Former White House staffer says Trump knew Jan 6 attendees had guns: ‘They’re not here to hurt me’

(The Hill) — Former White House staffer Cassidy Hutchinson testified on Tuesday that former President Trump and his former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows were both told that attendees at a Jan. 6, 2021 rally had guns and that Trump was frustrated that those were sent away with weapons.

Hutchinson, a former top Meadows aide, told the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riots that Trump was “furious” that the Ellipse at the White House was not full with capacity for a meeting the morning of the certification. of the Electoral College.

“I was near a conversation where I heard the president say something along the lines of, ‘I don’t care if they have guns. They are not here to hurt me. Take the f-ing mags away,” Hutchinson testified.

Hutchinson was referring to the magnetometers the Secret Service used to scan for weapons.

Her statement about Trump’s frustration and calls to ignore the Secret Service was prefaced with testimony that former Deputy Chief of Staff Tony Ornato informed both Meadows and Trump that some of those in attendance at the Jan. 6 meeting had weapons on them.

Hutchinson said Meadows did not look up from his phone when he was briefed about the security situation at the rally.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) also introduced audio from law enforcement radio broadcasts ahead of the Jan. 6 rally at the Ellipse. Officers can be heard passing reports of attendees carrying AR-15 rifles and Glock pistols. The commission learned that some attendees had seized brass knuckles, knives, tasers and other weapons after going through the magnetometers.

“President Trump was aware that a number of individuals in the crowd had guns and were wearing body armor. And this is what President Trump instructed the crowd to do,” Cheney said, introducing a clip of Trump telling the crowd on Jan. 6, “We’re going to walk to the Capitol.”