On Monday the media was all atwitter with wild speculation over an announcement from the January 6 Committee that it is holding a hearing today at 1:00 p.m. ET with an unnanmed witness to present newly discovered evidence.
JUST IN: The Jan. 6 committee has scheduled a short-notice hearing to share recently obtained evidence. pic.twitter.com/Ijn96X8sfi
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) June 27, 2022
Apparently reporters now know who the mystery witness is … not so much a mystery, she has previously been described in the media as the John Dean of the January 6 Committee. And she has previoulsy appeared as a witness, including just last week.
CONFIRMED: Cassidy HUTCHINSON, the former aide to Mark Meadows, is the featured witness at tomorrow's surprise hearing of the Jan. 6 select committee.
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) June 28, 2022
HUTCHINSON testified three times to the Jan. 6 select committee already — in Feb, March and May.
She provided extraordinary details about West Wing machinations before Jan. 6.https://t.co/OrhXQJwjXf
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) June 28, 2022
IMPORTANT: We still don't know *WHY* the select committee expedited her hearing, or whether she'll be accompanied by other witnesses who may be able to corroborate her testimony.
That is a question that is perhaps more important than her testimony.https://t.co/OrhXQJwjXf
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) June 28, 2022
Politico reports, Former Meadows aide to testify in surprise Jan. 6 committee hearing:
The Jan. 6 select committee is set to hear from a onetime top aide to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on Tuesday, an abruptly scheduled hearing whose announcement riveted Washington.
Cassidy Hutchinson will testify publicly, according to two people familiar with the committee’s plans, after providing crucial testimony to the panel about significant exchanges among Donald Trump’s inner circle in the weeks before the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Hutchinson replaced her attorney earlier this month as the select committee’s hearings began; her former attorney was the Trump White House’s chief ethics lawyer, and her new attorney is a longtime ally of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Earlier Monday the select panel announced a surprise hearing, with about 24 hours’ notice, “to present recently obtained evidence and receive witness testimony.” That statement included no details on the testimony or witnesses — and the sudden schedule change intensified intrigue in Washington, where the panel has mounted a carefully choreographed set of hearings about the former president’s election subversion.
It’s unclear why the panel expedited Hutchinson’s hearing, or whether she will appear alongside other significant witnesses. Hutchinson was present during meetings between Meadows and multiple House Republicans who aided Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election. Snippets of her video deposition supported the committee’s contention that several of those Republicans later sought presidential pardons.
Hutchinson also provided testimony to the committee that Meadows burned some of his papers after a meeting with Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), who was advocating for Trump to replace the leadership of the Justice Department in service of his effort to remain in power. Lengthy excerpts of Hutchinson’s testimony have already been made public as part of the committee’s litigation against Meadows, who sued to block a subpoena for his own testimony and records.
Among other revelations Hutchinson helped unearth: that the White House counsel informed members of Trump’s team that it believed a plan to authorize alternative slates of presidential electors was illegal. She also described Meadows’ movements on Jan. 6, as chaos began to unfold at the Capitol.
“I know that he was on several calls during the rally. And I went over to meet with him at one point, and he had just waved me away, which is out of the ordinary,” Hutchinson recalled.
She also recalled hearing of Trump’s Jan. 6 movements on a Secret Service radio channel that broadcast his location to West Wing aides. That channel helped her discern that Trump was in the Oval Office dining room after his rally speech that afternoon.
The select committee’s schedule shift was particularly jarring after the panel had foreshadowed a two-week hiatus to assess and analyze a flood of new evidence. The committee’s chair, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), told reporters last week that investigators were poring over new documentary footage from a British filmmaker who had access to Trump and his family before and after Jan. 6. The panel was also anticipating a new tranche of documents from the National Archives, due to arrive on July 8.
The committee had been planning at least two additional hearings in mid-July; one would be focused on the nexus between Trump’s orbit and domestic extremists like the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, with the other zeroing in on Trump’s 187 minutes of inaction as violent supporters ransacked the Capitol and threatened the lives of lawmakers and then-Vice President Mike Pence.
The panel had originally intended to hold roughly a half-dozen public hearings in June to present its findings, though investigators had cautioned the schedule was subject to change as new evidence emerged. The select panel has maintained its investigative work even as it ramped up its pace of hearings.
Committee aides and members were tight-lipped about the substance of the hearing but were clear that it was scheduled with extreme urgency, interrupting what many of them had planned to be a quieter-than-usual week. Hutchinson’s identity as a witness on Tuesday was first reported by Punchbowl News.
Documentary filmmaker Alex Holder, who had extensive access to the Trump family, met with investigators last Thursday morning after getting subpoenaed by the select panel for his recordings and testimony. And the panel also sent a letter to Virginia Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas also known as Ginni, seeking her testimony after evidence emerged she had exchanged emails with Trump-allied attorney John Eastman.
A Holder spokesman declined to comment.
The committee is also battling dozens of active lawsuits from Trump allies and other witnesses, including several with key filing dates in the coming weeks. The House is currently out of session until mid-July, though committees are still meeting this week.
The select committee, until now, has focused its hearings squarely on Trump. Its first hearing laid out what the panel described as a seven-part effort by the former president to overturn the 2020 election.
