POLITICO Playbook: What the Jan. 6 committee’s star witness knows- POLITICO – POLITICO

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POLITICO Playbook: What the Jan. 6 committee’s star witness knows- POLITICO  POLITICO

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With help from Eli Okun and Garrett Ross


HEARING NUMBER SIX — On Monday afternoon, the House Jan. 6 committee, which was supposed to be on a hiatus for the next two weeks, abruptly announced it would be holding a hearing today at 1 p.m. “to present recently obtained evidence and receive witness testimony.”

The star witness is expected to be CASSIDY HUTCHINSON, a former special assistant to the president who worked as an aide to ex-chief of staff MARK MEADOWS who has testified three times behind closed doors, in February, March and May.

Hutchinson knows a lot. Before, on, and after Jan. 6, she had close proximity to both Meadows and then-President DONALD TRUMP.

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

She has been the source of a series of extraordinary revelations:

  • Burning documents: Hutchinson “told the panel investigating the Capitol attack that she saw Meadows incinerate documents after a meeting in his office with Rep. SCOTT PERRY (R-Pa.),” who was working closely with the White House to invalidate the results of the 2020 election, POLITICO’s Betsy Woodruff Swan and Kyle Cheney reported in May.
  • Violence: Hutchinson testified that she remembered a Secret Service agent “coming in and saying that we had intel reports saying that there could potentially be violence on the 6th.” The agent and Meadows huddled privately for five minutes to discuss the threats, she said.
  • Illegal plan: Hutchinson told the committee that the White House Counsel’s office, during a meeting with Meadows and RUDY GIULIANI and others, advised that the scheme to have alternate electors meet and cast votes for Trump was not legal.
  • Early start: She testified that “Mr. Giuliani, several of Mr. Giuliani’s associates, Mr. Meadows, Members of Congress,” were discussing a fake electors plan during Thanksgiving 2020.
  • GOP House members as co-conspirators: Hutchinson has given detailed testimony about a number of House Republicans who were involved with pressuring former VP MIKE PENCE to reject electors during the joint session of Congress and encouraging protesters to march on the Capitol Jan. 6. 
  • Pardons: She is the key source for the revelation that six House Republicans sought pardons from Trump for their roles in the events of Jan. 6. 
  • “Hang Mike Pence!”: She reportedly confirmed that Trump told Meadows on Jan. 6 that Trump agreed with the infamous chant of rioters who wanted to kill the vice president.
  • Martial law: In an extraordinary excerpt of her testimony that has been released, Hutchinson said that conversations about seizing voting machines, appointing SIDNEY POWELL as a special counsel and “invoking martial law” were stopped because “it became clear that there would be mass resignations, including lawyers in the White House Counsel’s Office.”

All of this has become known in recent months from information revealed in litigation, leaks to reporters, and video snippets of Hutchinson’s testimony played during two of the committee’s public hearings. Hutchinson was always going to be a crucial witness, and seemed likely to go public in one of the committee’s July hearings.

What’s not known is why the committee is rushing her out into public today.POLITICO recently reported that Hutchinson switched lawyers. Her previous counsel, STEFAN PASSANTINO, the Trump White House’s chief ethics lawyer, had ties to Trump world. Her new attorney, JODY HUNT of Alston Bird, was the chief of staff to JEFF SESSIONS when the former attorney general recused himself from the Russia investigation, which ruptured his relationship with Trump.

Hunt’s DOJ background has led to some speculation that today’s hearing is somehow related to the department’s recently stepped up activity on Jan. 6-related matters. Last week, FBI agents acting on behalf of the DOJ I.G.’s office seized the phone of lawyer JOHN EASTMAN, and investigators raided the home of former DOJ official JEFFREY CLARK. 

While the news of Hutchinson’s appearance eventually leaked out last nightsee our story here — even some members of the committee were in the dark about the urgency of the meeting. It’s possible there’s more to the hearing than just her. There could be additional witnesses, and the recent evidence the committee referred to might come from the footage obtained from documentary filmmaker ALEX HOLDER, some new tips that have come to the committee’s attention, or new Trump White House documents that the National Archives has agreed to hand over.

