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Exclusive: In Private, Cassidy Hutchinson Joked About Riot, Called J6 Committee ‘Phony,’ Praised Trump Before Changing Story
By Mollie Hemingway and Tristan Justice
Hutchinson commiserated with other targets of the probe about how little information she had about any wrongdoing on Jan. 6.
Nearly 18 months of private chats between friends from the Trump White House show that Jan. 6 Committee star witness Cassidy Hutchinson dramatically changed her story about what she knew and how she felt about what she witnessed as a White House staffer.
When Hutchinson testified in Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s Soviet-style show trial last month, the former White House aide to Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said she “still struggle[s] to work through the emotions” of Jan. 6.
“As an American, I was disgusted. It was unpatriotic,” Hutchinson said. “We were watching the Capitol building get defaced over a lie, and it was something that was really hard in that moment to digest.”
In her two hours of testimony, Hutchinson made a series of blockbuster claims incriminating former President Donald Trump, her White House colleagues, and even her direct superiors over their conduct as security at the U.S. Capitol was compromised by a horde of demonstrators. Relying on third-party conversations, Hutchinson claimed the president tried to violently hijack the presidential limousine to drive himself down to the rioters on Jan. 6. The claim was denounced as fabricated hours later. She said the president was aware that White House protesters were well-equipped with deadly weapons and still invited them onto government grounds anyway dismissing security concerns, never mind the fact that only a few face charges. And she said former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone personally warned her not to allow Trump to go to the Capitol or “We’re going to get charged with every crime imaginable.” Never mind Cipollone was not at the White House when Hutchinson claimed, according to multiple witnesses. Former White House lawyer Eric Herschmann also disputed another claim by Hutchinson, saying he wrote a note she took credit for.
Left-wing media outlets were quick to brand the 25-year-old aide as the show-stopping witness whose testimony was on par with the most devastating revelations from Watergate. The Boston Globe said that while some call her “the new John Dean” — the Watergate witness whose testimony harmed Richard Nixon — she was actually “more impressive.” CNN said Hutchinson’s revelations were “worse.” NPR called them “explosive.” The Bulwark called her a “heroine.” The Washington Post declared her commentary “damning” and even illustrated her appearance in an online graphic novel. The New York Times published an op-ed headlined, “Cassidy Hutchinson Changes Everything.”
Yet in a series of private communications from December 2020 through May 2021, shared exclusively with The Federalist, Hutchinson commiserated with other targets of the probe about how little information she had about any wrongdoing that day, and lamented how corrupt the politicized committee was. Far from being upset with Trump, Hutchinson repeatedly spoke in favor of him and his presidency.
“I would rather shoot myself dead into the Potomac than see marine one flying around this city without 45 again,” Hutchinson wrote in one message nearly three months after the Capitol riot.
In November 2021, Hutchinson was among the first former White House staffers to be subpoenaed by the Select Committee. In the weeks and months following, Hutchinson continued to disparage the politicized committee in private, and repeatedly joked about the same riot she now says leaves her with emotional scars today. Six days after she was issued a subpoena, Hutchinson called the Jan. 6 panel a “phony committee.” Around the same time, she told a former colleague her testimony would have nothing to offer.
“Other than a handful of irrelevant texts, I have literally no documents or anything they’re asking about,” one ex-White House staffer texted her.
“Same,” she wrote back.
Of being subpoenaed in November, Hutchinson wrote, “we were [f—–] by Bennie Thompson,” the titular chair of the committee. She joked that he would be sending her to jail, and hoped that another friend would come visit her. In a text published by the Daily Caller earlier this month, Hutchinson called the panel’s probe “bs.”
In a group chat, a friend shared a tweet from another former White House colleague.
Hutchinson praised the tweet, adding, “When we win again, we’re making her comms director Or press sec.” Back in December 2020, Hutchinson had been happy to use the phrase “STOP THE STEAL” to describe efforts to contest the 2020 election. A Jan. 5, 2021, tweet notes that she stopped by the Capitol, where Trump supporters had gathered. “Gotta see our PEOPLE,” she wrote. In dramatic contrast to her new claims of being “disgusted” with the Jan. 6 riot, in November 2021, she joked about trying to invade a friend’s apartment in a building called Park Chelsea. “Let’s have an insurrection at parc Chelsea,” she wrote. “How about … jan 6, 2023?”
By March, she was joking about placing a prominent image of Trump addressing his supporters from the White House Ellipse on Jan. 6 in the background of her Zoom-recorded deposition with the Select Committee. She also joked she might use an image from an infamous scene in the Oval Office where Vice President Mike Pence awkwardly sat between Nancy Pelosi and President Trump.
“I’m gonna position myself so I’m sitting in mike’s chair,” she joked.
In May, Hutchinson outlined a conversation she had with a stranger in D.C.
“A real conversation that just took place,” she began:
Person on sidewalk: your sweatshirt says 45.
Person: like, Trump?
Me: I’m an insurrectionist.
And then I put my headphones in. The end.
Before Their Public Embrace, A Different View Of Liz Cheney
Hutchinson also aimed fire at Committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney, the Wyoming Republican so consumed by her opposition to Trump and his voters that polls show she is about to lose her re-election bid. The two women publicly embraced in the committee room immediately after Hutchinson’s testimony, an unusual interaction for congressional proceedings purporting to be legitimate. In a gauzy puff piece for The New York Times, the two were described as forming an “unlikely bond.” It was particularly unlikely given what Hutchinson was saying about Cheney until recently.
