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Mark Meadows’ top aide will testify TODAY in surprise January 6 hearing over ‘safety concerns’

The top aide to Donald Trump‘s former chief of staff Mark Meadows is testifying before the January 6 select committee Tuesday afternoon. 

Cassidy Hutchinson will headline the panel’s surprise hearing, which was put on the books Monday after they unearthed new evidence and due to concerns for her safety.  

Hutchinson had constant access to Meadows, former President Donald Trump and others in the White House inner circle before, during and after the January 6 Capitol attack. She also served as a main point of contact for many members of Congress when they needed to reach the White House.

The witness told the nine-member panel that Trump suggested to Meadows that he approved of his supporters chanting ‘hang Mike Pence‘ as they stormed the Capitol, according to CNN.

Her testimony also revealed to investigators that Trump complained that his vice president was taken to safety during the breach.

Punchbowl News reported that Hutchinson’s testimony is important for what the panel is planning to present in its July hearings. There is also ‘sincere concern’ regarding Hutchinson’s personal safety and security due to what she has revealed to the committee, sources told the outlet.

These factors have contributed to the panel feeling it was important to schedule an extra hearing on Tuesday rather than wait until the House returns from its recess next month. 

Chairman Bennie Thompson previously said the final hearing of the month would be on June 23, and that there would be no more hearings until July. 

Cassidy Hutchinson, the former top aide to Donald Trump’s ex-Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, will testify live before the January 6 select committee in a last-minute hearing scheduled for Tuesday afternoon

Senate Sergeant at Arms Michael Stenger suddenly dies just one day before surprise January 6 hearing

The man in charge of protecting the Senate during the Capitol riot died Monday – just a day before the Committee investigating the attack is set to reveal new evidence in a surprise session.

Michael Stenger, 71, was the Sergeant at Arms of the Senate on the day of the deadly attack. 

He resigned amid criticism he had failed to react effectively to the building being overrun. 

His sudden death on Monday came the same day an unexpected additional hearing of the committee investigating the riot was announced.

Michael Stenger, 71, who was Sergeant at Arms of the Senate during the Capitol riot, died on Monday

Michael Stenger, 71, who was Sergeant at Arms of the Senate during the Capitol riot, died on Monday

Stenger previously served in the United States Marine Corps, and spent 35 years in the Secret Service.

He was the chief law enforcement officer and head of protocol for the chamber since April 2018. 

In February 2021, Stenger told the Senate Homeland Security Committee that the role of ‘professional agitators’ needed to be investigated.

He said: ‘There is an opportunity to learn lessons from the events of January 6. Investigations should be considered as to funding and travel of what appears to be professional agitators.’

Stenger was born in New Jersey. At the time of his death, he lived in Falls Church, Virginia, with his wife Janet. The pair are believed to have two adult children.

Stenger rose to be a captain in the Marines, before joining the Secret Service. He worked on protective details before taking leadership roles. 

In 2011, he first took a job at the Senate, serving as Assistant Sergeant at Arms for protective services and continuity. In 2014, when Drew Willison, a longtime aide to former Democratic leader Harry Reid, became Sergeant at Arms, he made Stenger his deputy.

Stenger also served as deputy to Frank Larkin, who served as Sergeant at Arms from 2015-18.

When Larkin stepped down, Mitch McConnell appointed Stenger to succeed him.

Some video clips of Hutchinson’s deposition have already been played at the previous five public hearings, including a segment where she named some of the House Republican lawmakers who wanted pardons from Trump following the riot last year.

She has testified before the panel four times already – the latest being within the last 10 days.

Despite Hutchinson’s cooperation, her boss has refused to testify before the panel. While the House voted to recommend contempt charges against Meadows, the Justice Department did not pursue a criminal indictment against him.

Meadows turned over thousands of text messages from lawmakers, White House staffers and other key players to the select committee last year before suddenly deciding he would no longer play ball with the panel.

Multiple sources told Punchbowl News that the impromptu hearing featuring Hutchinson comes after she hired a new lawyer earlier this month and became more cooperative with the investigation.

Stefan Passantino, Hutchinson’s former attorney, was the ethics lawyer for Trump’s White House, while her new lawyer, Jody Hunt, was chief of staff to former Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Hutchinson was in contact with Georgia officials about efforts to overturn the election in the Peach State.

