First came the surprising news that the Jan. 6 committee would be hosting a hearing on Tuesday. Now we might know why: their star witness could be in danger.
Cassidy Hutchinson, who was an aide to then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows during the attack on the U.S. Capitol, was revealed Monday as the mystery witness set to testify before the panel later Tuesday. But while the panel said it had hastily arranged a previously unscheduled hearing “to present recently obtained evidence and receive witness testimony,” it wasn’t exactly clear why this couldn’t wait until after a planned two-week hiatus the panel was supposed to take. According to Punchbowl News, members of the select committee brought the hearing forward in part over “sincere concerns” for Hutchinson’s physical safety because of what she has revealed to the panel, and that her testimony will inform the hearings that are due to take place in July.
Hutchinson has already testified a few times before the panel in closed sessions. As Meadows’ executive assistant during the insurrection, she was at the heart of the West Wing and was party to vital meetings held by Trump in the lead-up to the attack.
And Hutchinson has already been credited with a string of jaw-dropping revelations about the events around the 2020 election. In May, reports emerged from her testimony that Meadows set about burning documents in his White House office after a meeting with Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA), who wanted to overturn the election result. Hutchinson also blew the whistle on the ass-covering requests from six House Republicans to be granted presidential pardons for their actions around the riot at the Capitol. And arguably most shocking of all was Cassidy’s confirmation that Trump had approved of “Hang Mike Pence” chants as a mob tried to stop Joe Biden’s certification as president.
Exactly what kind of dirt Hutchinson has yet to dish isn’t entirely clear. But as Politico reported this month, it’s believed that the former White House insider has become more willing to fully cooperate with the panel after a change of legal counsel. Hutchinson was previously represented by Stefan Passantino, Trump’s main ethics attorney while in office. Her new counsel, Jody Hunt, was former Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ chief of staff during the breakdown of Sessions’ relationship with Trump over the Russia investigation.
As well as Hutchinson’s public testimony, there could be other groundbreaking moments during Tuesday’s hearing. The drum-rolled “recently obtained evidence” that the panel referred to could be derived from the tapes handed over by British documentary filmmaker Alex Holder, who supplied hours of footage shot with Trump and his inner circle before and after the election.
Holder has already publicly alleged that the president held a previously undisclosed phone call with Vladimir Putin aboard Air Force One just before voters went to the polls in late 2020.