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Donald Trump's temper and aggressive behaviour in lead up to Capitol riots revealed by Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony

By Peta Fuller with wires
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Former aide recounts Trump's aggressive behaviour to join US Capitol riot on January 6

Surprise testimony from a former White House aide has delivered bombshell details of former president Donald Trump's response to the January 6 riots.

Cassidy Hutchinson told the committee investigating the Capitol attack what she saw in the lead-up to the violent insurrection, including Mr Trump's temper and aggressive behaviour with his security detail.

Here's what we've learned this morning.

Trump: 'They're not here to hurt me'

Mr Trump was "furious" on the morning of January 6 in 2021, Ms Hutchinson testified, because he was angry about the extra space taken up by magnetometers screening for weapons before his fiery speech that day.

Protesters were gathering outside the White House to hear Mr Trump at the "Stop the Steal" rally, with some carrying AR-15-style rifles, but he wanted security to stop screening so more people could get in and the crowd would look larger.

Ms Hutchinson, then a top aide to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, said Mr Trump's words were:

Donald Trump points his finger while talking to Mark Meadows
Donald Trump talking to Mark Meadows before the rally outside the White House.(House Select Committee via AP)

She testified she had been told by White House security official Tony Ornato that Mr Trump knew the protesters were armed.

Four people died on the day of the attack, one fatally shot by police and the others of natural causes.

More than 100 police officers were injured, and one died the next day.

After his speech, Mr Trump wanted to join supporters storming the Capitol as Congress voted to certify President Joe Biden's win, demanding his detail drive him there.

She said Mr Trump was in the back seat of the presidential limousine, or the "beast," and tried to grab the steering wheel of the heavily armoured presidential vehicle, after he'd said:

When the head of his security detail Bobby Engel told him that wasn't happening, she said:

"The president had very strong, very angry response to that. Tony described him as being irate," she testified.

After Mr Trump had tried to grab the steering wheel and failed she said he "lunged" at Mr Engel.

"When Mr Ornato had recounted this story to me, he had motioned towards his clavicle (collarbone)," she said.

She said the confrontation was relayed to her later that day by Mr Ornato in an office, while Mr Engel was there.

Close up of former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson in a white jacket testifying at the Jan 6 committee
Cassidy Hutchinson testified about the president's actions around the day of the Capitol riot.(AP Photo/Pool: Andrew Harnik)

Trump threw lunch, left ketchup 'dripping down' the wall

Ms Hutchinson also spoke about the weeks leading up to the riots.

In December, Mr Trump heard that his attorney general William Barr told The Associated Press there was no fraud on a scale to tip the presidential election.

She described the scene in his office after the article went live:

"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."

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Trump had 'thrown his lunch against the wall', former aide testifies

She said it was not the only time the former president had thrown dishes.

Trump's Truth Social 'meltdown'

As the unscheduled hearing was happening today, Mr Trump was posting on his own social media site:

"There is no cross-examination of this so-called witness. This is a Kangaroo Court!"


But another former White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, said the "explosive" revelations would probably lead to others testifying, adding that he knows Ms Hutchinson and doesn't "think she is lying."


White House lawyers worried about 'every crime imaginable'

The morning of January 6, White House counsel Pat Cipollone restated his concerns that if Mr Trump did go to the Capitol to intervene in the certification of the election: "We're going to get charged with every crime imaginable."

Ms Hutchinson also testified Mr Trump's lawyers had tried to tamp down the president's speech on January 6, and they were also trying to stop his plans to go to the Capitol that day.

Ms Hutchinson testified that lawyer Eric Herschmann said it "would be foolish" to include some of the language the defeated president wanted to add to his speech — comments like fighting for Trump, or him telling the crowd "I'll be there with you."

Mr Herschmann warned such language shouldn't be included for legal concerns and because of the optics it would portray.

That language ultimately stayed in the script as Mr Trump rallied the crowd to "fight like hell" and promised he would join them at the Capitol.

Days before January 6, Mr Cipollone suggested there were "serious legal concerns" if Mr Trump went to the Capitol with the crowd and Ms Hutchinson recalled he said:

Ms Hutchinson also recalled walking with Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani out of the White House in the lead-up to the day and said he asked if she was "excited about the 6th."

"We're going to the Capitol, it's going to be great, the president's going to be there, he's going to look powerful," she recalled Mr Giuliani as saying.

When she returned inside and told Mr Meadows of that conversation, he told her a lot was going on.

Trump condemns Pence in midst of crisis

As the mob laid siege to the Capitol, a makeshift gallows had been erected on the National Mall and rioters roamed the halls searching for congressional leaders while taunting "Hang (the then vice-president) Mike Pence."

Ms Hutchinson recalled the conversations inside the Oval Office as she brought a phone call to Mr Meadows and later as the White House lawyers implored the chief of staff to get Mr Trump to act.

She recalled the then chief of staff saying:

Mr Trump then tweeted in the midst of the siege that Mr Pence didn't have the courage to do what he wanted — reject the electors from the battleground states, stopping Mr Biden's election.

Ms Hutchinson described the wave of sadness that hit her.

"As a staffer that works always to represent the administration to the best of my ability to showcase the good things he had done for the country, I remember feeling frustrated, disappointed … I was really sad," she said.

"As an American, I was disgusted. It was unpatriotic.


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