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Trump administration White House staffer talks Jan. 6, new book

Cassidy Hutchinson, the former aide to the chief of staff, said she felt “helpless” watching events unfold on Jan. 6.
Lexi Critchett | Photographer
Cassidy Hutchinson shares a laugh with Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) during the moderated discussion Monday.

A former White House staffer and witness for the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack recounted her experience during the insurrection and testifying before the committee at the Dorothy Betts Marvin Theatre in the University Student Center Monday.  

Cassidy Hutchinson, the former aide to Chief of Staff Mark Meadows during President Donald Trump’s administration, said talking about the insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021 makes her emotional because she felt “helpless” watching events unfold and her strong relationships with members of Congress from her experience working on the Hill. The event, a book talk about Hutchinson’s new memoir, “Enough,” was moderated by Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), a member of the Jan. 6 committee, and hosted by D.C. bookstore Politics and Prose. 

Hutchinson appeared before the committee in a public hearing in June 2022 to testify about what Trump and other White House officials were doing and saying on Jan. 6. In her testimony, she said Trump tried to grab the steering wheel of the presidential limousine when he learned he was going to be taken back to the White House following his rally on the Ellipse instead of the Capitol, where his supporters breached the building in a violent mob.

Her testimony also revealed that Meadows and Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, asked Trump for pardons for their involvement in the insurrection. 

“I was very afraid, very cognizant that every move I made could and would be scrutinized. I also had this overwhelming sense of ease, because I knew that I was doing the right thing,” Hutchinson said, describing her experience testifying before the committee. “I was sitting in front of the dais of people who, in my opinion, are some of the most moral and ethical politicians but human beings that are in Washington in this era.” 

She said her family was “skeptical” of the government during her youth, and that a few members of her family are associated with radical right-wing groups like QAnon. She said her uncle, who was in the military, was the person who represented a public servant in her younger years. 

Hutchinson, the first in her immediate family to attend college, graduated from Christopher Newport University and began her career in D.C. interning for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) in 2016 and then Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) in 2017. She interned for the Office of Legislative Affairs at the White House in 2018, where she later accepted a full-time position.

Hutchinson said growing up, she knew Trump as the host of the reality TV show “The Apprentice” and that she didn’t take his 2016 presidential campaign seriously in its early days. Later on in his campaign, she said she remembered noticing how “mesmerized” people were with Trump during rallies, which grew her belief in his potential stature for the role of president. 

“I’m looking around, like, maybe he is the politician that can change things,” Hutchinson said. “Maybe he is that person that everyone is saying that he is.” 

She said she was honored to work in the West Wing, and that the opportunity to serve in government is an invaluable experience. She said she did not start her career in politics as a “partisan slinger” blindly loyal to her party. 

“It was a very slow progression to the point where I was the public servant, and then I was the loyal foot soldier,” Hutchinson said.

She said a Dec. 18, 2020 Oval Office meeting including Trump; Mike Flynn, the former national security adviser under Trump who resigned after misleading White House officials about conversations with the Russian ambassador; former CEO Patrick Byrne; and attorney Sidney Powell was the first sign of the coming insurrection. She said in this meeting, Trump and his advisers discussed invoking martial law or the Insurrection Act of 1807 — which gives the president authority to deploy the military against insurrection — in his attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

“It was sort of like watching a bad car accident, or being in a bad car accident, where it starts to happen and there’s nothing you can do to stop it,” said Hutchinson.

She said in the days after Jan. 6, she was vocal about her stance that the administration was “completely at fault” for the insurrection.

She didn’t rule out the possibility of running for public office in the future, but said she is focused on bringing attention to the fight for “the future of our country” through stories and messages in her book.

Raskin concluded the conversation by thanking Hutchinson for her patriotism and reminding her that there is always a “home” for her in the Democratic Party, to her and the audience’s amusement.

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