She also testified that she saw Meadows burning papers in his office after meeting with Pennsylvania GOP Representative Scott Petty before January 6, 2021. Perry was one of the lawmakers pushing to get Jeffrey Clark into the acting Attorney General spot to bolster Trump’s election fraud claims.

The January 6 committee announced Monday that it will hold a surprise hearing Tuesday at 1:00 p.m. to present ‘recently obtained evidence,’ despite the House being out of session until mid-July.

The last-minute announcement came roughly 24 hours before the hearing is scheduled to commence.

Unlike previous announcements, the panel did not identify who it would be hearing from but confirmed it would ‘receive witness testimony.’

In its last hearing on Thursday, the committee outlined how Donald Trump attempted to pressure the Justice Department to pursue his baseless election fraud theories. Former Trump DOJ officials testified about an explosive stand-off between the ex-president and ‘hundreds’ of administration officials who were ready to resign if 2020 election denier Jeffrey Clark was appointed Attorney General.

Ex-White House aides also accused certain Republican lawmakers of seeking a pardon from the former president, which committee members have insisted is a sign of culpability in Trump’s scheme.

But Thompson told reporters the day before that the panel’s remaining planned hearings would be put off until after the House of Representatives returns from recess, which would be the week of July 11.

Those two were originally scheduled for this week.

‘We’ve taken in some additional information that’s going to require additional work,’ the Mississippi Democrat said.

‘So rather than present hearings that have not been the quality of the hearings in the past, we made a decision to just move into sometime in July.’

Hutchinson already told the nine-member panel that Trump suggested to Meadows that he approved of his supporters chanting 'hang Mike Pence' as they stormed the Capitol

Hutchinson already told the nine-member panel that Trump suggested to Meadows that he approved of his supporters chanting ‘hang Mike Pence’ as they stormed the Capitol

Hutchinson has spoken to the panel four times already – and her testimony has been played at their public and televised hearings. There is 'sincere concern' regarding Hutchinson's personal safety due to what she has revealed, which led the panel to schedule an extra hearing on Tuesday rather than wait until the House returns from its recess next month

Hutchinson has spoken to the panel four times already – and her testimony has been played at their public and televised hearings. There is ‘sincere concern’ regarding Hutchinson’s personal safety due to what she has revealed, which led the panel to schedule an extra hearing on Tuesday rather than wait until the House returns from its recess next month

 

One of the things driving the delay was a trove of new footage from British documentary filmmaker Alex Holder, who began filming the Trump White House in September 2020 for a three-part series and has sit-down interviews with the former president himself as well as his family members and former Vice President Mike Pence.

Holder testified behind closed doors on Thursday after the committee subpoenaed his material, which reportedly includes three interviews with Trump – two of them taking place after the January 6 attack.

Throughout its hearings the committee has attempted to frame the riot as Trump and his allies’ ‘last stand’ in a wider plot to steal the last presidential election.

The former president, lawmakers say, pushed claims he knew were false and pressured other government officials to do so.

It’s presented through a mix of videotaped and in-person testimony, primarily from Republican officials and Trump aides, that the then-commander-in-chief was told time and again by members of his own orbit that there was no widespread fraud.

The committee was originally scheduled to have two more hearings this week but they were delayed until July

The committee was originally scheduled to have two more hearings this week but they were delayed until July

A new poll released on Sunday suggests the gravity of the committee’s allegations are sinking in with the American public – even if they are not following the hearings as closely as lawmakers might like.

After watching the hearings, 46 percent of American voters who responded to the CBS News survey believe the committee should refer Trump for criminal charges.

Thirty-one percent believe the committee should advise against it and less than a quarter – 23 percent – said the panel should not make any recommendation at all.

Fifty percent of respondents to the poll, taken between June 22 and 24, said he tried to ‘stay in office through illegal means.’

But when it comes to watching the proceedings, less than one-fifth of voters said they were paying significant attention. 

Just 18 percent of Americans said they were spending ‘a lot’ of time watching the hearings. 

A 30-percent plurality said they were paying ‘some’ attention to them, and 53 percent of respondents admitted to paying ‘not much’ attention or ‘none at all.’

Chairman Bennie Thompson told reporters on Wednesday last week that the panel has 'taken in some additional information that’s going to require additional work'

Chairman Bennie Thompson told reporters on Wednesday last week that the panel has ‘taken in some additional information that’s going to require additional work’

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