Hutchinson began her time at the White House as an intern. She probably couldn’t have known that job would end up with her being JOHN DEAN","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/06/04/jan-6-committee-set-make-its-case-public-with-prime-time-hearing/","_id":"00000181-ab3d-dc9b-adbb-af7fa9a0000c","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"00000181-ab3d-dc9b-adbb-af7fa9a0000d","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>compared to JOHN DEAN, but she went into her White House service with a sense of duty. “I am confident I will be an effective leader in the fight to secure the American dream for future generations,” she told her college paper in 2018, “so they too will have the bountiful opportunities and freedoms that make the United States great.”

Good Tuesday morning. Thanks for reading Playbook. Drop us a line if you know more about today’s hearing: Rachael Bade","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"mailto:rbade@politico.com","_id":"00000181-ab3d-dc9b-adbb-af7fa9a00010","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"00000181-ab3d-dc9b-adbb-af7fa9a00011","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>Rachael Bade, Eugene Daniels","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"mailto:edaniels@politico.com","_id":"00000181-ab3d-dc9b-adbb-af7fa9a00012","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"00000181-ab3d-dc9b-adbb-af7fa9a00013","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>Eugene Daniels, Ryan Lizza","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"mailto:rlizza@politico.com","_id":"00000181-ab3d-dc9b-adbb-af7fa9a00014","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"00000181-ab3d-dc9b-adbb-af7fa9a00015","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>Ryan Lizza.

PRIMARY DAY — Steve Shepard breaks down everything you need to know about the primaries today in Colorado, Illinois, Mississippi, New York, Oklahoma and Utah:

“Democrats have a lot riding on Tuesday’s primaries. The Republican primaries, that is.

“Facing hurricane-force electoral headwinds in November, Democrats have launched an unprecedented effort to meddle in GOP nominating contests across the country, elevating extreme candidates and attacking Republican hopefuls they view as greater threats in the general election.

“Tuesday’s races feature four races in which Democratic candidates or groups are seeking to influence Republican primary voters, including a more-than-$30-million effort in the Illinois governor’s race. There are also multi-million-dollar campaigns to boost far-right Republican statewide candidates in Colorado, the one-time swing state where then-President Donald Trump was trounced two years ago.

“Plenty of other big-ticket primaries on Tuesday don’t involve inter-party meddling, including two member-versus-member congressional races in Illinois and a handful of Republican incumbents taking heat for voting to investigate the Jan. 6 attacks at the Capitol. There’s also the tabloid-fodder GOP race for New York governor, a Republican pile-up for a Senate seat in safely red Oklahoma and a handful of open House races splitting both parties’ establishment and confrontational wings.”

Related read: “Abortion central in first post-Roe primaries,”","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"https://apnews.com/article/abortion-2022-midterm-elections-us-supreme-court-colorado-presidential-01f89314cca7a8671bef1f7637e5be7b","_id":"00000181-ab3d-dc9b-adbb-af7fa9a20002","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"00000181-ab3d-dc9b-adbb-af7fa9a20003","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>“Abortion central in first post-Roe primaries,” by AP’s Nicholas Riccardi

BIDEN’S TUESDAY — The president has already met with German Chancellor OLAF SCHOLZ, French President EMMANUEL MACRON and British PM BORIS JOHNSON and delivered remarks at the final session of the G-7 summit. He’s now on his way to Madrid. Still to come (all times Eastern):

— 9:10 a.m.: President JOE BIDEN will arrive in Spain.

— 10 a.m.: Biden will have a bilateral meeting with Spanish President PEDRO SÁNCHEZ at the Palace of Moncloa to talk Ukraine/Russia.

— 11:30 a.m.: Biden will meet with King FELIPE VI of Spain at the Royal Palace of Madrid.

— 2:05 p.m.: The Bidens will attend a dinner with other world leaders at the Royal Palace.

Press secretary KARINE JEAN-PIERRE and national security adviser JAKE SULLIVAN will gaggle on Air Force One on the way to Madrid.

VP KAMALA HARRIS’ TUESDAY — The VP has nothing on her public schedule.

THEHOUSE is out. The Jan. 6 committee will hold its latest hearing at 1 p.m.

THE SENATE is out.




