This week, Rudy Giuliani frantically pushed back on claims he was interested in a pardon from then-President Trump as Donald’s time in office drew to a close. The claim emerged in testimony the committee heard Tuesday from former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, who worked with Mark Meadows.
“Once again the January 6 Committee of “Russian Collusion” Liars suborned perjury from Cassidy Hutchinson. I specifically told President Trump I did not want or need a pardon. I,also,have witnesses to corroborate that she and the Committee are perpetrating yet another lie,” Giuliani claimed on Twitter Tuesday. The next day, he added: “The January 6 Witch Hunt Cabal has now exceeded even its prior fraudulent. The last witness was a reckless liar. Contrary to her false testimony she was never present when I asked for a pardon. Actually, I told the President I did not want or need one.”
Asked by vice chair Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) whether Giuliani suggested he was “interested in receiving a presidential pardon related to January 6,” Hutchinson replied in the affirmative. It’s also come out that then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and half a dozen Republican members of Congress apparently also sought pardons from Trump in the time after the last election, although none of them had been charged with anything related to the election or attempts to overturn its outcome — so they were clearly harboring feelings of potential culpability.
Hutchinson indicated it had been a topic of discussion in at least some rhetorical corners of the White House in the lead-up to January 6 that criminal charges could emerge. She told the House riot panel Tuesday that then-White House counsel Pat Cipollone told her regarding the possibility of Trump going to the Capitol on January 6 that “we need to make sure that this doesn’t happen… We have serious legal concerns if we go up to the Capitol that day.” Hutchinson also indicated that on January 6 itself, before she left the White House for the rally where Trump spoke that day, Cipollone raised fears of getting charged with “every crime imaginable” if Trump later went to the Capitol. Hutchinson cited “obstructing justice” and “defrauding the electoral count” as among potential charges she’d spoken of with Cipollone. Quotes from other people that Hutchinson shared should no doubt be largely understood as paraphrases.
Trump, it seems, desperately wanted to get to the Capitol on January 6 of last year. It’s unclear what Trump would have done there. Asked about whether anyone said what Trump wanted to do at the Capitol, Hutchinson said in earlier testimony played on Tuesday: “No, not that I can specifically remember… I don’t know which conversations were elevated to the president. I don’t know what he personally wanted to do when he went up to the Capitol that day. I know that there were discussions about him having another speech outside of the Capitol before going in. I know that there was a conversation about him going into the House chamber at one point.” Trump could now be guilty of federal criminal offenses for actions he took amid his frenzied push to get Biden’s election win blocked.