New York Times correspondent and noted “Trump Whisperer” Maggie Haberman fielded texts from Trump associates fretting over surprise January 6 committee witness Cassidy Hutchinson‘s testimony, worried it could earn ex-President Donald Trump an incitement charge.
Hutchinson — a former top aide to Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows — was the nucleus of a hearing during which she delivered bombshell after bombshell about the actions of then-President Donald Trump and his inner circle before and during the attack on the Capitol.
And according to Haberman, Hutchinson’s testimony has Trumpworld worried. Even the most charitable assessment from a Trump insider was a fairly backhanded defense: “One Trump associate, speaking on condition of anonymity, downplayed the impact of Ms. Hutchinson’s testimony, acknowledging that it painted a picture of Mr. Trump as unhinged on Jan. 6 but saying that this should surprise no one at this point,” Haberman wrote in her deep, dishy dive into the Trumpworld reaction.
And in addition to those reactions that were expressed publicly, Haberman rounded up quotes and observations from allies, associates, and advisers who confided to her about the testimony — and its potential to land Trump in criminal court. A sampling:
– One trusted current adviser called the testimony “a killer.”
– Current and former aides to Mr. Trump sent one another messages as the hearing took place, describing a series of disclosures that they conceded were potentially quite damaging, mostly politically but also, potentially, legally.
– If Mr. Trump was indeed warned that people were armed and still encouraged them to walk to the Capitol, some advisers said privately, that could potentially bolster a charge against him related to incitement.
– (S)everal current and former Trump aides also expressed concern about the committee’s suggestion, at the tail end of the day’s hearing, that someone close to Mr. Trump has tried to tamper with or intimidate the committee’s witnesses by reminding them that Mr. Trump reads the panel’s transcripts. Such interference could be prosecuted criminally.
Even before Hutchinson’s testimony, Haberman reported that Trump’s recent behavior leads her to believe that Trump is worried about the various criminal probes that are underway. After Tuesday’s testimony, it appears many of his associates agree.
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