Cassidy Hutchinson, former aide for Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, testified on June 28 that former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had reached out to Meadows to say that Cabinet secretaries behind the scenes were discussing invoking the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump from office. Hutchinson said Pompeo also expressed concern for Meadows’ “positioning with this.”
In a public hearing before the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack, Hutchinson also shared details about efforts to persuade Trump to speak out the next day and what the president wanted and didn’t want in the remarks — including wanting to avoid talking about prosecuting the rioters or calling them violent.
Trump spoke on Jan. 7 at the urging of some of his advisers, including his daughter Ivanka Trump, her husband Jared Kushner and White House counsel Pat Cipollone, she said. They argued that his previous statement on Jan. 6 was not strong enough, that his legacy was being damaged and that the 25th Amendment could be used to unseat him from power.
“‘Think about what might happen in the final 15 days of your presidency. If we don’t do this, there’s already talks about invoking the 25th Amendment. You need this as cover’,” Hutchinson recalled their thinking in an earlier deposition.
She also testified that Trump wanted to include language in that speech about pardoning those who took part in the attack, an idea that she said Meadows encouraged but that the White House counsel’s office disagreed with. According to Hutchinson, both Giuliani and Meadows suggested or sought presidential pardons for themselves, as well.
The hearing was unexpectedly announced a week after the Jan. 6 committee said they were taking a break until the month of July. In the year since its creation, the committee has conducted more than 1,000 interviews, seeking critical information and documents from people witness to, or involved in, the violence that day.
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