TENSIONS ON THE LEFT — Progressives on the Hill are growing frustrated with the White House on abortion, urging more aggressive and immediate action after the Supreme Court ruling, report Burgess Everett, Sarah Ferris, Adam Cancryn and Jonathan Lemire. Though “[i]t’s not a full Democratic pile-on yet,” members of Congress are meeting with administration staffers and urging Biden to take a more vigorous leadership role on the issue — along with specific policy moves. The White House says there isn’t much they can do.

Rep. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-Wash.): “[Biden] made a strong statement the day of. I would have liked to see some more specific actions rolled out … We all knew this was coming.”

— WaPo’s Yasmeen Abutaleb, Cleve Wootson Jr. and Marianna Sotomayor have a similar story on angry Democrats saying the party needs to get bolder. “We are dealing with one side that is undermining the very essence of what it means to be a country that roots itself in this philosophy of equal protection under the law,” Rev. WILLIAM BARBER says. “You cannot battle that if folks on the other side are always moderating, modulating and compromising. It’s not the age we’re in.”

DYNAMICS ON THE RIGHT —  Former VP Mike Pence is planning to make abortion a big focus of his potential 2024 campaign, calling for a nationwide ban and traveling to individual states to advocating for antiabortion legislation, WaPo’s Hannah Knowles and Josh Dawsey report. But not everybody thinks that’s prudent: “One Republican strategist, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to be more candid, said the presidential primary may push GOP candidates further to the right on abortion in ways that could hurt them in the general election.”

AROUND THE COUNTRY … Cue the lawsuits. Here are just some of the latest legal developments as action shifts to the states:


2022 SIREN — This is how bad it’s getting for Democrats: They’re worried about holding their Senate seats in Washington state and Colorado. Natalie Allison reports this morning that a GOP poll had Sen. PATTY MURRAY (D-Wash.) leading a Republican challenger by just 5 points, and Murray has pumped $1 million into recent TV ads. Murray is slamming opponent TIFFANY SMILEY on abortion and linking her to McConnell, but Smiley’s polling shows voters are still more focused on inflation. Meanwhile in Colorado, Dems are trying to elevate a far-right candidate in today’s GOP primary as they worry about the general-election threat from a moderate Republican. Internal polling shows Sen. MICHAEL BENNET (D-Colo.) could be in for a close race.

2024 WATCH — The White House is frustrated by the constant whispers about whether he should step aside in 2024, as Biden bulks up his political operation for a reelection bid and dismisses his doubters, NYT’s Jonathan Martin and Zolan Kanno-Youngs report. Sen. BERNIE SANDERS’ (I-Vt.) vow not to challenge Biden in 2024 earned him dinner at the White House the very next night. Biden world sees him as the party’s best bet to take down Trump once again, and they’re making moves to assure control of the DNC. But not everybody has jumped on board: Sen. JOE MANCHIN (D-W.Va.) wouldn’t tell the reporters whether he’d back Biden — or consider a third-party run of his own.

CEDRIC RICHMOND: There’s “a wing in our party who wanted a different candidate and I’m sure they’d love to have their candidate back in the mix again.”


HARRIS SPEAKS — The VP sat down with CNN’s Dana Bash for a rare on-camera one-on-one interview, in which she vowed to keep fighting for abortion rights but threw cold water on the idea of using federal lands to provide abortion access. As for the centrist senators who felt betrayed by Justices NEIL GORSUCH and BRETT KAVANAUGH overturning Roe v. Wade? “I never believed them,” Harris said of the justices. “I didn’t believe them. That’s why I voted against them.” More from the interview:

  • Harris emphasized that inflation continues to be the administration’s No. 1 priority.
  • She praised predecessor Mike Pence for refusing to overturn the 2020 election, as the Jan. 6 committee hearings have laid out.
  • No uncertainty about 2024: “Joe Biden is running for reelection, and I will be his ticket mate.”

