Jul 18, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Former Trump national security official to testify in-person at Jan. 6 hearing

Former Deputy National Security Advisor Matthew Pottinger

Former deputy national security adviser Matthew Pottinger. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Former deputy national security adviser Matthew Pottinger will testify in person during Thursday's prime-time Jan. 6 hearing, a source familiar with the committee's plans told Axios.

Why it matters: Pottinger is a significant witness for the committee to showcase. He's highly respected on both sides of the aisle and worked for former President Trump from the start of his administration until Pottinger resigned in the immediate aftermath of the Capitol riot.

Between the lines: Pottinger wasn't in the Oval Office or around Trump on Jan. 6, 2021, but he is an extremely credible witness and a former member of the highest echelons of the Trump administration.

  • As Axios' Jonathan Swan detailed in his Off the Rails series last year, which documented the unraveling of Trump's final weeks in office, Pottinger immediately packed up his belongings and quit after learning of the escalation of the attack on the Capitol.

The backdrop: Pottinger, a former journalist, was brought onto Trump's National Security Council by former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

  • He was the architect of many of Trump’s tough-on-China policies.
  • His testimony cannot be treated lightly or easily dismissed by those in Trumpworld.

What to watch: Former deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews, who also resigned on Jan. 6, will appear alongside Pottinger at Thursday's hearing, the source said.

  • Matthews has since criticized Trump for his handling of Jan. 6, and was one of a few former White House officials to defend Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to then-chief of staff Mark Meadows, against attacks on her credibility after she provided damning testimony before the committee last month.
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