Former President Donald Trump knew his supporters were armed with weapons the day of the Jan 6, 2021, Capitol attack, but insisted they be allowed to watch him speak before the riot.
“I heard the president say something to the effect of, ‘I don’t f-ing care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me. Take the f-ing mags [metal detectors] away. Let my people in. They can march to the Capitol from here,’” said Cassidy Hutchinson, who was an aide to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.
The new explosive testimony was aired during a surprise hearing on Tuesday. Hutchinson recalled that Trump had been informed by Secret Service that his supporters had brought weapons to his rally shortly before the attack on the Capitol. Those weapons included bear spray, spears, guns and flagpoles used as weapons.
Trump, however, was apparently fixated on the crowd size and demanded more of his supporters be allowed to bypass metal detectors to watch him speak, Hutchinson testified.
“He was furious because he wanted the arena we had at the ellipse to be maxed out to capacity,” Hutchinson said of Trump’s demeanor.
Following Trump’s rally, hundreds of his supporters stormed the Capitol. Five people died and more than 140 officers were injured.
Trump wanted to go to the Capitol with them, according to the testimony. As his supporters ― many of them armed ― began the walk to the Capitol, Secret Service officers whisked Trump away in his presidential limo, but the then-president demanded he be taken to the Capitol, Hutchinson said.
“The president said something to the effect of, ‘I’m the f-ing president, take me up to the Capitol now.’ To which [Secret Service agent Bobby Engel] responded, ‘Sir, we have to go back to the West Wing,’” Hutchinson testified, recounting a story another Trump aide had told her.
An “irate” Trump then attempted to grab the steering wheel and reached towards Engel’s neck, Hutchinson said.
“Mr. Trump then used his free hand to lunge towards Bobby Engel and when Mr. [Anthony] Ornato had recounted the story to me, he had motioned towards his clavicles,” she said.