Trump urged Secret Service to admit armed supporters on Jan. 6, witness testifies

A former White House aide testified on Tuesday that former… President Trump urged the Secret Service to allow his armed supporters to attend the speech he delivered on January 6, 2021, ahead of the Capitol riots.

“I don’t care if they have guns. They are not here to hurt me. Get those f***ing mags out,” Trump said, according to Cassidy Hutchinson, apparently referring to metal detectors — or magnometers — that prevented armed Trump supporters from entering the locked area where he was speaking.

Hutchinson, who was an aide to Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows, testified before the House select committee on the Capitol Rebellion that Trump said at the time, “Let my people in. They can march to the Capitol from here. Let the people in. “Get those damn magazines out.”

White House deputy chief of staff Tony Ornato apparently warned Meadows on Jan. 6 that the crowd appeared poised for violence, with some supporters arriving armed with knives, rifles, bear spray, body armor, spears and flagpoles. Hutchinson testified that Meadows did not look up from his phone to address Ornato and only asked if he had informed Trump. Ornato replied that he had.

Hutchinson testified that Meadows had “almost lack of response” to the Capitol uprising.

She said Trump became furious when the Secret Service told him not to visit the Capitol after his comments, and tried to take the driver’s wheel.

She testified that Ornato told her that when Trump got into his presidential vehicle, known as the “beast,” Mr. Meadows’ president “had the impression that an off-the-record move to the Capitol was still possible and likely was going to happen” but that Secret Service agent Bobby Engel “had more information.”

Hutchinson said Engel then told the president they couldn’t go to the Capitol because the Secret Service wasn’t prepared and it wasn’t safe.

“The president reacted very strongly to that,” Hutchinson said. Tony described him as furious. The president said something along the lines of, ‘I’m the effing president, take me to the Capitol now.’”

“Bobby replied, ‘Sir, we need to get back to the West Wing,'” she testified. “The president reached to the front of the vehicle to grab the steering wheel. Mr. Engel grabbed his arm and said, “Sir, you must take your hand off the steering wheel. We’re going back to the West Wing. We’re not going to the Capitol.” Mr. Trump then used his free hand to lunge at Bobby Engel and when Mr. Ornato told me this story, he gestured to his collarbones.”

Earlier in the day, White House attorneys urged speechwriters not to talk about marching to the Capitol in Trump’s speech, Hutchinson testified.

She said Trump wanted to say things like:“Fight for Trump,” “We’re going to march to the Capitol,” and other words about Vice President Mike Pence.

White House Attorney Eric Herschmann said it would be “foolish” to comply with some of Trump’s requests. White House attorney Pat Cipollone said it would be a mistake to march to the Capitol, Hutchinson said.

“We will be charged with every crime imaginable if we make that move possible,” Hutchinson quoted Cipollone as saying before Jan. 6.

She testified that House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy called her after Trump said he was marching to the Capitol.

“He sounded rushed and also frustrated and angry with me,” she testified of McCarthy, who reportedly told her, “Don’t come up here.”

Hutchinson’s testimony came at a surprise hearing the committee had announced just a day earlier, saying it would “present recently obtained evidence and receive witness statements.”

Former Acting Trump White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney called the testimony “explosive” and said he believes Hutchinson is telling the truth.

“My guess is that before this is over, we’ll be hearing testimonials from Ornato, Engle and Meadows,” he said. “This is explosive stuff. If Cassidy is making this up, they should say so. If she isn’t, they’ll have to confirm. I know her. I don’t think she’s lying.”

The committee currently has two more hearings scheduled for July as the Democrat-led panel works to argue that Trump intended to undermine American democracy.

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