(The Hill) – Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday dismissed the testimony from a former top aide to his chief of staff, saying he “hardly” knows who she is.
Trump weighed in on Truth Social, his fledgling social media network, in the middle of testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson, who served in Trump’s Office of Legislative Affairs and later as a top aide to former chief of staff Mark Meadows, to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot.
“I hardly know who this person, Cassidy Hutchinson, is, other than I heard very negative things about her (a total phony and ‘leaker’), and when she requested to go with certain others of the team to Florida after my having served a full term in office, I personally turned her request down,” Trump posted.
“Why did she want to go with us if she felt we were so terrible? I understand that she was very upset and angry that I didn’t want her to go, or be a member of the team. She is bad news!” Trump added.
Trump routinely claims not to be familiar with individuals who are critical of him, particularly when they were part of his administration. He deployed a similar tactic during his impeachment proceedings.
Hutchinson delivered damning testimony on Tuesday, describing how she heard a conversation in which Trump said Secret Service should take away metal detectors and let all his supporters in for the rally on Jan. 6, 2021, at the White House Ellipse, even though some of them were carrying weapons.
She also described a conversation with the former deputy White House chief of staff on Jan. 6 who told her Trump was so irate when told he could not go to the Capitol that day that he lunged at the steering wheel of his vehicle and at the Secret Service agent in charge that day.
Two former White House aides indicated they believed Hutchinson’s testimony.
“Anyone downplaying Cassidy Hutchinson’s role or her access in the West Wing either doesn’t understand how the Trump WH worked or is attempting to discredit her because they’re scared of how damning this testimony is,” former deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews tweeted.
“My guess is that before this is over, we will be hearing testimony from Ornato, Engle, and Meadows,” former Trump chief of staff Mick Mulvaney tweeted. “This is explosive stuff. If Cassidy is making this up, they will need to say that. If she isn’t they will have to corroborate. I know her. I don’t think she is lying.”
Hutchinson told the committee she spent a lot of time on Capitol Hill as part of her White House job and spoke regularly with members of Congress and senior members of the Trump administration. She said she was in contact with Meadows “pretty much throughout every day.”
Trump has weighed in on each of the recent Jan. 6 committee hearings, consistently complaining that he has not been allowed to present his side of events and reiterating claims of election fraud in the 2020 election that have been debunked by former members of his administration repeatedly during testimony.