Constant dollars

Members of the select committee huddled together in a secure briefing room ahead of today’s hearing

Former President Trump is bracing for an explosive day of testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson, a former White House aide and aide to chief of staff Mark Meadows who previously told the House Select Committee that Trump approved of rioters chanting violent threats against former Vice President Mike Pence on January 6, 2021.

Trump has previously denied reporting Hutchinson’s leaked testimony, saying on his Truth Social platform earlier this month that he “never said, or even thought to say, ‘Hang Mike Pence’.”

“It’s either a story made up by someone looking to become a star, or it’s fake news!” he wrote at the time.

But a person close to Trump said he was nervous about Tuesday’s hearing, which will feature live testimony from Hutchison and “present newly obtained evidence,” the committee said Monday. Ahead of the committee’s announcement on Monday, this person said Trump felt triumphant amid back-to-back Supreme Court rulings protecting the right to conceal carrying a firearm and ending the constitutional right to abortion.

“He certainly didn’t expect a turn like this,” the person close to Trump said.

The former president and his allies plan to make Hutchinson a junior aide who had little influence inside the West Wing, despite her closeness to Trump and his chief of staff. Hutchinson served in the Office of Legislative Affairs before becoming a top Meadows aide and was an eyewitness to several key episodes leading up to Jan. 6, in addition to witnessing some of Trump’s real-time reactions this that day.

Trump is particularly concerned about what Hutchinson might say about his state of mind and his response to the Jan. 6 rioters, a second person close to him said.

Trump’s former White House aides are also very curious to see what Hutchinson has to say at this upcoming surprise hearing, given his constant access to Meadows during key White House moments.

Meadows made Hutchinson his legislative aide even though she was only 20 when he was chief of staff, and she would accompany Meadows to Capitol Hill for his most serious meetings. Hutchinson was with Meadows “all the time,” a former White House official said. Another source added, “She had very close access to Meadows and Trump, so what she says will be interesting.”

A former White House aide said Hutchinson had a falling out with Meadows in 2021. She was supposed to go to Mar-a-Lago as a permanent staff, but that never happened.

A person close to Hutchinson said she testified before the committee for at least 20 hours, detailing her time in key White House meetings as Trump and his allies tried to overturn election results. So far, the committee has only aired small snippets of all that testimony, so there’s a lot more to learn from her today. As for why she’s doing this amid all the security concerns, this source says she “got caught up in it” as a young staff member in her early 20s and wanted to do the good thing.

Trump allies may try to dismiss her as a low-level staffer, but the bottom line is that she was a special assistant to the president, senior adviser to Meadows, adviser on legislative affairs and she had visibility on operations, such as POTUS movements, calendar and AF1 manifests.

A source said that “she was the consummate insider” and was on a first-name basis with most congressional leaders.

Another person added that Trump will likely claim he doesn’t know her, but that she attended many key White House meetings with him.