Tuesday’s hastily slapped-together hearing by the House Select Committee was billed as revealing shocking details of what Americans must “immediately” hear. The 25-year-old former White House aide was trotted out as the bombshell witness the country held its collective breath for.
How quickly the narrative unraveled.
Without verification or even the most elementary cross-examination, Cassidy Hutchinson, former assistant to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, leapt into the spotlight. The accusations, most of which were second-hand, were sweeping and immediately accepted.
This testimony, it must be remembered, was given to a committee hand-selected by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and purged of anyone who lacked a predetermined conclusion.
Former President Donald Trump had a “very strong, very angry response,” Hutchinson said. This is both confirmed and understandable as the commander-in-chief was being taken to the White House against his will. He uttered an expletive as he demanded to be driven to the Capitol.
But that’s where the real story takes a sharp left turn.
Hutchinson told the panel that she heard that Trump not only grabbed the steering wheel but lunged towards Secret Service agent Bobby Engel. That account is coming apart at the seams.
Through multiple sources it became quickly known that both Engel and the unnamed driver of the presidential SUV are ready to testify to the same committee. And their testimony is that Trump did not lunge at the steering wheel.
Incredibly, the Secret Service now says the Committee never reached out to confirm the validity of her accusations.
Peter Alexander of NBC News, who will never be called conservative, broke the story that Engel, the lead agent, and the driver will directly counter Hutchinson’s sworn testimony. ABC News confirmed their response to her accusations that the president became unhinged and violent.
Accusations which, again, are second-hand knowledge treated by the Committee like they came from the burning bush.
Further, Hutchinson testified she penned the hand-written note with a potential statement by Trump in the midst of the Capitol chaos. This is directly disputed by former Trump White House lawyer, Eric Herschmann.
The attorney said through a spokesperson that he and not Hutchinson wrote the note. The note which was held up before the committee by Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) as damning evidence.
Incredibly, a Committee spokesperson downplayed what they called “differing recollections” of who actually wrote the note. Nevermind that. Instead, what is “ultimately important,” according to the spokesperson, is the meaning of the note.
In other words, potentially lying to the committee under oath is suddenly unimportant? Something that a handwriting expert could easily verify is now unimportant?
There are powerful reasons that, when evidence is presented, cross-examination and opposing testimony are a must. This is a minimum standard for any credible hearing, testimony, committee, courtroom, etc. Apparently this bare minimum standard does not apply to the Committee.
Only the result matters.