NOMINATION WOES — Harris County, Texas, Sheriff ED GONZALEZ announced he’s withdrawing from consideration as ICE director after more than a year in which Congress didn’t act on his nomination. The move prolongs the period in which the agency has lacked a Senate-confirmed leader; the last one was during the Obama administration. Gonzalez warned in a series of tweets that “the paralyzing political gridlock … threatens far more than our nation’s border. Frankly, the dysfunction threatens America’s heart and soul.” He told WaPo’s Maria Sacchetti that he’d considered withdrawing for a while due to the delay, but was waiting for an investigation to clear him of a domestic abuse matter first (which it did).


TO TELL THE TRUTH SOCIAL — Reuters’ Helen Coster and Julia Love have a big special report on Truth Social, which they find has struggled to take off as a social media platform largely due to politics: It’s hard to build a big tech company when you hate Big Tech. “[I]ts managers have sought to avoid potential corporate partners and employees perceived as politically liberal in a Silicon Valley-based industry that skews left,” the investigation finds, while “[m]any engineers and tech firms won’t consider working with a Trump company.” The result has been troubles with the Apple Store, with Android phones, with attracting necessary talent, with following technological best practices and more.


HAPPENING TODAY — An FDA advisory panel will meet to discuss the matter of updating Covid-19 vaccines to better target new strains, “with an eye to a rollout of updated vaccines to be administered in the autumn,” Stat’s Helen Branswell previews.


AWFUL NEWS — Authorities discovered a tractor trailer in San Antonio with at least 46 migrants inside dead from the heat, out of nearly 100 trapped in the vehicle. Police said three people were in custody. Politicians of all stripes quickly cast the apparent human smuggling catastrophe in terms favorable to their immigration positions. More from the San Antonio Express-News","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"https://www.expressnews.com/news/local/article/Immigrants-dead-tractor-trailer-Texas-17269754.php","_id":"00000181-ab3d-dc9b-adbb-af7fa9aa0006","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"00000181-ab3d-dc9b-adbb-af7fa9aa0007","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>More from the San Antonio Express-News


Gavin Newsom’s California gubernatorial campaign is reserving ad time on Fox News in Florida on July 4, per Medium Buying.

Harry Wilson, a New York GOP gubernatorial candidate, called rival Lee Zeldin and an aide “scumbags” in a group text that he accidentally sent to … Zeldin.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will appear on tonight’s “Late Show with Stephen Colbert.”

Tucker Carlson interviewed John Eastman, and called his situation a “reminder to anyone who didn’t vote for Joe Biden to erase your texts and emails every single day.”

John Hinckley will have his first TV interview this morning at 7 a.m. with CBS’ Major Garrett.

More than two years after they were first disrupted, White House tours will return to full force July 19, the administration announced Monday.

IN MEMORIAM — Michael Stenger, the former Senate sergeant-at-arms who resigned after the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, died Monday.

FIRST IN PLAYBOOK — Erin Heeter, press secretary for Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), was elected president of the Senate Press Secretaries Association. Also tapped for the executive board: Jake Abbott, Caroline Anderegg, Ty Bofferding, Tom Brandt, Stacey Daniels, Roy Loewenstein, Jenna Valle-Riestra, Natalie Yezbick and Lillie Zeng.

WHITE HOUSE ARRIVAL LOUNGE — Rachel Thomas is now on a White House detail as senior comms adviser for policy. She most recently has been deputy assistant secretary of Education for comms.

TRANSITIONS — Jack Kalavritinos has been appointed executive director of the Coalition Against Socialized Medicine. He most recently founded JK Strategies, and is a Trump HHS and FDA alum. … Marina Chafa will be comms director for Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.). She most recently has been comms assistant for Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.). … Roman Gabriel is now SVP and head of public policy at Lincoln Financial. He most recently was VP and deputy head of external affairs at Prudential Financial, where he spent almost two decades. …

… Kara (Wheeler) Adame is now head of the office of federal affairs at Protective Life. She most recently was head of the Washington office for Mutual of Omaha. … Elizabeth “Libby” Coffin is now principal-in-charge of the office of government affairs and public policy at KPMG LLP. She most recently was VP for corporate and commercial government relations at Raytheon Technologies. … Katie Beirne Fallon has been named head of comms, public affairs and policy at Fidelity Investments. She currently is EVP and chief global impact officer at McDonald’s, and is an Obama White House alum.

