White House shrugged off Jan. 6 violence warnings, top aide testifies
Warnings of violence on Jan. 6 went unheeded by former President Trump and his chief of staff, Mark Meadows, as the Capitol riot unfolded, a former top Meadows aide testified to the Jan. 6 committee Tuesday.
Why it matters: The testimony offers significant new information about how the White House was warned about the violence even as they were slow to react to it in real time.
What they're saying: Cassidy Hutchinson, a former top aide to Meadows, said in closed-door testimony, "I remember distinctly [Meadows] not looking up from his phone" during a 10am meeting on Jan. 6 when top White House aide Tony Ornato listed the weapons brought to the Ellipse rally.
- "I remember Tony finishing his explanation and it taking a few seconds for Mark to say something. I almost said, 'Mark, did you hear him?' And then Mark chimed in and was like, 'Alright, anything else?' Still looking down at his phone."
- Hutchinson testified that, in general, Meadows "did not act on ... concerns" about potential violence on Jan. 6 in the days before the riot.
- In live testimony on Tuesday, Hutchinson said that Meadows "almost had a lack of reaction" when she relayed Ornato's warnings that Capitol Police were getting "overrun" by rioters, and asked, "How much longer does the president have left in this speech?'
Trump was actively hostile to security measures taken at the Ellipse rally and demanded they let in people with weapons in order to get the rally attendance to capacity, Hutchinson said in closed-door testimony.
- Hutchinson said she overheard Trump saying something to the effect of, “I don't f---ing care that they have weapons. They're not here to hurt me. Take the f---ing mags away. Let my people in. They can march to the Capitol from here. Let the people in. Take the f---ing mags away," referring to the magnetometers that detect weapons.