Cassidy Hutchinson claims Trump figures sought to influence her testimony

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Former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson told the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol that she willfully withheld information from investigators from her first attorney. He testified that he was advised to do so and was asked for job offers and promises of financial security. In exchange for allegiance to former President Donald Trump.

The allegation, if true, amounts to possible witness tampering, detailed by Hutchinson in transcripts of interviews released by the commission on Thursday.

In testimony, Hutchinson said that her first attorney and former White House ethics adviser to President Trump, Stefan Passantino, said she remembered certain things during interviews with commission investigators. She also discouraged her from jogging her memory and even bringing notes to interviews for investigators to collect.

“Better than I remember,” Hutchinson recalled Passantino telling her. “Don’t read something trying to go by memory. Don’t try to put together a timeline.

Hutchinson said that in addition to her own lawyer, Trump’s former campaign lawyer, chief of staff, White House attorney and other former presidential aides showered her with praise and promised her loyalty would be rewarded. claimed.

“I’m going to give you a really good job in the world of Trump,” Hutchinson said Passantino told her in a single phone call days before her scheduled testimony. You don’t have to apply for a place at , take care of yourself, we want to keep you in the family.”

The commission released a transcript of Hutchinson’s September testimony on Thursday, followed by a series of actions on Monday that included referrals to multiple criminals, and a more than 800-page report on the commission’s investigation. was to be announced.

A former junior aide, Hutchinson was the star witness at a series of summer hearings on the committee, providing the public with an inside perspective on events in the White House where Trump fought to reverse his 2020 defeat. While the commission says it supports her testimony, some of her most explosive claims have either been unsubstantiated or disputed by those involved.

Passantino denied any wrongdoing in a statement provided to The Washington Post. says he doesn’t do it.

“Like all clients in my thirty years of practice, I have represented Ms. Hutchinson honorably, ethically, and fully in accordance with her sole interests as she has communicated them to me. I believe that Ms Hutchinson has been loyal and supportive of the Commission through several interviews in which I represented her,” Passantino said in a statement.

He added that he will be taking a leave of absence from one of his law firms, Michael Best & Friedrich, “because I was distracted by this matter.” The company “has no involvement with Mr. Hutchinson’s representatives,” he said.

Hutchinson told investigators that Pasantino repeatedly refused to disclose that he was being paid by Trump supporters. When he did, she testified, he dangled lucrative job prospects into Trump’s orbit.

Hutchinson, in his testimony in September, said of his struggle with opposing forces: Her belief that she didn’t tell the truth in her two interviews, the first of which was conducted in February and March, and fear of the repercussions it will have. In more open testimony, she called it “Trump’s World.”

It wasn’t just that Stephan was sitting next to him. I felt like Trump was looking over my shoulder,” Hutchinson testified. “Because somehow I knew that if I said something that I thought was dishonest, it would come back to him. I’ve seen people try to ruin their careers.”

How Trump’s choice escalated tensions and pushed the US toward the Jan. 6 riots

She said she began hearing about potential job opportunities from multiple people in Trump’s orbit shortly after Passantino began representing her. Hutchinson testified that it escalated the night before her March 7 interview.

Hutchinson said he received an email from former Trump campaign lawyer Justin Clarke on March 10, beginning four days before his scheduled testimony. She also testified that Jason Miller, another Trump supporter and chief executive of social media platform Gettr, arranged a job interview with one of her executives on March 8.

She recalled what executive and former Trump campaign operative Kaelan Doll told her on March 8. We are looking for the right person for who he says you are. “

In the weeks and months before interviews with commission investigators and lawmakers, other prominent allies in Trump’s orbit ended up in Hutchinson’s inbox, she said.

Clark and Trump’s White House attorney, Eric Hirschman, regularly checked in. Former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondy informed Hutchinson that it became a topic of conversation at a dinner with Trump himself one night in March. Collaboration with Republican heavyweights was discussed.

Hutchinson testifies: Call Matt next week. He has a job for you that we all think you are good at. keep up the good work. love, i miss you

Neither Bondi nor Schrup did not respond to requests for comment.

Ben Williamson, a former White House aide who still worked under Hutchinson’s former boss, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, said the night before his second scheduled interview with the committee, I reached out to Hutchinson with a friendly reminder.

“He said something like, ‘Well, Mark knows that you are loyal, that you will do the right thing tomorrow, and that you will protect him and your boss.’ I want you to let me know what you know,” Hutchinson testified. “He knows we are on the same team and we are his family.”

