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Jan. 6 witness recounts pressure campaign from Trump allies

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson is an ally of Donald Trump aimed at influencing her work with Congress and suppressing potentially damaging testimony about him. briefed a House committee on January 6 about the widespread pressure campaign from the

In a special closed-door testimony released Thursday, Hutchinson described how people in the former president’s circle hung job opportunities and financial aid as he worked with a commission investigating the Capitol riots. , and her own lawyer — Trump White’s former ethics attorney House — advised lawmakers to stay completely away, telling her, “The less you remember, the better.”

A nine-member committee has released two never-before-seen copies of Hutchinson’s testimony as it seeks to put together an investigation and make its work public. The disbanding committee was also due to release its final report on Thursday.

The transcript provides previously unknown details about what Hutchinson called a “moral struggle” — torn between a desire to tell the truth and a desire to remain loyal to Trump. was – survey.

During a televised hearing in June, Hutchinson went public about Trump’s actions on January 6, 2021. She explained his instructions to remove the magnetometer from the rally of supporters that day, detailing his anger, and the request that was ultimately denied. The Secret Service to the Capitol joins the crowd trying to disrupt the congressional certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s election as president.

According to the transcript, she “felt this moral struggle in her heart all along. He said he would submit to a formal hearing.

Looking back now, she added: I thought that more people would be happy to raise their voices, so I became a witness.

However, when I heard her testimony, it was by no means certain.

Like other aides caught up in the investigation because of his proximity to Mr. Trump, Mr. Hutchinson scrambled to find a lawyer after receiving a subpoena from the committee last year. For her former White House official and Trump supporter to arrange her lawyer for her, even though she herself felt uncomfortable being represented by someone from the “Trump world.” worked in

She was contacted in February by former White House ethics adviser Stefan Passantino, who said he would be her attorney. However, she objected when she asked where the money was coming from.

“I’ll let you know if I want to know one last time,” she said. Similarly, you will never get billed for this, so if that’s what you’re worried about.

As Hutchinson was preparing for her first interview with the Commission later that month, Passantino advised her to “keep her answers short, sweet, and simple, no more than seven words.” The less you think you know, the better and faster it will go.”

Passantino said after hearing stories that he heard Trump lash out at a Secret Service agent in the presidential car for refusing to take him to the Capitol. said he advised her not to delve into why. Committee.

“No no no no no. We don’t want to go there. We don’t want to talk about it,” she explained as he said.

Passantino said in his statement that he “represented Mr. Hutchinson fully, respectfully, ethically and fully in accordance with the sole interests of Mr. Hutchinson as expressed to me.”

In the meantime, Hutchinson told the committee that other Trump advisers seemed keen not only on her cooperation, but also on her financial and work situation. She said two other attorneys allied with Mr. Trump offered her money in advance in May in an attempt to help her find a job, giving her a job in a campaign in the West. Other Trump allies reached out for potential job opportunities.

She said her friend and Meadows aide, Ben Williamson, had spoken to her the night before her second interview with the commission and told her, Do the right thing tomorrow and protect him and his boss. As you know, he knows we are on the same team and we are his family. ”

Williamson declined to comment on Thursday.

In her first interview, the committee repeatedly asked Hutchinson if she knew anything about the commotion inside the president’s SUV, known as “The Beast.” said.

But it wasn’t true.

During an interview break, a distressed Hutchinson told Passantino: I just lied. ‘ She said Passantino didn’t encourage her to fix her record, telling her on her behalf. They don’t know you can remember some of these things. So saying you don’t remember is a perfectly acceptable response to this. ”

Passantino said in a statement that she believes “Ms Hutchinson has been honest and supportive of the Commission throughout the several interview sessions I conducted on her behalf.”

But by April, Hutchinson said he was determined to break free from the constraints of the “Trump world.” She did some internet research on the Watergate scandal and found sympathy for Alexander Butterfield, a young Richard Nixon supporter who became a key witness against Richard Nixon.

Alyssa Farrar drove to the home of a former White House official who had severed ties with the Trump administration and asked her to serve as a backdoor to the committee because she still had something to say.

She testified publicly in June, this time accompanied by a new attorney, in one of the most dramatic moments of the committee hearing. She said she was told Trump actually tried to ram the agent driving the SUV that took him back to the White House on January 6.

Last September, she returned to the committee to speak privately about the pressure campaign. We are investigating.

“I’m not sitting here trying to be a hero. I know I handled things wrong. At least I think I handled a few things wrong in the first interview.” she said in an interview.

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Associated Press writers Mary Claire Jaronic, Farnoush Amiri, and Jill Colvin contributed to this report.

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Follow AP’s coverage of the Capitol Riot at https://apnews.com/hub/capitol-siege.

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