Key findings from the latest transcripts released by the January 6 panel
The Jan. 6 committee released another batch of transcripts on Tuesday, including two more of its interviews with bestselling witness Cassidy Hutchinson and testimony from several other Trump White House officials.
The latest batch reveals new details about Hutchinson’s dueling loyalties that led her to change attorneys and provide damning testimony about what she saw and heard in the White House after the 2020 election.
One of the transcripts released on Tuesday was his final deposition with his first Trump-funded attorney, Stefan Passantino, which was conducted May 17. She quickly hired a new attorney, Jody Hunt, and sat down for another deposition on June 20, a transcript of which was also released on Tuesday. It was just eight days before she gave surprise testimony at the committee’s sixth public hearing on January 6.
The latest cache of transcripts also exposed some of the wild rumors, gossip and conspiracies floating around the White House – including conversations about QAnon conspiracies – while then-President Donald Trump refused to comment. give in and tried to nullify the election results.
The new batch of transcripts show the growing rift between Hutchinson, the former aide to Trump’s White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, and Passantino just weeks before she hired her new attorney. The two bickered repeatedly, according to the transcript of her May deposition, and Passantino cut Hutchinson a few times, interrupting her with warnings about her testimony and sometimes trying to polish what she said.
To be sure, Passantino told Hutchinson during deposition that he was not trying to “shape what you say at all,” according to the transcript. Passantino has denied any wrongdoing and said he represents her “honourably” and “ethically.”
May’s interview began with questions about whether Trump agreed with some rioters’ chants calling for then-Vice President Mike Pence to be hanged.
Hutchinson said she didn’t hear those comments firsthand, but said she heard Meadows mention those comments to two White House attorneys. Passatino then interrupted the question line, warning Hutchinson not to accidentally divulge privileged legal advice.
She then testified that she heard Meadows say that Trump thought “maybe the chants were warranted.” This detail ended up being one of the most damning things to come out of his testimony and figured prominently during the panel’s public hearings.
When Hutchinson continued to testify about Trump’s alleged reaction to the chants, Passantino again chimed in.
“I don’t want to interrupt or shape what you’re saying here,” he said, before offering a different take on Trump’s reaction to the anti-Pence chants. He told lawmakers he thought “the president said maybe they were right” instead of expressing a clear, affirmative opinion that Pence should be executed, according to the transcripts.
After Hutchinson parted ways with Passantino, her new attorney told the Jan. 6 committee during her deposition in June that she needed to clarify and “correct” some of her previous testimony, according to the newly released transcript.
Hunt, the new attorney, told the committee that Hutchinson had things she would like to clarify, put into context, and “in some ways correct” from her previous testimony.
“She wants to be clear on that,” Hunt said, thanking the committee for the opportunity to address Hutchinson’s previous testimony.
Hutchinson presented the committee with transcripts of her first two interviews to clarify and expand on a number of things she had said.
She then provided a significant amount of new and damning testimony about Trump’s actions on January 6, 2021.
Meadows told White House staffers to keep some Oval Office meetings “closed” during the transition period, potentially leaving the meetings off the books, according to one of Hutchinson’s transcripts.
Hutchinson also testified that there “were some things that potentially got left out” in the Oval Office Diary.
Hutchinson said she remembered Meadows having a meeting in late November or early December 2020 where he told staff members in the Outer Oval Office, “Let’s keep some meetings closed. We’ll talk about what that means, but for now we’ll keep things very tight and private so things don’t start to leak.
She testified that she couldn’t remember if there was any specific information that Meadows wanted to keep “close”. She said she was unaware of any explicit direction Meadows had given to keep the Jan. 6 news “closed.”
Additionally, she told the committee that she saw Meadows burning documents in her office fireplace a dozen times — about once or twice a week — between December 2020 and mid-January 2021.
On several occasions, Hutchinson said, she was in Meadows’ office when he threw documents down the fireplace after a meeting. At least twice, the fire came after meetings with GOP Rep. Scott Perry, a Republican from Pennsylvania, who has been linked to efforts to use the Justice Department to nullify the 2020 election. Politico has previously reported that Meadows allegedly burned documents after meeting Perry.
Hutchinson said she did not know what the documents were, if they were original copies or if they were required to be kept by law.
Hutchinson told the committee about several White House discussions involving QAnon conspiracies.
In her June interview — the fourth she had conducted with the panel — Hutchinson described a QAnon discussion during a December 2020 meeting with then-President Trump Meadows and Republican members of Congress, including the GOP representative. of Georgia, Marjorie Taylor Greene.
“I remember Marjorie Taylor Greene bringing up QAnon a couple of times, though, in the presence of the president, privately with Mark,” Hutchinson said. “I remember Mark also had a few conversations about – more specific to the QAnon stuff and more about the idea they had with the election and, you know, not so much about planning for the January 6 rally.”
In her May interview, Hutchinson said she also recalled Greene bringing up QAnon while Trump was in Georgia for a Jan. 4, 2021 rally.
“Ms. Greene came over and started telling us about QAnon and QAnon going to the rally, and she had a lot of voters who are QAnon, and they’ll all be there,” Hutchinson said. “And she was showing him pictures of ‘Them traveling to Washington, DC, for the rally on the 6th.’
Hutchinson also said Trump aide Peter Navarro would bring him election documents to take to Meadows. “And at one point I sarcastically said, ‘Oh, is this from your QAnon friends, Peter? Because Peter frequently told me about his QAnon friends,” Hutchinson said.
“He said, ‘Have you ever considered that, Cass? I think they point out a lot of good ideas. You really need to read this. Make sure the chef sees it,” she continued.
Rep. Liz Cheney, the top Republican on the panel, asked Hutchinson if Navarro was being sarcastic about his QAnon friends.
“I didn’t take that as sarcasm,” Hutchinson said. “Throughout my tenure as chief of staff, he would frequently bring in memos and PowerPoint presentations on various policy proposals that he would then develop, you know, ‘Q says this.'”
Trump’s former deputy White House press secretary Judd Deere told the Jan. 6 committee that he heard “gossip” from his colleagues in the week after the 2020 election that Trump was planning to concede and invite the Bidens to the White House.
“In the week after the election, there were rumors around the building he was planning to concede,” he told the panel, according to a transcript of his testimony released Tuesday.
Deere said Trump was “even strongly considering inviting the president-elect and new first lady to the White House.”
He added: “As deputy press officer responsible for ensuring that the protected press pool always has access to him…I was very keen to find out more about the visit of the president-elect and the incoming first lady”.
Congressional investigators pressed Deere to reveal where he heard the rumors, but he said he couldn’t remember. Clearly, Trump did not give in to Biden and instead tried to overturn the election results, leading to the violent storming of the US Capitol on January 6.