Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Live Event/Special

January 6 Committee Hearings Continue; Ex-WH Aide: Trump "Irate" When Told He Couldn't Go to Capitol on Jan 6, Said "I'm the F- ing President"; Ex-WH Aide: Trump Lunged at Secret Service Detail in Limo, Tried to Grab Steerling Wheel to Drive to the U.S. Capitol. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired June 28, 2022 - 14:00   ET


CASSIDY HUTCHINSON, FORMER AIDE TO MARK MEADOWS: The valet had articulated that the president was extremely angry at the attorney general's AP interview and had thrown his lunch against the wall, which was causing them to have to clean up.


So, I grabbed a towel and started wiping the ketchup off the wall to help the valet out. And he said something to the effect of: "He's really ticked off about this. I would stay clear of him for right now. He's really, really ticked off about this right now."

REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): And, Ms. Hutchinson, was this the only instance that you are aware of where the president threw dishes?


CHENEY: And are there other instances in the dining room that you recall where he expressed his anger?

HUTCHINSON: There were several times throughout my tenure with the chief of staff that I was aware of him either throwing dishes or flipping the table cloth to let all the contents of the table go onto the floor and likely break or go everywhere.

CHENEY: And, Ms. Hutchinson, Attorney General Barr described to the committee the president's angry reaction when he finally met with President Trump.

Let's listen.


WILLIAM BARR, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: And I said: "Look, I know that you're dissatisfied with me, and I'm glad to offer my resignation."

And he pounded the table very hard. Everyone sort of jumped. And he said: "Accepted."


CHENEY: Mr. Chairman, I reserve.

REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): Chairwoman reserves.

The chair requests those in the hearing room to remain seated until the Capitol Police have escorted our witness from the room. Pursuant to the order of the committee of today, the chair declares the committee in recess for a period of approximately 10 minutes.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: One of the most stunning offerings of testimony in American history just then from former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, a top aide to the then-White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, describing conversations that she was a part of in which there were warnings of violence before January 6, describing hearing Donald Trump ordering individuals to stop putting Trump supporters through magnetometers because the weapons they were carrying, he believed, were not going to be used against him.

Describing Secret Service agents talking about how Donald Trump, inside the Beast, the secure presidential limo, after the January 6 rally, President Trump ordering them to take him to Capitol Hill. And when they would not do so, because they did not believe it was secure, among other reasons, President Trump, according to these Secret Service agents, who relayed this to Cassidy Hutchinson, lunged at the wheel and then lunged at the throat and clavicle of his Secret Service agent, Robert Engel.

It was devastating testimony, a portrait of a president who was completely and utterly out of control and without question knew of the danger of his supporters that were going to the Mall.

And Jamie Gangel, Gangel, we have heard a lot of shocking things since Donald Trump came down that escalator in 2015.


TAPPER: This was obscene.

GANGEL: It is worse than we ever imagined.

And the notion that he was so -- from the notion that he was so obsessed with his crowd size that he wanted people coming in with weapons to fill it out.

But, to your point, Jake, the most shocking thing I think we have heard today is that everybody knew that there was a real chance of violence. Trump clearly knew. And he physically got into an altercation with his Secret Service because he wanted to go to the Capitol.

TAPPER: I know everybody wants to talk, but I do want to get to the legalities of this, Laura Coates.

Was that just testimony that President Trump committed a crime?

LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I believe it is. And what if they had that at the second impeachment hearing? There was

all sorts of notions about whether it was premeditated, whether he had invited the violence at the Capitol, whether he knew about any of these details.

The idea that there was the timeline, two to three minutes prior to him going on that stage, he was aware there were weapons in the crowd, people -- did not want them to be going through the magnetometer, that he wanted to know that it was about the crowd size still, and was going to march with them to the Capitol, because he knew they were not there for him and the target was the actual people at Congress.


This is somebody laying out methodically state of mind, premeditation.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And blowing away the lies of team Trump, which said, these -- the crowd, they were frustrated, and it spiraled out of control, it was spontaneous.

