House Republicans release report seeking to undermine Jan. 6 committee and star witness


WASHINGTON — A House committee investigating the special Jan. 6 committee released a sweeping report Monday that Republicans say demonstrates that four other White House employees did not corroborate key witness Cassidy Hutchinson’s dramatic account of former President Donald Trump’s actions that day.

“None of the White House Employees corroborated Hutchinson’s sensational story about President Trump lunging for the steering wheel of the Beast. However, some witnesses did describe the President’s mood after the speech at the Ellipse,” says the 81-page report by the House Administration Committee’s oversight subcommittee, led by Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga., a section of which was obtained by NBC News in advance of its release.

Hutchinson testified under oath, privately and publicly, before the Jan. 6 panel that she had heard that Trump had lunged at the steering wheel of the presidential SUV and gotten into a physical altercation with his lead Secret Service agent after he was told he could not go to the Capitol to join his supporters after he spoke at a rally on the Ellipse on Jan. 6, 2021.

While the new GOP report says one White House employee described Trump’s mood after the speech as “irate,” Republicans argue that “it is highly improbable that the other White House Employees would have heard about the President’s mood in the SUV following his speech at the Ellipse but not heard the sensational story that Hutchinson claims [Tony] Ornato told her after returning to the White House on January 6.”

Since they took back the majority last year, House Republicans have been eager to relitigate the investigation and findings of the Jan. 6 committee as Trump seeks to win back the White House in November. One of the GOP’s top priorities has been to discredit Hutchison, who was a top aide to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows in the final days of the Trump administration.

She was the star witness for the select House committee that investigated Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election and block Congress from certifying the results on Jan. 6 — actions the bipartisan panel said led to the deadly attack on the Capitol. Trump is not only facing a likely rematch with President Joe Biden this year; he also faces multiple federal felony charges for his role in Jan. 6.

Hutchinson has also written about the events in her book. Asked for comment Monday, Hutchinson’s attorney, William H. Jordan, referred NBC News to a letter he sent to Loudermilk in January stating that his client has been truthful.

“Let me be clear: since Ms. Hutchinson changed counsel, she has and will continue to tell the truth. While other individuals — often men who occupied more senior roles — would not speak with the Select Committee, Ms. Hutchinson and many other witnesses courageously stepped forward. Yet she now finds herself being questioned by you and your Subcommittee regarding her testimony and on matters that may also be the subject of ongoing criminal proceedings against Mr. Trump,” Jordan wrote to Loudermilk.

“Ms. Hutchinson will not succumb to a pressure campaign from those who seek to silence her and influence her testimony, even when done in the name of ‘oversight,'” he continued.

Members of the Jan. 6 committee — led by then-Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and then-Vice Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo. — have argued that Trump’s push to subvert the results of the 2020 election and remain in power shows that he is a threat to democracy and the peaceful transfer of power.

Thompson condemned the GOP report in a statement Monday, saying, “Mr. Loudermilk’s latest attack on the Select Committee’s work is dishonest.” The Jan. 6 panel’s final report considered the testimony of all witnesses, Thompson said.

“All the evidence points to the same conclusion: Donald Trump wanted to join his violent mob as it marched on the Capitol and he was irate when his security detail told him he couldn’t go,” Thompson said.

“Loudermilk is merely trying to deflect from Donald Trump’s responsibility for the violence of January 6th and his own refusal to answer the Select Committee’s questions,” he continued.

But Loudermilk and other Republican allies have argued that the Jan. 6 panel, launched by then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., played up Hutchinson’s testimony damaging to Trump and minimized or ignored testimony from other witnesses who did not corroborate her account.

According to transcripts of Jan. 6 committee interviews newly obtained by House Republicans, an unidentified witness known as “White House Employee Three” testified that Ornato, then Trump’s deputy chief of staff, had said that Trump was “irate” on the drive back to the White House that day. But Loudermilk’s report says Employee Three “never testifies that President Trump lunged, grabbed, or made any aggressive movements as claimed by Hutchinson.”

Citing the transcripts, Republicans said they also found it peculiar that the Jan. 6 panel did not question the Secret Service agent driving Trump’s SUV about Hutchinson’s testimony until the agent’s attorney broached the subject.

The driver testified to the Jan. 6 committee “that he specifically refuted the version of events as recounted by Hutchinson,” the report says. “The driver of the SUV testified that he ‘did not see him reach [redacted]. [President Trump] never grabbed the steering wheel. I didn’t see him, you know, lunge to try to get into the front seat at all.'”

Hutchinson also testified to the Jan. 6 panel that Meadows had told her that Trump believed his vice president, Mike Pence, “deserves” to be hanged as the president watched a crowd on TV chant “Hang Mike Pence!” Employee Three, who was with Trump that day, said he did not hear Trump say anything about the chants.

Transcripts from those witnesses, some redacted at the White House’s request, will be made available to the public.

“The content of these witness transcripts makes clear why the Select Committee chose not to release these transcripts despite releasing nearly every other witness transcript,” the Loudermilk report says. “These witnesses directly undermine claims made by Hutchinson and the Select Committee and underscore that the Select Committee only showed the public what it wanted them to see.”

In the new report, Republicans also highlight corrections Hutchinson made to her testimony over the course of her various interactions with the Jan. 6 committee.

During her first transcribed interview in February 2022, Hutchinson said she did not know whether anyone had told Trump that people in the Ellipse crowd had weapons. She revised that testimony in September 2022 to say Trump had been told about the weapons.

Administration Committee Republicans also criticize Hutchinson for not testifying in her initial interviews about the alleged incident of Trump’s lunging for the steering wheel on Jan. 6.

“The Select Committee, despite knowing that Hutchinson’s testimony changed substantially over time to be more dramatic, rushed into yet another Hollywood hearing even though they were not able to verify the story,” the report says.

Hutchinson’s attorney said she has gone into great detail to explain why she clarified her testimony. She was first represented by Trump-funded counsel and said that she had been pressured to be “loyal” to the “boss” and that Trump received regular reports about her testimony. Her later testimony, which included more details about Trump, came after she hired new attorneys.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com



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