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Testimony: Donald Trump wanted to join Capitol rioters

June 28, 2022

The former US president allegedly tried to grab the steering wheel in a limo after being told he could not join his supporters. A secret service agent was forced to restrain him, according to the testimony.

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 US Capitol
As an aide to the White House chief of staff, Cassidy Hutchinson was close to the events surrounding the January 6 attack on the CapitolImage: J. Scott Applewhite/AP/picture alliance

Former US President Donald Trump tried to take control of his Secret Service limousine during the January 6 Capitol riots to join his supporters, a former aide testified on Tuesday.

Former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson made several shocking revelations to the House committee that is investigating the insurrection on January 6. The deadly riot saw Trump supporters try to stop an official vote count following the 2020 presidential election.

Trump allegedly tried to join rioters

Hutchinson, who had been a senior aide to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, said that the ex-president had become angry when he was told that he could not join his supporters at the Capitol building and tried to grab the steering wheel.

"I'm the effing president, take me up to the Capitol now," the former aide quoted Trump as saying.

She said that Trump had tried to lunge toward one of the Secret Service agents, Robert Engel, while another agent tried to restrain him.

"Mr. Trump then used his free hand to lunge toward Bobby Engel," Hutchinson testified.

Capitol riot ruling

Aide says Trump didn't care his supporters had weapons

The former White House aide also testified that Trump knew his supporters were carrying weapons and even allegedly had requested that his staff remove magnetometers to have the crowd look bigger — but they were not removed.

Hutchinson recalled that the ex-president said he didn't care that people had weapons on them. "They're not here to hurt me. Take the f-in' mags away. Let my people in. They can march to the Capitol from here,'' she recalled Trump saying. 

The 25-year-old told the committee she had heard people talking about Trump going into the House chamber inside the Capitol building while his supporters were breaking in.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, from Trump's Republican Party, called Hutchinson when he heard the president wanted to come up to the Capitol building and angrily told her, "Don't come up here," she said.

White House officials aware of possibility of violence

Hutchinson also claimed that Trump and some of his close circle were fully aware of the possibility of violence at his rally close to the Capitol building on January 6. This contradicts claims that the riots had been spontaneous and unconnected to Trump or the White House.

She told the committee that Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani had asked her if she had been excited for the rally.

When she asked what was supposed to be happening, he "responded something to the effect of, 'We're going to the Capitol,'" Hutchinson said.

She then told Meadows, whose response made her "scared and nervous" about what could happen.

Meadows "didn't look up from his phone and said something to the effect of, 'There's a lot going on, Cass, but I don't know. Things might get real, real bad on January 6,'" Hutchinson told the hearing.

ab/wd (Reuters, AP)

Editor's note: This story has been edited to reflect that Trump had requested that his staff remove magnetometers outside the White House and that his staff did not.