A former aide to ex-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows testified to the House January 6 committee that former President Donald Trump furiously demanded that security be lifted to allow his armed supporters to march on the U.S. Capitol on the day of the 2021 insurrection, telling his aides that "they're not here to hurt me."
"This was a classic coup attempt. Trump wanted to lead an angry, armed mob into the Capitol. Worse than we knew."
Cassidy Hutchinson, a close Meadows assistant who delivered in-person testimony to the January 6 panel on Tuesday, told congressional investigators during her 20 hours of deposition that she "was in the vicinity of a conversation" in which she heard the president "say something to the effect of, 'I don't f-ing care that they have weapons... Take the f-ing mags away"—a reference to the magnetometers that security officials were using to keep armed supporters away from a rally that preceded the Capitol attack.
According to Hutchinson, Trump was incensed that security was limiting the size of the crowd that watched him deliver a lie-filled speech just before the violent insurrection. Hutchinson added that many of Trump's supporters were hesitant to pass through the magnetometers because they were armed and did not want their weapons confiscated by security.
"Let my people in," Trump allegedly said that day. "They can march to the Capitol from here.'"
Hutchinson reaffirmed her closed-door testimony during her public appearance before the House select committee on Tuesday.
Trump, who was reportedly nervous about Hutchinson's testimony, claimed in a post to his social media platform Truth Social on Tuesday that he "hardly" knows Hutchinson, who he called a "total phony" and a "leaker."
Hutchinson also testified that Trump attempted to grab the wheel of the presidential limo when he was informed that he wasn't being taken to the Capitol following his speech on the day of the insurrection, which delayed the certification of President Joe Biden's 2020 victory.
"I'm the f-ing president. Take me up to the Capitol now," Trump fumed, according to Hutchinson, who also said the former president got physical with his security detail when they refused to take him.
In response to Hutchinson's testimony, Public Citizen president Robert Weissman tweeted that "this was a classic coup attempt."
"Trump wanted to lead an angry, armed mob into the Capitol," Weissman wrote. "Worse than we knew."
Sean Eldridge, founder and president of the progressive advocacy group Stand Up America, said Tuesday's hearing further established just how troubling and sinister Trump's behavior was on the day of the insurrection.
"Hutchinson’s chilling testimony leaves no doubt: President Trump led a criminal conspiracy to overturn the 2020 election."
"Hutchinson’s chilling testimony leaves no doubt: President Trump led a criminal conspiracy to overturn the 2020 election," Eldridge said in a statement.
The former president, he continued, "knowingly sent an armed mob to try to stop the certification of electoral votes and block the peaceful transfer of power. When the Secret Service would not let him join them at the Capitol, he himself became violent."
The testimony, he concluded, "makes clear how shockingly close we came to losing our democracy and how we were betrayed by those who swore an oath to defend our Constitution. No one is above the law. President Trump and his enablers must be held accountable for their seditious conspiracy."
This content originally appeared on Common Dreams - Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community and was authored by Jake Johnson.