A noose is seen on makeshift gallows as supporters of US President Donald Trump gather on the West side of the US Capitol in Washington DC on January 6, 2021.
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds | AFP | Getty Images
When former President Donald Trump heard his supporters chanting “hang Mike Pence” during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, White House aides said he told them the vice president “deserves” it, according to a former White House aide who testified Tuesday to what she saw and heard during the weeks surrounding the attack.
The jaw-dropping remarks came during the sixth public hearing by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol by a violent pro-Trump mob.
Cassidy Hutchinson, a former top aide to then-chief of staff Mark Meadows, in sworn testimony recounted her experience witnessing Meadows and another top official, White House counsel Pat Cipollone, discussing Trump's reaction as the riot unfolded.
At the White House, Cipollone told Meadows, “The rioters have gotten to the capitol, Mark. We need to go down and see the president now,” Hutchinson testified.
Meadows replied, “He doesn't want to do anything, Pat,” Hutchinson said.
Cipollone shot back, essentially saying that something must be done or “people are going to die and the blood's going to be on your effing hands,” Hutchinson said.
Meadows and Cipollone both walked toward the Oval Office dining room. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, then called asking for Meadows, Hutchinson testified. She said she went to the dining room to give the phone to Meadows, who took the call with the door ajar. Hutchinson said that in the background, she could hear conversations about the chants of “hang Mike Pence” that had sprung up among some of the rioters.
Hutchinson said she returned to her desk and Meadows and Cipollone appeared minutes later.
“I remember Pat saying something to the effect of, ‘Mark, we need to do something more. They're literally calling for the vice president to be effing hung,'” Hutchinson testified.
“Mark had responded something to the effect of, ‘You heard him, Pat. He thinks Mike deserves it. He doesn't think they're doing anything wrong,'” Hutchinson said.
She told the committee, “I understood ‘they're' to be the rioters in the Capitol that were chanting for the vice president to be hung.”
Trump, who was responding to Hutchinson's testimony in real time on his social media platform Truth Social, angrily lashed out following her recollections from inside the White House.
“I NEVER SAID, ‘MIKE PENCE DESERVES IT (to be hung),” Trump wrote. “Another made up statement by a third rate social climber!”
Hutchinson's counsel said in a statement to NBC News that while the former White House aide “did not seek out the attention accompanying her testimony today, she believes that it was her duty and responsibility to provide the Committee with her truthful and candid observations of the events surrounding January 6.”
“Ms. Hutchinson believes that January 6 was a horrific day for the country, and it is vital to the future of our democracy that it not be repeated,” read the statement from her counsel Jody Hunt and William Jordan of law firm Alston and Bird.
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