Subsequent hearings have focused on elements of the plot it’s seeking to portray: how the Justice Department and Trump campaign debunked false voter fraud claims even as the then-president kept repeating them; how Trump built a campaign around pressuring Pence to single-handedly overturn the 2020 election on Jan. 6; how Trump leaned on state and local election officials to appoint alternative electors; and how Trump pressured his DOJ to legitimize the effort.
Ryan Lizza adds, POLITICO Playbook: What the Jan. 6 committee’s star witness knows:
HEARING NUMBER SIX — On Monday afternoon, the House Jan. 6 committee, which was supposed to be on a hiatus for the next two weeks, abruptly announced it would be holding a hearing today at 1 p.m. ET “to present recently obtained evidence and receive witness testimony.”
The star witness is expected to be CASSIDY HUTCHINSON, a former special assistant to the president who worked as an aide to ex-chief of staff MARK MEADOWS who has testified three times behind closed doors, in February, March and May.
Hutchinson knows a lot. Before, on, and after Jan. 6, she had close proximity to both Meadows and then-President DONALD TRUMP.
“Almost all, if not all, meetings Mr. Trump had, I had insight on,” she told the committee in March.
She has been the source of a series of extraordinary revelations:
- Burning documents: Hutchinson “told the panel investigating the Capitol attack that she saw Meadows incinerate documents after a meeting in his office with Rep. SCOTT PERRY (R-Pa.),” who was working closely with the White House to invalidate the results of the 2020 election, POLITICO’s Betsy Woodruff Swan and Kyle Cheney reported in May.
- Violence: Hutchinson testified that she remembered a Secret Service agent “coming in and saying that we had intel reports saying that there could potentially be violence on the 6th.” The agent and Meadows huddled privately for five minutes to discuss the threats, she said.
- Illegal plan: Hutchinson told the committee that the White House Counsel’s office, during a meeting with Meadows and RUDY GIULIANI and others, advised that the scheme to have alternate electors meet and cast votes for Trump was not legal.
- Early start: She testified that “Mr. Giuliani, several of Mr. Giuliani’s associates, Mr. Meadows, Members of Congress,” were discussing a fake electors plan during Thanksgiving 2020.
- GOP House members as co-conspirators: Hutchinson has given detailed testimony about a number of House Republicans who were involved with pressuring former VP MIKE PENCE to reject electors during the joint session of Congress and encouraging protesters to march on the Capitol Jan. 6.
- Pardons: She is the key source for the revelation that six House Republicans sought pardons from Trump for their roles in the events of Jan. 6.
- “Hang Mike Pence!”: She reportedly confirmed that Trump told Meadows on Jan. 6 that Trump agreed with the infamous chant of rioters who wanted to kill the vice president.
- Martial law: In an extraordinary excerpt of her testimony that has been released, Hutchinson said that conversations about seizing voting machines, appointing SIDNEY POWELL as a special counsel and “invoking martial law” were stopped because “it became clear that there would be mass resignations, including lawyers in the White House Counsel’s Office.”
All of this has become known in recent months from information revealed in litigation, leaks to reporters, and video snippets of Hutchinson’s testimony played during two of the committee’s public hearings. Hutchinson was always going to be a crucial witness, and seemed likely to go public in one of the committee’s July hearings.
What’s not known is why the committee is rushing her out into public today.POLITICO recently reported that Hutchinson switched lawyers. Her previous counsel, STEFAN PASSANTINO, the Trump White House’s chief ethics lawyer, had ties to Trump world. Her new attorney, JODY HUNT of Alston Bird, was the chief of staff to JEFF SESSIONS when the former attorney general recused himself from the Russia investigation, which ruptured his relationship with Trump.
Hunt’s DOJ background has led to some speculation that today’s hearing is somehow related to the department’s recently stepped up activity on Jan. 6-related matters. Last week, FBI agents acting on behalf of the DOJ I.G.’s office seized the phone of lawyer JOHN EASTMAN, and investigators raided the home of former DOJ official JEFFREY CLARK.
While the news of Hutchinson’s appearance eventually leaked out last night— see our story here — even some members of the committee were in the dark about the urgency of the meeting. It’s possible there’s more to the hearing than just her. There could be additional witnesses, and the recent evidence the committee referred to might come from the footage obtained from documentary filmmaker ALEX HOLDER, some new tips that have come to the committee’s attention, or new Trump White House documents that the National Archives has agreed to hand over.
Hutchinson began her time at the White House as an intern. She probably couldn’t have known that job would end up with her being compared to JOHN DEAN, but she went into her White House service with a sense of duty. “I am confident I will be an effective leader in the fight to secure the American dream for future generations,” she told her college paper in 2018, “so they too will have the bountiful opportunities and freedoms that make the United States great.”
From THE John Dean himself:
BIG DEAL STANDARD: The January 6 Committee is dealing with a very high historical standard in springing a surprise hearing and witness tomorrow. If it is not really important information it’s going to hurt the credibility of this committee! Cancel now if you can’t match!
— John W. Dean (@JohnWDean) June 27, 2022
IT WAS A BIG DEAL AND IT WILL GROW BIGGER! Thank you, Cassidy Hutchinson for delivering important information before the J6 Committee.
— John W. Dean (@JohnWDean) June 28, 2022