Williamson did not immediately provide comment.

Hutchinson said her testimony grew in suspicion on April 22 after the commission released some of her testimony in the lawsuit filed against Meadows.

She told Pasantino about her fears and he assured her that there was nothing wrong with her testimony and that the “boss”, meaning Trump, was not upset about it.

“If he was angry about what you said he would have listened, but it’s just a reminder that your boss is reading the minutes,” Hutchinson recalled Passantino telling her. , I want to keep you out of bad situations, no matter what he’s reading.”

Hutchinson recalls that it was only a few days later that Miller called to inform him that the Gettr job was “completed.”

Shortly thereafter, on April 26, Hutchinson sought out a trusted collaborator.

That day, she visited Alyssa Farrar, the former Trump aide who successfully broke Trump’s allegiance to the world. Hutchinson confided that, according to her testimony, she had withheld information from the commission on Pasantino’s orders.

In Hutchinson’s retelling, Farrar then acted as a backchannel to the Commission, revealing that Hutchinson had more information to provide, such as Trump’s actions on January 6, and that she provided a possible question that should be asked.

In a third interview with the committee three weeks later, after Passantino teased an impending job offer from Red Curve Solutions, the firm that accounts for Trump’s PAC along with other Republican committees, Hutchinson said she answered a question posed to the committee.Through Farrar, the seemingly shocking Passantino.

During an interview break, Passantino recalled pressing her: How do they know you know all this? “

Trying to maintain a plausible denial, Hutchinson replied to him: “Stefan, I don’t know, but it sounds like someone is talking.”

His reaction, she said, was: As far as I know, no one has ever talked about this. I know people who are familiar with all this. …how do they know you know about this?

“Maybe,” she replied, “your sources aren’t that great.”

After the interview, she turned to the committee staff and said, “I’m about to get a nuclear attack.”

“I’m really sorry,” replied the staff member.

Hutchinson told the commission that after she showed up, Passantino desperately tried to warn Meadows and other attorneys about what the commission knew. Hanks’ Oyster in Washington’s Wharf When she called from outside her bar, she stayed inside the restaurant and said, “I quit my old shop and had another one,” she said. rice field.

After the May 17 interview, the price of Hutchinson’s cooperation—and her betrayal of Trump—started to come to mind, she said.

Hutchinson strongly objected to Passantino admonishing Meadows attorneys George Terwilliger and John Moran for what she was asked and what she said in an interview with the Commission in May.

However, Passantino says that if he doesn’t relay the information, it will probably leak soon, and Meadows will think she’s a witness against him. Told.

“While it is neither unusual nor inappropriate for lawyers with common interests to speak to each other, in this case, we find that committee members and staff constantly going too far to find fault with the client. We carefully avoided that type of contact,” Terwilliger said. “One of our partners may have had a passing conversation with Mr. Passantino, but it was of no practical importance to anyone.”

On May 24, a week after her interview with the committee, Red Curve Solutions notified her that she had not been hired, she said.

Bradley Crate, president of Red Curve Solutions, did not respond to a request for comment.

“In my head, I knew where my loyalty lay, and my loyalty was with the truth,” Hutchinson said from the legal arrangement she saw serving Trump. I remember letting myself go.

In an executive summary of the final report issued Monday, the commission deemed Hutchinson “no reason” and “serious” to invent her account.

However, many within the committee have questioned the decision to allow her to testify live on television.

Of all the transcripts, Hutchinson’s caused the most concern within the committee, investigative officials said.

Hutchinson was told by Rep. Liz Cheney (R, Wyoming), the deputy chairman of the committee, that White House Deputy Chief of Staff Anthony Ornato told her Trump had rushed for secrecy. When asked about her raw testimony, she said she leaves no doubt about her explanation. Service his agent Robert Engel, who is furious that he will not be driven to the Capitol. She said she had two more conversations with Ornato.

“I have no doubt about the conversation I had with Mr. Ornato on January 6,” Hutchinson told investigators in September. , there is no doubt about it.”

She also claimed Passantino knew Hutchinson knew about Ornato’s story, and when she expressed concern to him about lying to investigators, Passantino said she was hurting herself. I reassured him that he wasn’t.

“I want to make it clear that he knew I was relayed by Tony Ornato about an incident that may have happened in the limousine,” Hutchinson said. “Stefan knew this.”

Josh Dawsey contributed to this report.

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