OnPolitics: Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testifies to Jan. 6 panel

·5 min read
Jan. 6 live updates: Cheney backs Hutchinson, 'absolutely confident in her credibility'

Hello, OnPolitics readers.

The tragic deaths of dozens of migrants found in an abandoned tractor-trailer outside of San Antonio, Texas Monday prompted President Joe Biden to defend his administration's immigration policies.

The migrants were believed to have been smuggled over the U.S.-Mexico border. At least 50 have died as of Tuesday.

"This incident underscores the need to go after the multi-billion dollar criminal smuggling industry preying on migrants and leading to far too many innocent deaths," Biden said in a statement.

But some Republicans, including Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, blamed the Biden administration for the tragedy as well as a record number of illegal crossings at the southern border.

"These deaths are on Biden," Abbott tweeted Monday. "They are a result of his deadly open border policies. They show the deadly consequences of his refusal to enforce the law."

In May, U.S. Customs and Border Protection encountered over 230,000 migrants at the southern border, an uptick from April, which was the highest total for one month in 22 years.

It's Amy and Chelsey with today's news out of Washington.

Jan. 6 committee calls 'mystery witness'

The Jan. 6 committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol created intrigue ahead of a sudden hearing held Tuesday afternoon by keeping its sole witness under wraps until late Monday evening. The witness was later revealed to be Cassidy Hutchinson, once a senior aide to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.

Hutchinson's role placed her in close proximity to major players in the insurrection, such as former President Donald Trump, White House attorneys Pat Cipollone and Eric Herschmann.

The White House aide's bombshell testimony included revelations that Trump asked to allow armed people through security so that more of his supporters could attend his speech at the Ellipse on the morning of Jan. 6, 2021. The former president then asked the crowd to travel straight to the Capitol from the National Mall.

When Trump's security detail insisted on taking him to the West Wing of the White House instead of the Capitol after the event, Trump tried to grab the steering wheel of the presidential limo, then lunged at the head of his security detail, Robert Engel, Hutchinson said.

Trump was also reluctant to give a speech the day after the attack condemning the violence. Hutchinson said she remembered Meadows; Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner; White House attorneys Eric Herschmann, Pat Cipollone and Pat Philbin; and former White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany having to convince Trump to change his mind about giving the speech.

During Hutchinson's testimony, Trump posted on his Truth Social website that "I hardly know who this person, Cassidy Hutchinson, is, other than I heard very negative things about her."

Who is Cassidy Hutchinson?: The former White House aide rose quickly through the ranks and, at 26, is the youngest person to testify before the committee.

Real quick: stories you'll want to read

  • Pentagon performed 91 abortions: The military performed 91 abortions at its treatment facilities from 2016 through 2021, according to newly released documents from the Pentagon.

  • Indictments for Flint water crisis marked invalid: A lower court judge does not have the authority to issue indictments in the Flint water scandal, the Michigan Supreme Court found Tuesday, invalidating charges against former Gov. Rick Snyder, his health director and seven other people.

  • Biden and NATO's plan on Ukraine: Biden had hoped to use this week’s NATO summit as a platform to plead his case for maintaining support for the war in Ukraine. But domestic upheaval over abortion rights, gun violence and economic turbulence threaten to overshadow Biden’s message about the urgent need to send Ukraine more weapons.

  • 'This is not over': Vice President Kamala Harris warned Monday that other established rights such as same-sex marriage and access to contraception could come under assault from the Supreme Court next following the high court's decision Friday to overturn Roe v. Wade.

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Midterm races to watch in tonight's primaries

Tuesday primaries feature themes that have marked the entire 2022 election year: a big state governor's race, incumbents running against each other in new congressional districts and a high-profile contest for the normally low-profile job of secretary of state.

Of course, there are local differences in every race: The Republican primary for secretary of state in Colorado features a county clerk under indictment over unsuccessful efforts to find voter fraud in Donald Trump's loss of the 2020 presidential election.

Democrats and Republicans are voting in the states of New York, Colorado, Illinois, Oklahoma and Utah, with many of the races featuring incumbents who are favored to win both Tuesday and in the fall general elections.

New York's two-part election: Party disputes over redistricting led to the two-part primary setup that could reduce turnout, increase friction between the parties and confuse large numbers of voters, political analysts said.

"It's a total mess," said Grant Reeher, director of the Campbell Public Affairs Institute at Syracuse University's Maxwell School. "It was an embarrassment to the state. ... It doesn't serve the interests of the voters."

Intraparty battles in Illinois: The drawing of new congressional lines – based on the 2020 Census – has forced incumbents to run against incumbents in newly drawn districts. Illinois has two internecine battles Tuesday, one in each party.

Need help getting an abortion? Social media users have been sharing critical resources for those whose constitutional right to get an abortion had suddenly been taken away. -- Amy and Chelsey

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: The Jan. 6 panel interviewed Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson

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