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Trump was told protesters had weapons on January 6, former aide says

Violent protesters, loyal to President Donald Trump, stormed the Capitol in Washington DC in January in an attempt to overturn America's presidential election and keep Joe Biden from replacing Trump in the White House. Picture by AP Photo/John Minchillo
Mary Clare Jalonick, Associated Press

A key aide in Donald Trump’s White House has told the House committee investigating the January 6 riots the former president was informed people rallying on the mall that morning had weapons but he told officials to “let my people in” and march to the US Capitol.

Cassidy Hutchinson quoted Mr Trump as directing his staff, in profane terms, to take away the magnetometers that he thought would slow down supporters who had gathered in Washington.

In videotaped testimony played before the committee, she recalled the former president saying words to the effect of: “I don’t f****** care that they have weapons.”

“They’re not here to hurt me. Take the f****** ‘mags’ away. Let my people in. They can march to the Capitol from here,” Ms Hutchinson testified.

Ms Hutchison, a top aide to Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows, said that she was “scared, and nervous for what could happen” ahead of the riot after conversations with Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, Mr Meadows and others.

Mr Meadows told Ms Hutchinson that “things might get real real bad,” she said.

Mr Giuliani told her it was going to be “a great day” and “we’re going to the Capitol.”

She described Mr Meadows as unconcerned as security officials told him that people at Mr Trump’s rally had weapons – including people wearing armour and carrying automatic weapons.

Ms Hutchinson told the panel that she was apprehensive ahead of time because she had heard plans for a rally and possible movements to the Capitol, where hundreds of Mr Trump’s supporters later violently pushed past police and broke through windows and doors, interrupting the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory.

“I had a deeper concern for what was happening with the planning aspects of it,” Ms Hutchinson told the panel.

Mr Trump demanded to accompany them, she said later, and at one point he aggressively grabbed the steering wheel in the presidential limousine after he was told by security officials that it was not safe.

Ms Hutchinson she was not sure what he would have done at the Capitol as a violent mob of his supporters was breaking in. There were conversations about him “going into the House chamber at one point”, she added.

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