WASHINGTON– The Jan. 6 committee released another batch of transcripts on Tuesday, including two more of its interviews with Blockbuster witness Cassidy Hutchinson and testimonies from several other Trump White House officials, CNN reported.
The latest series reveals new details about Hutchinson’s dueling allegiances that led her to eventually switch lawyers and make scathing testimonies about what she saw and heard in the White House after the 2020 election.
One of the transcripts released Tuesday was her final testimony with her first, Trump-funded attorney, Stefan Passantino, conducted on May 17. She soon hired a new attorney, Jody Hunt, and sat for another testimony on June 20, a transcript of which was also released Tuesday. That was just eight days before she surprisingly testified at the committee’s sixth public hearing on Jan. 6.
The latest cache of transcripts also revealed some of the rumours, gossip, and wild conspiracies that had been swirling around the White House — including talk of QAnon conspiracies — while then-President Donald Trump refused to back down and sought to overturn the election results.
Tug of war over Hutchinson’s loyalty
The new batch of transcripts shows the deepening rift between Hutchinson, the former White House adviser to Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows, and Passantino, just weeks before she hired a new attorney. The two have argued several times, according to the transcript of her May statement, and Passantino has interrupted Hutchinson on a number of occasions, interrupting her with warnings about her statement and sometimes trying to refine what she was saying.
However, during the testimony, Passantino Hutchinson said he was not “trying to shape what you say at all,” according to the transcript. Passantino has denied any wrongdoing, saying he represented her “honorably” and “ethically”.
The May interview began with questions about whether Trump agreed with chants by some rioters calling for then-Vice President Mike Pence to be hanged.
Hutchinson said she has not heard those comments firsthand, but said she heard Meadows mention those comments to two White House attorneys. Then Passatino interrupted the line of questioning and warned Hutchinson not to inadvertently disclose privileged legal advice.
She further testified that she heard Meadows say Trump thought “maybe the chants were justified.” That detail was one of the worst things to come out of her testimony and featured prominently at the panel’s public hearings.
When Hutchinson continued to testify about Trump’s alleged reaction to the chants, Passantino stepped in again.
“I don’t want to interrupt or influence what you’re saying here,” he said, before offering another take on Trump’s reaction to the anti-Pence chants. He told lawmakers he believed “the President said they might be right,” rather than offering a clear, affirmative view that according to the transcripts, Pence should be executed.
After Hutchinson split from Passantino, her new attorney told the Jan. 6 committee during her testimony in June that, according to the newly released transcript, she needed to clarify and “correct” some of her previous statements.
Hunt, the new attorney, told the committee that Hutchinson had things she would like to clarify, put into context and “correct in some respects.”
“She wants to be clear about that,” Hunt said, thanking the committee for the opportunity to address Hutchinson’s earlier statement.
Hutchinson took the committee through the transcripts of her first two interviews to clarify and explain a number of things she had said.
She went on to offer a significant amount of new and scathing testimony about Trump’s actions on January 6, 2021.
Burned documents and close hold meetings in the Oval Office
Meadows urged White House staffers to keep some Oval Office meetings “close” during the transition period and possibly keep meetings off the books, according to one of Hutchinson’s transcripts.
Hutchinson also testified that there were “certain things that might have been left out,” the Oval Office diary.
Hutchinson said she remembered Meadows having a meeting in late November or early December 2020 where he told outer Oval Office staff, “Let’s have some meetings nearby.” We’ll talk about what that means, but for now we’re going to keep things real tight and private so things don’t leak out.”
She testified that she couldn’t remember if there was any specific information that Meadows wanted to “keep close by.” She said she was not aware of any explicit instructions Meadows gave to keep the Jan. 6 information “in limbo.”
She also told the committee that she saw Meadows burn documents in his office fireplace about a dozen times — about once or twice a week — between December 2020 and mid-January 2021.
On several occasions, Hutchinson said, she was in Meadow’s office when he threw documents down the fireplace after a meeting. At least twice, the burning came after meetings with GOP Rep. Scott Perry, a Pennsylvania Republican who has been linked to efforts to use the Justice Department to overthrow the 2020 election. Politico has previously reported that Meadows allegedly burned documents after meeting Perry.
Hutchinson said she didn’t know what the documents were, whether they were original copies, or whether they were required by law to be retained.
QAnon conspiracy discussions at the White House
Hutchinson reported to the committee about several discussions in the White House about QAnon conspiracies.
In her June interview — the fourth she’d had with the panel — Hutchinson described a discussion about QAnon during a December 2020 meeting with Meadows, then-President Trump, and Republican congressmen including Georgia GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene .
“I recall Marjorie Taylor Greene addressing QAnon several times, in the presence of the President, privately with Mark,” Hutchinson testified. “I remember Mark also having a few conversations — more specifically about QAnon stuff and more about the idea they had with the election and, you know, not so much planning the January 6th rally .”
In her May interview, Hutchinson said she also recalled Greene addressing QAnon while Trump was at a rally in Georgia on Jan. 4, 2021.
“Ms. Greene came to us and started talking to us about QAnon and QAnon going to the rally and she had a lot of voters who are QAnon and they will all be there,” Hutchinson said. “And she showed him pictures of them traveling to Washington DC for the rally on the 6th.”
Hutchinson also testified that Trump adviser Peter Navarro would pass her materials on the election to Meadows. “And at one point I had said sarcastically, ‘Oh, is that from your QAnon friends, Peter?’ Because Peter frequently spoke to me about his QAnon friends,” Hutchinson testified.
“He said, ‘Have you dealt with that yet, Cass? I think they point to a lot of good ideas. You really have to read this.
Rep. Liz Cheney, the panel’s top Republican, asked Hutchinson if Navarro was being sarcastic about his QAnon friends.
“I didn’t take it as sarcasm,” Hutchinson said. “During my tenure as chief of staff, he frequently contributed memos and powerpoints on various policy proposals that — he then expanded on, you know, ‘Q says that.'”
Rumors in the White House about a concession from Trump
Former White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere testified before the Jan. 6 committee that in the week after the 2020 election he heard “gossip” from his peers that Trump was considering inviting the Bidens to the White House.
“In the week after the election, there were rumors around the building that he was considering quitting,” he told the panel, according to a transcript of his testimony released Tuesday.
Deere said Trump is “even strongly considering inviting the President-elect and the new First Lady to the White House.”
He added, “As the deputy press secretary responsible for ensuring that the protected press pool has access to him at all times … I was very inclined to learn more about whether the President-elect and the incoming First Lady would pay a visit.” “
Congressional investigators urged Deere to reveal where he heard the rumors from, but he said he couldn’t remember. Trump apparently did not back down to Biden and instead attempted to overturn the election results, leading to the January 6 violent storming of the US Capitol.
The video in the player above is from a previous report.
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