WEEKEND WEDDINGS — Democratic consultant Mark Spengler and architect Eduardo Sardiña got married at their home in Helena, Mont., on June 18 with their families, followed by a week with friends on Swan Lake near Glacier National Park. Pic","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"https://static.politico.com/b6/8c/886f648a46a3b4a7bc9620de7f2c/wedding.jpg","_id":"00000181-ab3d-dc9b-adbb-af7fa9ad0000","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"00000181-ab3d-dc9b-adbb-af7fa9ad0001","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>Pic Another pic","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"https://static.politico.com/50/8a/d9838f0b468b9a9f9d38c26735b2/wedding2.jpg","_id":"00000181-ab3d-dc9b-adbb-af7fa9ad0002","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"00000181-ab3d-dc9b-adbb-af7fa9ad0003","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>Another pic SPOTTED:Danielle and Steve Arlowe, Dave Barmore and Patrick Phillippi, Dave Brown and Ben Baum, Jonathan Collard, Chris and Kristin Cordingley, Todd Malan and Dave DeSantis, and Michael Paese.

— Alexis Kleinman, branded content editor at Axios and a HuffPost and NYT alum, and Chris Mezias, a research scientist at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, got married Saturday in the Catskills in Hunter, N.Y. They met on Bumble. Pic","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"https://static.politico.com/f7/09/9d09d75342dbb14adc85aa0343fe/thumbnail-image-1-1adadada.jpeg","_id":"00000181-ab3d-dc9b-adbb-af7fa9ad0004","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"00000181-ab3d-dc9b-adbb-af7fa9ad0005","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>Pic

— Liana Baker, managing editor of the U.S. deals team at Bloomberg News, and Jeffrey Kleeblatt, executive director in legal and compliance at Morgan Stanley, got married Sunday at the Edgewood Country Club in River Vale, N.J. The couple met on JSwipe in late 2015 after both having ski photos on their profiles and soon discovered they lived across the street in Midtown Manhattan. Pic by Andrew Todes","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"https://static.politico.com/d6/24/580be21443b994d0ae2d342bd3f7/liana-jeff-wed-1971-p-2.jpg","_id":"00000181-ab3d-dc9b-adbb-af7fa9ad0006","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"00000181-ab3d-dc9b-adbb-af7fa9ad0007","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>Pic by Andrew Todes SPOTTED: Lauren Hirsch, Lauren Tara-Capra, Ed Hammond, Katie Roof, Jon Harari, Scott Deveau, Kiel Porter, Elizabeth Fournier, Leslie Mechanic, Sean Marcantonio, Liz Coffin-Karlin and Jessica DiNapoli.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Marc KasowitzElon Musk … former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta … former Reps. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), Donna Edwards (D-Md.) and Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.) … Richard Walters … NYT’s David KirkpatrickLaura TysonZiad OjakliBill Greener IIIJesse Holland … POLITICO’s Eli Reyes … E&E News’ Scott WaldmanKurt EichenwaldErin McPikeCarolyn Coda of Invariant … Shari Dexter … Brunswick Group’s Stephanie Benedict … Comcast’s Brian RobertsDeanna WilliamsKenneth DeGraffSteve Johnson of American Airlines … Bloomberg’s Anna Edgerton Paul MorrellPaul Bonicelli Elizabeth HagedornAllison Aprahamian of Rep. Mike Gallagher’s (R-Wis.) office … CNN’s Yaffa FredrickMegan Bloomgren … AP’s Brendan FarringtonMark HelprinKristen Ellingboe of Alliance for Gun Responsibility … Al BrigantiBill Hulse of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness … Ashley Marquis of Jefferson Strategies … Kate Mills of Monument Advocacy … Rob Tappan … Labor Department’s Malbert Smith Mike Lurie Kayla Davidson of Rep. Mike Kelly’s (R-Pa.) office … Pete Nonis

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Correction: An earlier version of today’s Playbook misstated the job title Cassidy Hutchinson held working in the White House during the Trump administration. She was a special assistant to the president.

Correction: Monday’s Playbook erroneously said first lady Jill Biden joined other spouses of G-7 leaders on a hike in Germany. The first lady is in Spain.

Source: politico.com

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