No, they knew for days these people were coming with weapons.

Mark Meadows talking to Scott Perry, the congressman, should the president come into the Capitol? Should he just give a speech? Mark Meadows talking to Rudy Giuliani, should they go into the House chamber? Pat Cipollone repeatedly in the days beforehand saying, do not send the president there. If the president gets anywhere near there, there are big legal consequences, obstructing Congress, obstructing the Electoral College count. They knew.

TAPPER: And I want to bring this in, Kasie, because you were there at the Capitol that day.


TAPPER: So you might respond to this, in addition to as a journalist, as somebody who was literally under threat.

HUNT: As a human.

Yes, look, Jake, honestly, that was really hard to hear. And it really sent me back to that day. And just for context, I was with NBC News at the time. I was covering what we thought was going to be a pretty routine certification of the election.

But we quickly realized, as we were watching the president's speech from the Ellipse, that something was happening. And a colleague of mine and I looked out the window eventually of the Russell Senate Office Building, which is where many reporters covered these types of events from.

And we saw what was happening, we looked at ourselves, we thought, we have to try to get to the Capitol. Historically, that's the safest place to be. The doors were already chained. And now we're learning that, in fact, the United States president, who, let's just be clear, is supposed to be the president for all Americans, knowingly encouraged, sent and, in fact, tried to join what he knew was an armed mob, arguably a militia or an army.

I mean, I'm not sure exactly -- we don't know -- exactly how he thought of it. But he sent an army down to take over the United States Capitol, including me, my colleagues, and all of the people up there. So I mean, it's a pretty astonishing day.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I mean, the timeline itself is so damning; 10:15 a.m., Cassidy Hutchinson testifies that the head of basically the security for the White House and the president came to the chief of staff and said, there are knives, guns, pistols, spears, flagpoles.

Ornato said -- quote -- "These effing people are fastening spears to the end of their flagpoles."

They knew for hours, and they allowed -- I think it's amazing to me that they even allowed this rally to go forward knowing how dangerous it.

HUNT: And Trump said: "They're not here to hurt me."

COATES: And can we just talk about Mark Meadows and the nonreaction?

I mean, someone relays what you have just talked about, Abby, you look at their phone? Really.

PHILLIP: Yes. And she said literally he did not react.

GANGEL: Pat Cipollone: "Please make sure we don't go to the Capitol. We are going to get charged with every crime imaginable."

TAPPER: The January 6 hearing resumes soon.

Our conversation continues in 60 seconds.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Explosive hearing of the January 6 Committee will resume very shortly with more stunning testimony by former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson.

She revealed that then-President Trump personally told security to remove magnetometers at his rally on the 6th, knowing that they were armed and were preparing to march on the Capitol. She testified that President Trump was irate when the Secret Service refused to let him go to the Capitol himself. He tried to grab the limo steering wheel, shouted: "I'm the effing president," and then lunged for head of his security.

Let's listen in.


HUTCHINSON: The president said something to the effect of: "I'm the effing president. Take me up to the Capitol now," to which Bobby responded: "Sir, we have to go back to the West Wing." The president reached up towards the front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel. Mr. Engel grabbed his arm, said: "Sir, you need to 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 towards Bobby Engel. And when Mr. Ornato had recounted this story to me, he had motioned towards his clavicles.



COOPER: Jeff Toobin, let's start with lawyers.

Jeff Toobin?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: He tried to strangle his Secret Service agent.

If someone had told you that 15 minutes before this hearing started, you would have said, you have watched too many movies.

I mean, the scene is so much worse and so much crazier than any of us thought. And the number of criminal offenses that Donald Trump may have committed over the course of January 6 just got a lot longer, including assault on a Secret Service agent.

It is -- and the other point that I just -- the thing that just is so chilling was the idea that he wanted the magnetometers removed so that the weapons could go straight to the Capitol. Think about that.

