Ahead of the prime-time Jan. 6 committee hearings, Norm Eisen, one of the lawyers for the House Democrats in Trump’s first impeachment trial, told the Washington Post that Cassidy Hutchinson “might turn out to be the next John Dean.”
It was an apt, if wishful, reference to Watergate: As the first to directly connect Nixon to the scandal, Dean gave explosive testimony at the hearings in 1973. Reporting has already revealed that Hutchinson, who is in her 20s—and who, according to the Post, is expected to testify live—could have some of the most damning testimony we’ve seen yet.
So who is this star witness?
Hutchinson worked as an executive assistant for Mark Meadows, Trump’s chief of staff. Since Trump left office, she is “no longer a figure in Trump’s orbit or Republican politics,” according to the Post. But according to her LinkedIn profile, she was hired to the White House’s Office of Legislative Affairs in March 2019 and later promoted.
She attended Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia, from 2015 to 2018 and interned at the Trump White House in the summer of 2018. Before that, she interned for Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Steve Scalise. According to an article in her alma mater’s student newspaper, Hutchinson was a first-generation college student. “I have set a personal goal to pursue a path of civic significance,” she told the paper.
Ahead of the televised Jan 6. committee hearings, investigators spent a total of more than 20 hours in deposition with Hutchinson, according to the Post, which reported that Hutchinson has “provided extensive information about Meadows’s activities in trying to overturn the election.”
This could prove crucial for a future prosecution of Trump, particularly as Meadows has refused to cooperate with the committee. (The congressional committee is not a prosecuting body; if the committee has evidence that Trump committed a crime, it’s up to the DOJ to actually prosecute.)
Hutchinson, as someone who spoke often with Meadows and kept detailed schedules of activity in the White House, seems to have been witness to quite a lot of what was happening behind the scenes on Jan. 6, 2021. She reportedly told the panel that she saw Meadows incinerating documents after he met with Rep. Scott Perry after the 2020 election.
In testimony that the House committee released in April, Hutchinson named Perry and Reps. Jim Jordan, Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Lauren Boebert as the members of Congress “who were raising the idea of the vice president doing anything other than just counting electoral votes on January the 6th.” She testified that Perry had vocally supported the idea of urging Trump’s supporters on a march toward the Capitol.
She also testified about a strategy meeting ahead of the election certification in which the Republicans discussed delaying the joint session of Congress or otherwise blocking the counting of electoral votes. That meeting, she said, had Jordan and Greene in attendance, as well as at least nine other Republican lawmakers. “They felt that he had the authority to—pardon me if my phrasing isn’t correct on this, but—send votes back to the states or the electors back to the states,” she testified.
She also told the committee in that testimony that Meadows had been warned before the insurrection about the “potential for violence.” A senior Secret Service official told Meadows about intel reports of potential violence. “And Mr. Meadows said: All right. Let’s talk about it,” she said. She said she was “not sure” what Meadows had done with the information or if they were seen as “genuine concerns.”
Finally, Hutchinson was also a secondhand witness to a more shocking story about the president.
On May 25, Politico reported that the Jan. 6 select committee heard testimony indicating that Meadows heard Trump say something supportive about those who were chanting “hang Mike Pence” during the riot. A witness told the committee that Meadows had been in the dining room off the Oval Office when Trump made the comment and that he told people nearby “that Trump had signaled a positive view of the prospect of hanging the vice president,” according to Politico. The New York Times reported that Hutchinson was in Meadows’ office when he complained about the comments and confirmed the account for the committee.