Was Hutchinson's Jan. 6 Testimony Damning, or Deserving of Skepticism?

Headline Roundup June 29th, 2022

Former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified Tuesday before the House's Jan. 6 committee about former President Donald Trump's actions during the Capitol riot. Is her account believable, or worthy of scrutiny?

Among other accounts about Trump's allegedly erratic behavior leading up to and during the riot, Hutchinson said he lunged at a Secret Service agent and tried to grab the steering wheel of the presidential limo when told he couldn't go to the Capitol. Her account was based on details from Trump staffer Tony Ornato, who she said heard about it from Robert Engel, head of Trump's Secret Service detail. Multiple reports suggest that both men are willing to testify that Trump never lunged for the steering wheel. Other reports suggest that the Engel's closed-door testimony before the committee earlier this month corroborates parts of Hutchinson's account.

Voices across the spectrum — from Vox (Left bias) to National Review (Right bias) said the testimony was a damning case against Trump. The Washington Examiner's (Lean Right bias) editorial board wrote that "Trump is unfit to be anywhere near power ever again." The New York Times's (Lean Left bias) Frank Bruni wrote that there "may be no better distillation of Donald Trump’s narcissism" than Hutchinson's account.

Other right-rated sources focused on Engel's willingness to testify and less on Hutchinson's testimony, which they often framed as having holes. Few left- and center-rated sources covered the conflicting accounts, and most instead highlighted the potential negative consequences for Trump.

From the Left
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ANALYSIS

To date, the January 6 committee has provided a clinical, step by step breakdown of who knew what when in the days leading up to the insurrection at the US Capitol.

The committee's hearing on Tuesday was something quite different -- as Cassidy Hutchinson, a former top aide to Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, provided stirring and intimate details of what happened that day and, specifically, how Donald Trump acted.

It was, in a word, ugly.

Three moments stand out:

1) Hutchinson said she was told that when Trump...

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From the Center
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ANALYSIS

Tuesday's testimony by Cassidy Hutchinson, a former White House aide, before the House's January 6 committee offered insights into Donald Trump's movements and conversations before and on the day of the Capitol riot, as well as startling allegations against the former president and his allies.

Later that day, Trump dismissed many of Hutchinson's accusations on his social media site, Truth Social, describing her as a "total phony" and downplaying her role in his administration. Secret Service agents and a former Trump White House lawyer have also reportedly disputed specific parts of her testimony....

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From the Right
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ANALYSIS

The U.S. Secret Service reportedly plans to publicly denounce allegations from former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson. She testified Tuesday that former President Donald Trump lunged for the steering wheel in order to get to the Capitol to march with protesters Jan. 6.

Hutchinson testified Tuesday that she spoke with the deputy chief of staff for operations, Tony Ornato, in a meeting that U.S. Secret Service special agent Robert Engel was present for. She said Ornato told her Trump became “irate” when he was told he could not go to the Capitol...

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