After Tuesday’s hearing of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol incursion, Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming suggested that the case for prosecuting former President Donald Trump had been bolstered.
In a tweet on Tuesday, Cheney shared an article by anti-Trump commentator David French headlined “The Case for Prosecuting Donald Trump Just Got Much Stronger.”
The Case for Prosecuting Donald Trump Just Got Much Stronger https://t.co/qFm2fiJZsM
— Liz Cheney (@Liz_Cheney) June 29, 2022
In the article on The Dispatch, French wrote glowingly of what he described as the “courageous testimony” of former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson against Trump.
French wrote that while Trump might not face criminal charges, Hutchinson helped link the former president to the actions of the protesters who entered the Capitol.
“Earlier this afternoon she gave the most extraordinary congressional testimony I’ve ever seen,” he wrote. “She testified that the president was so committed to walking to the Capitol with his own supporters that he allegedly tried to grab the wheel of his Secret Service vehicle. She painted the picture of a president utterly out of control, a man so committed to preserving his own power that he approved of the riot and believed that Mike Pence deserved to face mob justice.
“But the most legally significant testimony came in a few key sentences:
“Hutchinson claims she overheard Trump say about the crowd, ‘You know, I don’t effing care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me. Take the effing mags away. Let my people in. They can march to the Capitol from here. Let the people in. Take the effing mags away.'”
Her testimony, French wrote, “closes a gap in the criminal case against Trump, and Trump is closer to a credible prosecution than ever before.”
The Jan. 6 committee created by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has no power to prosecute Trump. That would fall to the Justice Department.
But Cheney — one of two anti-Trump Republicans on the Democrat-led panel — and others apparently see this as the opportunity to lay the groundwork for the Justice Department to bring criminal charges against the former president, according to The Hill.
“Cheney’s retweet on Tuesday night will raise further speculation that the panel is planning to recommend the Justice Department do so,” the outlet said.
The congresswoman was apparently so pleased with what she heard Tuesday that she hugged Hutchinson afterward.
If questioner (Cheney) wants to appear fair to jury (American people), it probably is not a good idea to get caught on camera hugging the witness…see below from @Politico;already people have very strong feelings – both ways – about this hearing and pics like this don’t help; pic.twitter.com/lbdkMtzT4y
— Greta Van Susteren (@greta) June 29, 2022
In testimony that included stories Hutchinson said she heard secondhand, the former aide to Mark Meadows described what Trump supposedly did as the Capitol chaos unfolded.
The aide said that Trump and his chief of staff were warned about violence and the possibility of armed protesters, CNN reported.
She claimed Trump tried to leave the White House to go to the Capitol.
“It was previously known that Trump wanted to go to the Capitol, but Hutchinson’s testimony established for the first time that people around Trump had advance knowledge of this plan,” CNN reported.
Hutchinson claimed she heard he even tried to grab the steering wheel of the presidential limo to try to go — and when he was thwarted, he lunged for a Secret Service agent’s throat.
Meadows aide Cassidy Hutchinson testifies that she heard Donald Trump wanted to go to the Capitol so badly on 1/6 that he lunged to grab the steering wheel of the Beast and then put his hands on a Secret Service agent when they took him back to the White House. pic.twitter.com/NrTcxjn5oL
— The Recount (@therecount) June 28, 2022
That, however, has been disputed by a Secret Service official.
“A Secret Service official familiar with the matter told CNN that Tony Ornato, then-White House deputy chief of staff, denies telling Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson that the former President grabbed the steering wheel or an agent on his detail,” CNN reported.
Despite details of Hutchinson’s testimony being disputed or debunked, the Jan. 6 committee seems set on using her account as a foundation to prosecute the former president.
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