Trump's chief of staff knew Jan. 6 'might get real bad,' aide testifies in surprise hearing

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Cassidy Hutchinson, former top aide to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows
Cassidy Hutchinson, former aide to Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, testifies as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday. (Oliver Contreras/Sipa USA)

Conversations between White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Trump legal advisor Rudolph W. Giuliani ahead of the Capitol insurrection left Cassidy Hutchinson, a former top aide to Meadows, "feeling scared and nervous," she told the Jan. 6 committee in a surprise hearing Tuesday.

“Cass, are you excited for the 6th? It’s going to be a great day," Hutchinson remembered Giuliani telling her on the evening of Jan. 2, 2021. "We’re going to the Capitol, it's going to be great. The president is going to be there, he is going to look powerful. Talk to [Meadows] about it, he knows about it."

Hutchinson then sought out Meadows in his office and asked about what Giuliani had told her, she testified.

"There’s a lot going on, Cass, but, I don't know, things might get real, real bad on Jan 6,” Hutchinson remembers Meadows saying.

"When hearing [Giuliani's take on Jan. 6] and then [Meadows'] response, that evening was the first moment that I remember feeling scared and nervous for what could happen on Jan. 6," she told the committee.

Hutchinson previously testified to the committee four times in video statements, but this is her first time appearing before the committee in person. Hutchinson previously testified that a number of Republican lawmakers reached out to her personally to arrange meetings with Meadows and Trump for pardons.

“[Rep. Matt] Gaetz had reached out to me to ask if he could have a meeting with Mr. Meadows to ask about receiving a presidential pardon,” she said in a recorded statement during the June 23 hearing.

“[Rep. Louie] Gohmert asked for one as well. [Rep. Scott] Perry asked for a pardon too,” she added.

Hutchinson testified to hearing that Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene asked for a pardon, although Greene never reached out to her personally. Greene denied Hutchinson’s testimony via social media.

“Saying ‘I heard’ means you don’t know,” Greene tweeted. “Spreading gossip and lies is exactly what the January 6th Witch Hunt Committee is all about.”

Other lawmakers include Reps. Mo Brooks (Ala.) and Andy Biggs (Ariz.). Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio also spoke with Hutchinson about pardons, but never asked for one directly.

“It was more for an update on whether the White House was going to pardon members of Congress,” she said.

Hutchinson also told the committee that she remembered Trump responding positively when hearing about chants from rioters who wanted to execute Vice President Mike Pence.

Before the first Jan. 6 committee hearing, Hutchinson also told the committee that Anthony M. Ornato, former White House chief of operations, warned Meadows about potential violence ahead of the attack on the U.S. Capitol.

"I just remember Mr. Ornato coming in and saying that we had intel reports saying that there could potentially be violence on the 6th," Hutchinson said. "And Mr. Meadows said: 'All right. Let's talk about it.'"

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.