January 6 Panel Moved Up Hearing Over Fear That Meadows Aide Is in Danger

The House Jan. 6-committee announced Monday an abrupt surprise hearing for Tuesday, despite having previously moved its schedule back until July.

The panel will meet Monday said it would hold a hearing Tuesday to “present recently obtained evidence and receive witness testimony.”

The committee’s surprise witness is Cassidy Hutchinson, a former top aide to Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows, according to Punchbowl NewsOther reports. Hutchinson, who had frequent contact with former President Donald Trump and his inner circle, was the main point of contact for lawmakers who sought pardons in connection to their involvement in the plot to overturn Trump’s loss on Jan. 6.

Hutchinson has appeared in clips at hearings of the committee listing members of Congress who requested her for pardons. She has testified before this committee four times, including once in 10 days. Punchbowl News.

Hutchinson has been “much more cooperative” with the committee since replacing attorney Stefan Passantino, a former Trump White House ethics lawyer, with Jody Hunt, a former chief of staff to then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

The committee moved up the hearing amid “sincere concerns” about Hutchinson’s “physical security because of what she knows and has revealed to the committee,” according to the report. Because of the concerns, members “felt they couldn’t wait until the House returns from recess in mid-July.”

Hutchinson since replacing her lawyer has emerged as a potential key witness in the committee’s investigation, having been “in the middle of almost everything that happened in the West Wing” leading up to the deadly riot, according to the report.

Hutchinson was in touch with Georgia officials during Trump’s efforts to overturn his loss in the state. Hutchinson also told the committee that Trump suggested to Meadows that he approved of the “hang Mike Pence” chants from his supporters at the Capitol, according to CNN. She also testified to having seen Meadows burn papers in his office during a meeting with Rep. Scott Perry, R.Pa., before Jan. 6. Politico.

Hutchinson presenting a clip of her deposition at a recent hearing. It included Perry and Reps. Matt Gaetz and Mo Brooks, R.Fla., Andy Biggs, R.Ariz., Louie Gohmert and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R.Ga.).

The committee will likely ask Meadows about events that they had hoped to interview him about. Meadows refused testify before the committee, despite having already turned over thousands more text messages, including interactions with lawmakers. Meadows was recommended contempt charges by the House last year. However, the Justice Department declined to bring him to trial.

Hutchinson said to the committee she was well-aware of the events surrounding the January 6 plotting at White House.

“Almost all, if not all, meetings Mr. Trump had, I had insight on,” she told the panel in March, according to Politico.

Hutchinson told the committee that the White House counsel’s office told Meadows and former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani that their plan to have “alternate” slates of electors meet and cast votes for Trump was illegal even as they continued with it anyway. She described conversations about “invoking martial law,” seizing voting machines, and appointing former Trump lawyer Sidney Powell as a special counsel — plans that got shot down after “it became clear that there would be mass resignations, including lawyers in the White House Counsel’s Office.”

Hutchinson also testified to the fact that a Secret Service agent warned Meadows of the threat from violence on January 6.

While clips of her interviews have been played during the hearings, it’s unclear what Hutchinson will discuss on Tuesday and some members of the committee are also “in the dark about the urgency of the meeting,” according to Politico.

“BETTER BE A BIG DEAL,” tweetedJohn Dean, former White House counsel, was a key witness in the Watergate hearings against Richard Nixon. “There was only one surprise witness during the Senate Watergate Committee hearings. On July 16, 1973 an unannounced witness appeared: Alex Butterfield, who testified to Nixon’s secret taping system — forever changing history!”