Mark Meadows’s former aide claims Trump wanted more attendees let in.
- Former President Donald Trump has contradicted claims by a former aide to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows that he wanted metal detectors removed on Capitol Hill before the January 6 rally.
- The aide, Cassidy Hutchinson, made her claims before the Jan. 6 committee, when she said that the president wanted to help citizens bring weapons to Washington, D.C.
- The former White House aide said Trump specifically wanted to remove detectors at the Ellipse rally in order to increase the crowd size.
- “Never complained about the crowd, it was massive,” Trump said in a post addressing the allegation on Truth Social.
- “I didn’t want or request that we make room for people with guns to watch my speech,” the former president went on. “Who would ever want that? Not me! Besides, there were no guns found or brought into the Capitol Building. So where were all of these guns? But sadly, a gun was used on Ashli Babbitt, with no price to pay against the person who used it!”
COMMITTEE STATEMENTS & RESPONSES:
- Hutchinson asserted during her statements to the Jan. 6 committee on Tuesday that the president knew people with weapons wanted to enter the rally but couldn’t because of the metal detectors: “He was furious because he wanted the arena that we had on the Ellipse to maxed out at capacity for all attendees. The advance team had relayed to him that the mags were free-flowing. Everybody who wanted to come in had already come in, but he still was angry about the extra space and wanted more people to come in.”
- Rep. Liz Cheney followed that line of questioning saying that there were “several thousand members of the crowd who refused to go through the mags, and watched from the lawn of the Washington Monument,” asking if the aide was backstage with the president and his family.
- Hutchinson alleged she was with the first family and administration officials, reiterating that the president was looking for a bigger crowd at the event: “One of the reasons, which I’ve previously stated was because he wanted it to be full and for people to not feel excluded because they had come far to watch him at the rally, and he felt the mags were at fault for not letting everybody in, but another leading reason and likely the primary reason its because he wanted it full and he was angry that we weren’t letting people through the mags with weapons – what the Secret Service deemed as weapons and are weapons.”
- Hutchinson was the committee’s first live witness who was in the West Wing with Trump on Jan. 6, 2021, during the Capitol Hill riot.
- Committee chairman, Rep. Bennie Thompson said at the beginning of the hearing that he appreciated the courage of individuals like Hutchinson who were speaking out and telling their stories.
- In addition to serving under Mark Meadows, Hutchinson also previously worked for House Republican Whip Rep. Steve Scalise as well as Sen. Ted Cruz.