Trump was warned that cabinet was considering using 25th amendment, aide testifies

WASHINGTON — Former President Donald Trump’s staff warned him that his actions on Jan. 6, 2021, could amount to criminal behavior. They unsuccessfully pleaded with him to desist from rioters looting the Capitol and threatening former Vice President Mike Pence. And after the riots subsided and one of the most chaotic days in American history was over, a former aide testified Tuesday, telling him his cabinet members were discussing appealing for the 25th Amendment to remove him from office.

Cassidy Hutchinson, a former top aide to Trump’s former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and a real fly on the wall at the events and meetings leading up to the Capitol uprising, testified at length on Tuesday that Trump was often furious and lashed out at staff as he attempted to to remain in power after losing the 2020 elections. His behavior, she said, had led cabinet members to consider a remedy allowed by the US Constitution.

Trump’s top advisers and White House attorneys urged him to deliver a speech to the nation on January 7, 2021, the day after the attack, as a means of saving his legacy — and also a ​possible move by his own cabinet members to oust him using the 25th amendment.

“There was a great concern that the 25th Amendment might be invoked and there were concerns about what would happen in the Senate if it were — if the 25th were invoked,” Hutchinson said. Part of their pitch to Trump was, she said“You need this as a cover.”

Cassidy Hutchinson, a former top aide to Mark Meadows, Trump's White House chief of staff, testifies during the House Select Committee's sixth hearing into the January 6 attack on the US Capitol at the Cannon House Office Building on June 28, 2022 in Washington to investigate.  , DC.  (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

Cassidy Hutchinson, a former top aide to Mark Meadows, Trump’s White House chief of staff, testifies during the House Select Committee’s sixth hearing into the January 6 attack on the US Capitol at the Cannon House Office Building on June 28, 2022 in Washington to investigate. , DC. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

Trump’s lawyers, including Pat Philbin and Pat Cipollone, wanted him to convict the rioters, promise to prosecute them and recognize that the election was not stolen. In contrast, Trump tried to offer them a general pardon in the speech, Hutchinson testified. While Trump eventually recorded the speechciting prosecution or pardon, he again falsely claimed to have won the 2020 election.

The 25th Amendment allows the vice president and members of the cabinet to install the vice president in the role of president if the incumbent president is incapacitated. In the six hearings of 6 selected committees to date, Trump’s own former aides and advisers have repeatedly described Trump being almost out of touch with reality, refusing to accept his loss and pushing conspiracy theories to claim he had the 2020 election. won.

Last week, told former Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue that he had investigated Trump’s many false allegations of voter fraud. He expressed his surprise that when he told Trump there was no evidence, instead of getting mad, Trump simply suggested a new conspiracy theory. In one case, Trump had his acting defense secretary, Chris Miller, contact Italian officials to ask if they were using defense satellites to alter the vote for Biden.

And after a meeting between Trump and then Attorney General William Barr in early December 2020, after Barr told the Associated Press there was no evidence of fraud, Hutchinson recalled walking into the White House dining room and found a broken china plate. and found ketchup along the wall. Trump had thrown his lunch against the wall in a fit of rage.

“Ketchup was dripping down the wall and there was a shattered china plate on the floor,” Hutchinson said.

A slide shown during the House selection committee hearing on Tuesday

A slide shown Tuesday during the House selection committee hearing. (House TV)

During her two-hour testimony at Tuesday’s surprise hearing, Hutchinson shared how he seemed increasingly furious and out of control as he tried to defy the peaceful transfer of power on Jan. 6.

When Secret Service agents refused to drive Trump to the Capitol, the former president became angry, Hutchinson said, and… he told them“I’m the effing president, take me to the capitol now!”

When Trump was warned that armed protesters with AR-15s, pistols and body armor had gathered outside his “Stop the Steal” rally, which later turned into a riotous mob attacking the Capitol, Trump demanded that the Secret Service remove the magnetometers ( or “mags”) intended to filter out potential threats to the president.

“They’re not coming after me,” Trump said, according to Hutchinson.

A slide shown during a hearing of a selected House committee

(House TV)

When he left after the speech he gave to his supporters, Trump demanded that his Secret Service take him to the Capitol to address lawmakers. When they refused, citing the need to protect him, Trump lunged to try to grab the wheel of his own limousine, Hutchinson said.

As the attack on the Capitol unfolded, Hutchinson described Trump as effectively shielded from his advisers and talked about her efforts to get Meadows to warn Trump of the gravity of what was happening.

Fox News host Sean Hannity spoke to Trump later that day, letting him know he could be removed from office via the 25th Amendment or impeachment, Rep. Liz Cheney at Tuesday’s hearing.

Hutchinson recalled then Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was laying the groundwork for his own potential White House bid at the time, and told Meadows that the other cabinet members were actively debating whether to invoke the 25th Amendment.

(House TV)

(House TV)

Indeed, former Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos told: USA todaylater that she had talked to Pence about invoking the 25th Amendment, but that Pence had shot the idea.

“I wanted to better understand the law itself and see if it was applicable in this case. There were more than a few people who had those conversations internally,” DeVos told USA Today. She later concluded that she was unlikely to work and resigned on January 7, 2021.

Pence, who faced the wrath of the Trump mob on Jan. 6, should have signed the plan to implement it. In a January 12, 2021 letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Pence wrote that the nation should heal after the attack, rather than seek the removal of Trump.

“The Bible says there is a time for everything and a time for every purpose under heaven…a time to heal…and a time to build up.” Pence wrote to Pelosi. “That time is now.”

The rioters came within two doors of Vice President Mike Pence’s office. See how in this 3D tutorial from Yahoo Immersive.

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