COOPER: Carrie Cordero, we just heard testimony -- or we heard a radio chatter from police, Secret Service, saying, there's a guy in a tree with an AR-15. I mean, they -- this was well-known there were weapons in the crowd. The president knew this.

CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It was well-known. The president knew it. Cassidy Hutchinson has testified that she briefed Mark Meadows, that Secret Service briefed, people in the White House briefed Mark Meadows.

Mark Meadows confirmed that the president himself was informed that there were weapons.


CORDERO: They went anyway. He wanted the magnetometers taken away.

COOPER: Is there evidence of a crime?

CORDERO: There -- well, I think what the committee has done with today's hearing is, they have taken a closer and closer to seditious conspiracy.

We have seen the Oath Keepers charged, the people who charged the Capitol, with seditious conspiracy. We have seen Proud Boys charged with seditious conspiracy. The question at the beginning of these hearings has always been, would they tie the violence to the people in the White House organizing the day?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: If you knew that there was an armed mob, and you did nothing to stop it, when do you become part of that mob?

CORDERO: Well, I think it's...

BORGER: When you become part of the conspiracy?

CORDERO: I think it's different than the inaction.

And what the committee is showing is that they knew in advance that there was violence planned.

BORGER: That's right.

CORDERO: And the pieces that we're still looking at is, did they direct people? How involved were they in the planning of that?

COOPER: If the president knew that there were armed people in the crowd with actual weapons, tried to get the magnetometers removed, and encouraging them to go and wanting to go with them, isn't that encouraging?

CORDERO: Well, I think what Cassidy Hutchinson has testified is that Trump wanted to be there on the Capitol when the assault happened.


CHRIS WALLACE, CNN HOST: Beyond these legalities -- and we will get to them -- I mean, the takeaway from this -- and Cassidy Hutchinson draws a real timeline from January 2 on, Rudy Giuliani saying, January 6, it's going to be exciting, wait for it, and people knowing the increase in possibility of violence surrounding January 6.

But what people are going to take away from this is that image inside the Beast, which is what they call the presidential limousine, inside the Beast, when Trump gets in after the rally and thinks he's going to Capitol Hill to be with the marchers.

And his Secret Service -- it's not just any Secret Service, of course. It's the head of the presidential detail? Bobby Engel says, no, we're going to the White House.

The president of the United States -- I assume he's sitting in the backseat -- reaches forward, tries to grab the steering wheel. And when the Secret Service head takes his hand away, he reaches with his other hand, for the guy's throat.

I mean, it's astonishing. And that's an image you're never going to forget.

(CROSSTALK) COOPER: Well, also, Mark Meadows kind of leaving it up to this head of the Secret Service detail to inform the president that they're not going to go to the Capitol.

BORGER: Right? And then he takes the fall for it, obviously.

Look, this is a picture of an out-of-control human being, never mind the president of the United States. He's trying to choke someone who's trying to protect him, and -- because they were trying to say, look, this is not safe. He only cared about his own safety.

He threw things against the wall when he heard that Barr didn't see any fraud in the election.

COOPER: Well, he also quite knew it was safe for him. He didn't think it was going to be a problem for him.


TOOBIN: That's the thing that I think is so important, is the understanding that the violence was imminent, and sending it to the Capitol.

That business of taking away the magnetometers, I think, is so important.

BORGER: Right.

TOOBIN: Because it means, don't take away the weapons. It means let them go to the Capitol with their weapons.

WALLACE: But, also, think about what Trump was talking about doing.

He is talking about going to the Capitol. So you're going to have the joint session of Congress in the House with the vice president, who said: I'm going to do my constitutional duty and I'm going to certify the electors and turn over the -- certify that Joe Biden is the president.

And what was Trump thinking, that he's going to be standing outside pounding on the doors?



WALLACE: That he was going to walk in the House chamber and say, stop, stop, I'm still the president?

I mean, as bad as January 6 was, Carrie, it could have been even worse.

