Trump’s wrath at Jan. 6 committee has McCarthy in awkward spot

Former President Trump complained Tuesday that a surprise hearing by the committee on Jan. 6 lacked a “cross-examination,” putting renewed spotlight on the top Republican in the House of Representatives, which left him largely defenseless.

The special committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol abruptly announced the hearing on Tuesday with just a day’s notice. Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows, was the only witness.

Hutchinson provided bombshell testimony. Under oath, she recalled being told Trump had attacked a Secret Service agent to reach the Capitol on Jan. 6. Trump claimed her story was “fake,” “sick,” and “fraudulent.”

“There is no cross-examination of this so-called witness,” Trump wrote on his social media platform Truth Social. “It’s a kangaroo dish!”

Though Trump’s post directly targeted Hutchinson, it was also an implicit criticism of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield). Trump has repeatedly accused McCarthy of allowing Democrats to form a select committee with seven Democrats and only two Republicans, both chosen by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco).

McCarthy pulled all of his members from the panel after Pelosi rejected Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Jim Banks (R-Ind.), allowing Democrats to assemble a panel that has used his subpoena power combined with Live -Testimonies and recorded statements to present a largely unchallenged narrative of Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Republicans who disagree with the committee’s story have been forced to resort to social media posts and press releases rather than polling in person. So far, however, ordinary Republicans have stood by McCarthy’s decision — at least publicly — instead blaming Pelosi for lack of GOP representation on the committee.

“None of this would be possible if Kevin McCarthy dumped MPs,” tweeted Kurt Bardella, a former House GOP assistant who now advises the Democratic National Committee and the campaign arm of the Representative Democrats. “The testimonies recorded on tape do not come about that way. The hearings do not take place in this way. All the work of the committee on January 6 does not take place.”

McCarthy told Fox News this week that he made the “right decision” and that he and Trump are “all fine.”

Tuesday’s hearing also highlighted some of McCarthy’s actions on the day of the attack.

Hutchinson told the committee she received a call from McCarthy on Jan. 6 after Trump announced he was going to the Capitol during a rally on the Ellipse. The committee showed texts she sent to Trump’s deputy chief of staff, Tony Ornato. “Mccarthy just called me, too,” the message said. The other quoted McCarthy as asking, “Do you think you’re coming into my office?”

Hutchinson told the committee she was in a tent backstage when the call came in, noting, “When you’re backstage, you can’t really hear what’s going on in front of you.”

“When Mr. McCarthy called me with this information, I took the call and he sounded harried but also frustrated and angry at me,” Hutchinson said. “I was confused because I didn’t know what the President had just said.”

McCarthy told her, “The President just said he was marching to the Capitol,” she testified. “You’ve been telling me all week that you’re not coming here. Why would you lie to me?”

Hutchinson insisted that she had not lied to McCarthy.

“Well, he just said it on stage, Cassidy,” McCarthy shot back, according to her statement. “Find out. Don’t come here.”

“I said I’ll check the traps and text you,” Hutchinson said. “I can assure you we won’t get to the Capitol. We have already made that decision.”

“He pushed a little harder, believe me, but was frustrated, I think, that the President had said that,” Hutchinson added of McCarthy, “and we ended the phone call afterwards.” I called Mr. Ornato to confirm we were not going to the Capitol, which is what our text messages say. I texted Mr. McCarthy again, stating that we were not going to the Capitol, and he didn’t respond after that.”

This anecdote shows how vehemently the top Republican in the House of Representatives wanted the President to avoid the Capitol on a day when dozens of House Representatives were opposing the Electoral College’s certification of Joe Biden’s election victory.

On Jan. 2, days earlier, Meadows had warned Hutchinson that “things could get really, really bad on Jan. 6,” she testified.

White House Attorney Pat Cipollone had also warned Hutchinson ahead of the January 6 morning rally: “Please make sure we don’t go to the Capitol,” she told the committee.

“We’ll be charged with every crime imaginable if we get this movement going,” Cipollone told Hutchinson.

https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2022-06-28/trumps-mccarthy-january-6-hutchinson Trump’s wrath at Jan. 6 committee has McCarthy in awkward spot

Alley Einstein

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