This is truly bizarre for anyone who has been following the Jan. 6 hearings on Capitol Hill. The Committee was scheduled to take a hiatus and then reconvene on July 12.
But now we’re informed that “recently obtained evidence” needs to be heard in public testimony. This last-minute announcement has been a favorite public relations tactic of the committee and has garnered a lot of media interest and speculation — as it was meant to do.
So what is this “recently obtained evidence”? We don’t know, but it may come from a “surprise witness” — another ploy used by the committee to generate interest. The witness is expected to be Cassidy Hutchison, a former executive assistant to former chief of staff Mark Meadows.
Hutchison has been the source of some startling allegations.
- 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.
Hutchison doesn’t know what documents were being burned or whether they had anything to do with the matter before the committee. Members of Congress routinely shred or burn documents, so why this would be relevant to the committee is anyone’s guess.
And there were a lot of law enforcement agencies — FBI, ATF, Capitol Police, and Secret Service — who had heard of the potential for violence at Trump’s rally. Why this particular private meeting between a Secret Service agent and the chief of staff was in any way unusual isn’t important. Making it appear that Trump knew of the coming violence beforehand is.
- 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.
The committee may very well have new evidence of the fake electors scheme, in which case, someone may very well go to jail. The scheme was a criminal attempt to defraud the American people, and every lawyer who heard about it knew it. If there are any indictments, they will probably grow out of this fake electors scheme.
So why did Hutchison change her mind and decide to sing to the committee? And why is the committee rushing her out into public?
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.
We can expect a few more “surprise witnesses” as the Jan. 6 Committee is proving to be the most boring show on TV. As for this hearing to examine “new evidence,” we can be sure that the media will find something to present as a “bombshell revelation” in their desperate quest to make the hearings interesting and relevant.