CORDERO: No, I think what we're describing are the acts of a tyrant. That's what it is. This is someone who abuses their own staff, who's trying to overtake a lawful election.

These are the actions of a tyrant. These are not the actions of a...


COOPER: He had actually gone to the Capitol that day, I mean, wouldn't he already be charged with something?


I mean, had he actually...

TOOBIN: It depends what he did there.

CORDERO: Well, Pat Cipollone thought he would be. I mean, that's the key.


BORGER: We're going to be charged with every crime.


COOPER: Right. Make sure you don't go up the Capitol. We're going to get charged with every crime.


CORDERO: One of the new things that Cassidy Hutchinson has testified to today is that Pat Cipollone said, if the president goes to the Capitol, there will be -- charged with every crime imaginable.

COOPER: We're going to get...

CORDERO: And so they knew in the moment that it was potentially illegal.

TOOBIN: And this is why it's outrageous that Pat Cipollone has not testified.

CORDERO: Absolutely.

TOOBIN: Because if he said that to Ms. Hutchinson, you can be sure he also said it to the president of the United States.


WALLACE: Well, and that's the thing. What did he say to the president?


BORGER: And don't forget, don't forget, Jeffrey, that Mark Meadows said in his book that the president only meant going to the Capitol metaphorically.


BORGER: This is hardly metaphorically.

COOPER: And, as Liz Cheney said, that was clearly a lie.


COOPER: Testimony is about to resume. The members of the committee are coming back in. Let's listen.

THOMPSON: The committee will be in order.

The chair recognizes the gentlewoman from Wyoming, Vice Chair Cheney.

CHENEY: thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Before we turn to what Ms. Hutchinson saw and heard in the White House during the violent attack on the Capitol on January 6, let's discuss certain communications White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows had on January 5.

President Trump's associate, Roger Stone, attended rallies during the afternoon and the evening of January 5 in Washington, D.C. On January 5 and 6, Mr. Stone was photographed with multiple members of the Oath Keepers, who were allegedly serving as his security detail.

As we now know, multiple members of that organization have been charged with or pled guilty to crimes associated with January 6. Mr. Stone has invoked his Fifth Amendment privilege against self- incrimination before this committee. General Michael Flynn has also taken the Fifth before this committee.

Mr. Stone previously had been convicted of other federal crimes unrelated to January 6. General Flynn had pleaded guilty to a felony charge also predating and unrelated to January 6. President Trump pardoned General Flynn just weeks after the presidential election.

And in July of 2020, he commuted the sentence Roger Stone was to serve. The night before January 6, President Trump instructed his chief of staff, Mark Meadows, to contact both Roger Stone and Michael Flynn regarding what would play out the next day.

Ms. Hutchinson, is it your understanding that President Trump asked Mark Meadows to speak with Roger Stone and General Flynn on January 5?

HUTCHINSON: That's correct. That is my understanding.

CHENEY: And, Ms. Hutchinson, is it your understanding that Mr. Meadows called Mr. Stone on the 5th?

HUTCHINSON: I'm under the impression that Mr. Meadows did complete both a call to Mr. Stone and General Flynn the evening of the 5th.

CHENEY: And do you know what they talked about that evening, Ms. Hutchinson?

HUTCHINSON: I'm not sure. CHENEY: Is it your understanding that Mr. Giuliani, Mr. Eastman, and

others had set up what has been called -- quote -- "a war room" at the Willard Hotel on the night of the 5th?

HUTCHINSON: I was aware of that the night of the 5th.

CHENEY: And do you know if Mr. Meadows ever intended to go to the Willard Hotel on the night of the 5th?

HUTCHINSON: Mr. Meadows had a conversation with me where he wanted me to work with Secret Service on a movement from the White House to the Willard Hotel, so he could attend the meeting or meetings with Mr. Giuliani and his associates in the war room.

CHENEY: And what was your view as to whether or not Mr. Meadows should go to the Willard that night?