In September, Hutchinson disparaged Cheney and Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger, the two Republicans hand-picked to serve on the committee by Pelosi, as a “crop of losers.” Discussing how other anti-Trump extremists had declined to run for re-election rather than face certain defeat at the hands of Republican voters, Hutchinson said she didn’t think Kinzinger or Cheney would take that approach because, “Their egos are too [f——] big.” She mocked their self-conception as “The REPUBLICAN MARTYRS.”
“I think Liz being the ‘future of the GOP’ is a massive stretch,” Hutchinson wrote in one string of messages just two months before her appearance. “I think she does have the power to cement the anti-Trump, RINO movement and really capitalize off it on a national scale. She’ll never ever turn the tides in her favor. Ever.”
“Even if Trump were to fall off the face of the Earth, her neocon policies are not where the base’s ideological politics currently are nor will head,” she wrote. Still, she conceded that Cheney’s hatred of Trump had tremendous sway thanks to corporate media’s amplification and assistance. “But I do think this maneuver is by consequence ‘future-shifting’ for the GOP in that she does have the power of the media, the determination and the cut-throat mentality to capitalize off this.”
Less than one year later, Hutchinson was embracing Cheney, radically changing her story to match what Cheney and the corporate media desired.
Hutchinson’s earlier comments were made while she was represented by Trump-allied lawyers and talking with friends about Trump’s second term. But she suddenly changed her legal representation weeks before she testified publicly. Former Rep. Barbara Comstock, who, like Cheney, is a NeverTrumper from Northern Virginia, offered a way to help pay Hutchinson’s legal bills. But a well-positioned lawyer offered to represent her pro bono. The change in attorneys coincided with a complete turnabout in her story, and a dramatically different posture toward Cheney.
Alyssa Farah, the former Trump staffer who has been named The View co-host because of her willingness to denounce conservatives and renounce the policy positions she once claimed to hold, publicly said she was responsible for convincing Hutchinson to work with Cheney. “That’s how this shocking testimony came about,” she said.
Before Attacking Mark Meadows, Capitalizing On His Connections
As former employees of Meadows, the group chat that Hutchinson was a part of frequently discussed him. In June 2021, CNN activist Jeremy Herb said that he’d asked the former White House chief of staff if it was appropriate for him to be emailing acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen regarding the election. Hutchinson and a friend mocked the idea that this was such a problem.
“Also however did Rosen survive the unbearable pressure campaign of … a few FWD emails saying ‘can you look at this,’” a friend wrote. “Lol dude I thought the same thing,” Hutchinson responded.
“I remember thinking in that moment, Mark needs to snap out of this, and I don’t know how to snap him out of this, but he needs to care,” Hutchinson claimed to think when she testified. She said he didn’t act on concerns about the Capitol attack.
Yet in March 2021, she was wondering if she should talk to him about using his connections to help her gain access to the Capitol Hill Club.
“At some point we should talk to mark about being tacked onto his CHC membership. I don’t know how it all works exactly, but I remember chris Cox did it for the Ola guys without a membership and they cut him a check each month for the guest fee (I think it was $150?) and whatever their tabs came out to (it’s charged to an account and paid in lump sum the 15th of each month),” she wrote.
From Not Caring What CNN Thinks, To Media Darling
The same media that would later celebrate Hutchinson had also drawn her ire in private before she testified on national television. A May 9, 2022, Newsweek article, “Jan 6. Committee using young Trump staffers to its ‘advantage’,” led one friend to complain to Hutchinson that the J6 Committee was “literally admitting that they’re abusing the lives of young staff for political gain.”
Hutchinson wrote that a series of tweets adding commentary to a piece from
Politico’s Kyle Cheney had her “red hot mad.”
“Time and again, the Jan. 6 select committee has broken through stonewalls erected by Donald Trump’s closest allies by turning to their junior aide and deputies,” Kyle wrote. “Nowhere is this clearer than in the case of Meadows aide Cassidy Hutchinson … The cooperation from aides like Hutchinson has given the select committee confidence they’ll be able to tell the full story of Trump’s attempt to subvert the election — even without help from Meadows, Bannon, Eastman and Clark.”
“I wanted to be like … the members LITERALLY told you they’re taking advantage of us … So shut the [f—] up and stop tweeting about me … leave me alone … there is no story here,” Hutchinson wrote in a series of messages.
When another friend joked that Cheney was portraying her as John Dean, she replied, “It’s honestly nauseating.”
Hutchinson claimed CNN’s Jim Acosta contacted her and said to her, “Thank you for your bravery and courage. We and the American people look forward to learning more from your testimony.” Hutchinson said she had “about twenty snarky responses typed to respond back but just let it go … Like stop WARPING everything you [f——] [j—–] … and also I couldn’t give less of a [f—] what cnn thinks of me. Truly.”
Within weeks, Hutchinson would be basking in the glow of effusive praise from Acosta and other partisans at CNN, many of whom described her as more important than CNN contributor John Dean.
Hutchinson did not respond to this story by press time.
Mollie Hemingway is a senior editor at The Federalist. Tristan Justice is the western correspondent for The Federalist.