• Thu. May 23rd, 2024

Former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson defends herself in first post-testimony TV interview

Former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson defends herself in first post-testimony TV interview





CNN
 — 

Cassidy Hutchinson, the former Trump White House aide who delivered bombshell testimony to the House committee investigating the January 6 insurrection, defended the anecdotes she recounted under oath in her first TV interview since her Capitol Hill testimony.

“What would I have to gain by coming forward? It would have been easier for me to continue being complicit and to stay in the comfortable zone,” Hutchinson said in an interview with “CBS Sunday Morning.”

CBS also reported that Hutchinson had testified to grand juries in Fulton County, Georgia, and Washington, DC, about the 2020 election aftermath, but noted it’s unclear how substantial that testimony was in forming the criminal cases now filed against former President Donald Trump.

Hutchinson recounted that an attorney she initially worked with, who had been provided through Trump’s political connections and money, had made clear to her the less she recalled to House investigators, the better. She answered several questions in her initial interviews – before switching attorneys – with “I don’t know” or “I don’t recall,” but it “was information I very clearly recalled.”

Her testimony last year revealed that Trump was aware of the potential for violence on January 6, 2021, but forged ahead with his attempts to rile up his supporters.

Hutchinson also testified that she had heard a secondhand account that Trump was so enraged at his Secret Service detail for blocking him from going to the Capitol on January 6 that he lunged to the front of his presidential limo and tried to turn the wheel.

Secret Service agent Bobby Engel, whom Hutchinson said witnessed the incident, and then-White House deputy chief of staff Tony Ornato, whom she said she heard the story from, have both said they don’t remember it.

But Hutchinson told CBS, “I know what I recall. … I stand by what I testified to,” while noting it is possible that Engel and Ornato don’t remember the incident.

CNN’s Jake Tapper will sit down with Hutchinson for an interview that will air Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET on “The Lead.” Hutchinson’s public appearances come ahead of the release of her upcoming book “Enough.”

In an excerpt from the book that was first reported by The Guardian and confirmed by CNN, Hutchinson claims that Rudy Giuliani groped her on January 6, 2021, as they stood backstage during a rally that preceded the US Capitol attack.

Hutchinson writes that Giuliani put his hands “under my blazer, then my skirt” at the January 6 rally. Giuliani’s political adviser has slammed the claim as a “disgusting lie.” CBS reported that Hutchinson and her publisher stand by the story.

Hutchinson said on Sunday that she has been “coming out of hiding” and going out in “limited capacities” partly for security reasons since coming forward as a witness against Trump.

The former White House aide revealed that she sought guidance from the story of Alexander Butterfield, who testified during the Watergate hearings, and has thanked him in person. Bob Woodward’s book on Butterfield, she said, showed her “not only that I could do this, but that there was life on the other side of it.”

Since her nearly two-hour testimony, Hutchinson has defended what she said in front of the committee and in recorded depositions amid pushback from Trump allies.

Hutchinson has also cooperated with Georgia prosecutors investigating Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election in the state. It is one of the four cases in which the former president has been indicted.

As for 2024, Hutchinson said she wouldn’t vote for Donald Trump. “He is dangerous for the country,” she told CBS.



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