HUTCHINSON: I had made it clear to Mr. Meadows that I didn't believe it was a smart inside for him to go to the Willard Hotel that night. I wasn't sure everything that was going on at the Willard Hotel, although I knew enough about what Mr. Giuliani and his associates were pushing during this period.

I didn't think that it was something appropriate for the White House chief of staff to attend or to consider involvement in. I made that clear to Mr. Meadows. Throughout the afternoon, he mentioned a few more times going up to the Willard Hotel that evening, and then eventually dropped the subject the night of the 5th and said that he would dial in instead.


CHENEY: So, General Flynn has appeared before this committee. And when he appeared before our committee, he took the Fifth.

Let's briefly view a clip of General Mike Flynn taking the Fifth Amendment.


CHENEY: General Flynn, do you believe the violence on January 6 was justified?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can we have a minute?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, we're back.

Congresswoman Cheney, could you repeat the question, please?

CHENEY: Yes. General Flynn, do you believe the violence on January 6 was justified?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that -- can I get clarification? Is that a moral question, or are you asking a legal question? CHENEY: I'm asking both.


CHENEY: Do you believe the violence on January 6 was justified morally?

FLYNN: Take the Fifth.

CHENEY: Do you believe the violence on January 6 was justified legally?

FLYNN: Fifth.

CHENEY: General Flynn, do you believe in the peaceful transition of power in the United States of America?

FLYNN: The Fifth.


CHENEY: Let's move on now to January 6 and the conduct of Donald Trump and Mark Meadows during the attack on the Capitol.

Ms. Hutchinson, I'd like now for us to listen to a description, your description of what transpired in the West Wing during the attack.

For context, in this clip, you describe the time frame starting at about 2:00 p.m.


HUTCHINSON: So, I remember Mark being alone in his office for quite some time.

And I know we have spoken about Ben Williamson going in at one point. And I don't personally remember Ben going in. I don't doubt that he had gone in. But I remember him being alone in his office for most of the afternoon.

Around 2:00 to 2:05 -- around 2:00 to 2:05, we were watching the TV, and I could see that the rioters were getting closer and closer to the Capitol. Mark still hadn't popped out of his office or said anything about it, so that's when I went into his office. I saw that he was sitting on his couch on his cell phone, same as the morning, where he was just kind of scrolling and typing.

I said: "Hey, are you watching the TV, Chief? Because his TV was small, and I -- you can see it, but I didn't know if he was really paying attention.

I said: "Are you watching the TV, Chief?"

And he was like: "Yes."

"The rioters are getting really close. Have you talked to the president?"

And he said: "No, he wants to be alone right now," still looking at his phone.

So, I start to get frustrated, because I sort of felt like I was watching a -- this is not a great comparison, but a bad car accident that was about to happen, where you can't stop it, but you want to be able to do something.

And I just remember -- I remember thinking, in that moment, Mark needs to snap out of this, and I don't know how to snap him out of this, but he needs to care.

And I just remember I blurted out. I said: "Mark, do you know where Jim is at right now?"

And he looked up at me at that point and said: "Jim?"

And I said: "Mark, because he was on the floor a little while ago giving a floor speech. Did you listen?"

He said: "Yes. It was real good. Did you like it?"

And I said: "Yes. Do you know where he's at right now?"

He said: "Well, no, I haven't heard from him."

And I said: "You might want to check in with him, Mark."

And I remember pointing at the TV, and I said: "The rioters are getting close. They might get in."

And he looked at me and said something to the effect of: "All right, I will give him a call."


CHENEY: Not long after the rioters broke into the Capitol, you described what happened with White House counsel Pat Cipollone.


HUTCHINSON: No more than a minute, minute-and-a-half later, I see Pat Cipollone barrelling down the hallway towards our office, and rushed right in, looked at me, said: "Is Mark in his office?"

And I said: "Yes."

He just looked at me and started shaking his head, and went over, open Mark's office door, stood there with the door propped open, and said something to the -- Mark is still sitting on his phone.


