

NBC reported that Robert Engel, the lead agent assigned to Trump’s vehicle, and the driver were both prepared to testify under oath that neither man was assaulted and that Trump never tried to grab the wheel.

The Secret Service issued a statement saying it "has been cooperating fully with the select committee since it’s inception in spring of 2021 and we will continue to do so including by responding formally and on the record to the committee regarding new allegations that surfaced in today’s testimony."

Trump's anger over the election: Trump's rage over election led to dish-throwing, assaulting Secret Service agent, aide says

Hutchinson lawyer challenges other witnesses to testify

In response to the NBC report, Hutchinson's lawyer, Jody Hunt, challenged other potential witnesses to testify under oath about the Trump episode in his car.

"Ms. Hutchinson testified, under oath, and recounted what she was told," Hunt said. "Those with knowledge of the episode also should testify under oath."

White House Counsel Pat Cipollone exits the U.S. Capitol after meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on December 12, 2019 in Washington, DC.
White House Counsel Pat Cipollone exits the U.S. Capitol after meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on December 12, 2019 in Washington, DC.

Hutchinson said Cipollone warned against Trump visiting Capitol

Cipollone stressed on Jan. 3, 2021, and Jan. 6, 2021, that Trump shouldn’t visit the Capitol because the movement could expose him to criminal charges such as inciting a riot, Hutchinson said.

"We're going to get charged with every crime imaginable if we make that movement happen," Hutchinson quoted Cipollone as saying Jan. 6.

“We need to make sure that this doesn’t happen,” Hutchinson quoted Cipollone as telling her Jan. 3. “This would be legally a terrible idea for us. We have serious legal concerns if we go up to the Capitol that day.”

Who is Cassidy Hutchinson?: Cassidy Hutchinson testifies at Jan. 6 hearing. Who is the former aide to Mark Meadows?

Jan. 6 panel hears state election officials describe pressure, targeting from Trump and allies
Jan. 6 panel hears state election officials describe pressure, targeting from Trump and allies

Hutchinson: Trump knew mob was armed

Police notified White House officials that people near where Trump would be speaking Jan. 6 were armed with AR-15-style rifles and Glock-style pistols.

But Hutchinson said Trump wasn’t worried and he urged security officials to get rid of metal detectors so that a bigger crowd could watch his speech.

"They're not here to hurt me," Hutchinson quoted Trump as saying. “Let the people in.”

Rudy Giuliani and Mark Meadows sought pardons: Trump allies Rudy Giuliani and Mark Meadows sought pardons related to Jan. 6 attack, testimony reveals

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Meadows, Giuliani push back on seeking of pardons: Jan. 6 live updates

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