Then-President Trump knew that rioters were heavily armed on the morning of Jan. 6, 2021, just hours before the insurrection at the Capitol and encouraged security to let them pass anyway, according to testimony on Tuesday before a House committee.
"I don't f— care that they have weapons," former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson said before the panel Tuesday, recalling Trump's comments the morning of Jan. 6. "They're not here to hurt me. Take the f— mags [magnetometers] away. Let my people in. They can march to the Capitol from here."
Hutchinson told the House Select Committee investigating the violence on Jan. 6 that Trump insisted all attendees — regardless of whether they were armed — be allowed inside his rally that morning, repeatedly stating that "they're not here to hurt me." Trump's remarks came just minutes before he took the stage at his rally, Hutchinson said.
In the days leading up to Jan. 6, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows was informed of attendees' plans to carry arms at Trump's rally before heading to the Capitol, Hutchinson said. He was told that attendees would have knives, guns, pistols, rifles and spears. Meadows did not look up from his phone after he was told the news, Hutchinson said.
"All right, anything else?" Hutchinson recalled Meadows saying while he still looked down at his phone.
Hutchinson is the only witness during Tuesday's hearing, which was scheduled with less than 24 hours' notice. The hearings are part of an investigation attempting to lay out what led to the violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6, and are expected to continue next month.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.