I remember, like, glancing in. He's still sitting on his phone. And I remember Pat saying to him something to the effect of: "The rioters have gotten to the Capitol, Mark. We need to go down and see the president now."

And Mark looked up at him and said: "He doesn't want to do anything, Pat."

And Pat said something to the effect of, and very clearly had said this to Mark, something to the effect of: "Mark, something needs to be done, or people are going to die and the blood's going to be on your effing hands. This is getting out of control. I'm going down there."

And, at that point, Mark stood up from his couch, both of his phones in his hand. He had his glasses on still. He walked out with Pat. He put both of his phones on my desk and said: "Let me know if Jim calls."

And they walked out, went down to the Dining Room.


CHENEY: A few minutes later, Representative Jordan called back.


HUTCHINSON: A couple minutes later, so, likely around between 2:15 and 2:25. I know the tweet went out at 2:24. I don't remember if I was there when the tweet went out or if it happened right afterwards.

But Jim had called. I answered the phone and said: "One second." He knew it was -- I guess he knew it was me. I introduced myself, but I don't remember if he called my cell phone or if he had called one of Mark's.

But I answered the phone, and said: "One sec. Mark's down the hall. I'm going to go hand the phone to him."

He said: "OK."

So, I went down, I asked the valet if Mark was in the Dining Room. The valet said yes. I opened the door to the Dining Room, briefly stepped in to get Mark's attention, showed him the phone, like, flipped the phone his way, so he could see it said "Jim Jordan."

He stepped to where I was standing there holding the door open, took the phone, talking to Jim with the door still propped open. So I took a few steps back. So I probably was two feet from Mark. He was standing in the doorway going to the Oval Office Dining Room.

They had a brief conversation. And in the crossfires, I heard briefly, like, what they were talking about, but, in the background, I had heard conversations in the oval Dining Room at that point talking about the "Hang Mike Pence" chants.


CHENEY: That clip ended, Ms. Hutchinson, with you recalling that you heard the president, Mr. Meadows, and the White House counsel discussing the "Hang Mike Pence" chants, and then you described for us what happened next.


HUTCHINSON: It wasn't until Mark hung up the phone, handed it back to me. I went back to my desk.

A couple minutes later, him and Pat came back, possibly Eric Herschmann too. I'm pretty sure Eric Herschmann was there. But I'm confident it was Pat that was there.

I remember Pat saying something to the effect of: "Mark, we need to do something more. They're literally calling for the vice president to be effing hung."

And Mark had responded something to the effect of: "You heard him, Pat. He thinks Mike deserves it. He doesn't think they're doing anything wrong," to which Pat said something: "This is effing crazy. We need to be doing something more," briefly stepped into Mark's office.

And when Mark had said something -- Mark had said something to the effect of: "He doesn't think they're doing anything wrong."

Knowing what I had heard briefly in the Dining Room, coupled with Pat discussing the "Hang Mike Pence" chants in the lobby of our office, and then Mark's response, I understood "they're" to be the rioters in the Capitol that were chanting for the vice president to be hung.


CHENEY: Let me pause here on this point.

The rioters chanted "Hang Mike Pence." The president of the United States, Donald Trump, said that -- quote -- "Mike deserves it" and that those rioters were not doing anything wrong.

This is a sentiment that he has expressed at other times as well. In an interview with ABC News correspondent Jonathan Karl, President Trump was asked about the supporters chanting "Hang Mike Pence" last year. Instead of condemning them, the former president defended them:


JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS: They said: "Hang Mike Pence."

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Because it's common sense, Jon. It's common sense that you're supposed to protect -- how can you -- if you know a vote is fraudulent, right...

KARL: Yes.

TRUMP: ... how can you pass on a fraudulent vote to Congress?


CHENEY: President Trump's view that the rioters were not doing anything wrong and that -- quote -- "Mike deserved it" helps us to understand why the president did not ask the rioters to