By now we all may have thought we know what there is to know about the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the United States Capitol. But Tuesday’s investigative hearing revealed key pieces of evidence that directly connected Trump to an attempted coup after the 2020 election. Cassidy Hutchinson, a 25-year-old former aide for Donald Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows testified in two hours of riveting testimony.
Hutchinson was credible precisely because she had no role in the coup, and spoke from the role that positioned her only five seconds from the Oval Office. What she revealed took us much further along the path described in recent weeks by Ark Valley Voice as “what did he (Trump) know, and when did he know it?”
- Hutchinson’s testimony appears to confirm that not only did Trump know exactly what he was doing; it now appears that this was a multi-pronged conspiracy — an organized coup-d’état attempt, whose purpose was to take forceful control of our government so that Trump could remain as president — or whatever title he had envisioned for himself. The conspiracy involved the White House, Trump’s connections, Republican members of the U.S. Congress and Senate, and violent militia groups.
- We learned that from the beginning, violence was anticipated. Trump was told that there was a high possibility of violence on Jan. 6. His key aides and friends were plotting the action in a war room in the Willard Hotel across Lafayette Square from the White House. The plot included the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers who led the way in the storming of the U.S. Capitol entry points.
- Hutchinson heard Trump ignore the presence of armed supporters. Told that the Secret Service and Washington D.C. police reported people armed with AR-15s, spears, flag poles filled with cement, stun guns, pistols, knives, bear spray, rifles, batons, bats, and anything that could cause harm, the president and his chief of staff did nothing. In fact —
- Trump responded angrily when told that the mob assembled for his speech on the Ellipse was armed so those who wouldn’t relinquish their weapons had to stay outside, saying “I’m the f—ing president and I say let them in. I don’t f—ing care if they have weapons, let them in. Get rid of the f—ing Mags and and let the people in,” He was furious with the Secret Service for keeping magnetometers in place to stop people from entering with weapons, hurling these words, “They’re not here to hurt me. Let my people in.” If not there to hurt him — then who were they there to hurt?
- Trump appears to have envisioned a Fascist Mussolini or Roman Emperor Nero sort of emperor entry to the Capitol when he announced to the crowd that he was going to the Capitol with them, that he would lead them. Did he envision throwing open the doors to the U.S. House and seeing his Secret Service battling Representatives?
- Trump appears to have viewed his vice president as collateral damage. When told that the crowd attacking the Capitol Building was chanting ‘Hang Mike Pence” he is reported to have told Meadows that Vice President Pence “deserves to hang”. He didn’t just know the VP was in danger, he sent a text that it is now revealed made the crowd surge forward.
- Trump did nothing for 187 minutes except make phone calls and throw dinner plates and food at the wall in the Oval Office Dining Room. This, while the Capitol Police were engaged in what they described as “medieval hand-to-hand combat”.
The answer to why the former president did nothing to stop the attack is not known and hasn’t been proven. But observers now say the evidence that he wanted the violence to continue so he could stay in power, is mounting.
Near the end of the nearly two-hour hearing, the public learned from the bi-partisan Committee Vice-Chair Liz Cheney, that witnesses, including Cassie Hutchinson, had been contacted by Trump allies in a clear case of witness tampering. She added to this the evidence for charges of conspiracy, seditious conspiracy, obstruction of a government proceeding, and inciting a riot.
Criminal charges, if made, would lie with the United States Department of Justice, which has already announced that it is carefully watching these proceedings. The bipartisan Jan. 6 Congressional Committee is not a court — it is designed to investigate and report back to the American people. It has at least two public hearings left.
What comes next isn’t known. But it is becoming more clear that the Jan. 6 assault was not just an attack on the Capitol and our lawmakers, but an attack on democracy itself. As conservative Federal Judge Michael Luttig has warned us, Trump is “a clear and present danger”.