June 28, 2022
The revelation at a House Jan. 6 hearing could be fodder for cases arguing that Trump knew violence was likely when he sent backers to the Capitol.
A White House aide’s bombshell testimony on Tuesday about then-President Donald Trump’s actions and statements on Jan. 6, 2021, could give a major boost to a series of civil lawsuits against Trump over his liability for the violence that broke out that day.
Trump faces at least six civil suits over Jan. 6 that could gain traction from testimony by the aide, Cassidy Hutchinson, that Trump was told many of his supporters had weapons and that he urged they be allowed through metal detectors anyway.
Hutchinson told the House Jan. 6 select committee that prior to his speech at the Ellipse that day, Trump was mad that the area closest to the stage wasn’t full. Aides told him that was because some of his supporters were choosing not to proceed through Secret Service-staffed magnetometers because they didn’t want to have to give up weapons they had.
“Take the f-ing mags away,” Trump reportedly said. “They’re not here to hurt me.”
A lawyer pressing a suit against Trump and others on behalf of 10 Democratic House members, Joseph Sellers, said the testimony could bolster their case because it supports the idea that Trump was aware violence was likely when he urged his backers to march to the Capitol.
“The testimony that came today I think was very powerful confirmation that Trump knew and expected the crowd that was assembled was going to engage in violent action directed at the Capitol with the intention of interfering with the ability to ratify the results of the election,” Sellers said in an interview.
The new information also seems to dovetail with U.S. District Court Judge Amit Mehta’s explanation of why he was turning down Trump’s bid to dismiss three of the suits. Mehta said it was plausible Trump countenanced the violence on Jan. 6 through a combination of his public exhortation to the crowd to march to the Capitol and his later resistance to issuing a statement calling on his supporters to retreat.
Sellers said the reported exchanges with Trump about weapons in the crowd were “highly relevant” to the civil suits and reinforced other indications that Trump was intent on using violence and threats to intimidate members of Congress.
“This evidence goes a good deal towards confirming that that was the purpose of Trump’s actions,” Sellers added.
See “Aide’s Testimony That Trump Was Told of Weapons Could Boost Civil Suits,” Politico to read the complete story.