Former President Donald Trump urged the Secret Service to remove magnetometers at his rally near the White House on Jan. 6, 2021, despite concerns some of his supporters might be carrying deadly weapons, a former aide testified Tuesday.
Cassidy Hutchinson, who was a top aide to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, said Mr. Trump encouraged his security detail to halt screening measures for his supporters at a “Stop the Steal” rally hours before the Capitol riot.
“I don’t f***ing care if they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me. Take the f***ing mags away. Let my people in. They can march to the Capitol from here. Let the people in. Take the f***ing mags away,” Ms. Hutchinson recalls overhearing Mr. Trump saying that day, shortly before he went on stage.
She also testified that another White House staffer told her that Mr. Trump became “irate” and lunged for the steering wheel of the presidential limo when the Secret Service prevented him from going to the Capitol after the rally. She said the head of Mr. Trump‘s security detail grabbed the president’s arm to stop him, and they returned the president to the White House against his wishes.
Ms. Hutchinson also said Mr. Meadows hardly responded to concerns raised by deputy chief of staff Tony Ornato, who informed him and Mr. Trump about the presence of weapons in the crowd of his rally, including rifles, pistols, bear spray, guns, flagpoles, and spears.
The committee also played police radio transmissions from that day, reporting the presence of assault-style rifles.
“I got three men walking down the street in fatigues carrying AR-15s,” one transmission from Jan. 6 stated.
The committee also showed Secret Service reports saying there were around 10,000 people at one point waiting to go through the magnetometers to see Mr. Trump at the rally, including people who were wearing ballistic helmets, body armor, and carrying military-grade backpacks and radio equipment.
The committee announced the rare out-of-session hearing and promised new information about the investigation.
Republicans dismissed the revelations presented by Ms. Hutchinson, the sole witness, as a “joke.”
“It’s literally all hearsay evidence. What a joke,” said a tweet by House Judiciary Committee Republicans.
Rep. Dan Bishop, North Carolina Republican, said he didn’t think anything presented would ever hold up in court.
“This show trial feels more like an audition for some hopeful CNN contributors,” Mr. Bishop said.