Damning testimony about Trump's damnable lies
The truths Cassidy Hutchinson told this week are a judgment on everyone who has gone along with the lies of Donald Trump.
History will record that it was a 25-year-old-woman, Cassidy Hutchinson, who stood up to tell the truth about what Donald Trump did – and did not do – in the White House on January 6th, 2021.
Women as witnesses have been powerful and transformative in world history. Christians should remember that in a patriarchal culture in which women were rarely listened to, it was the women at the tomb who first saw and believed in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, while the men stayed in hiding. Some things seem to never change.
As the top aide to Trump’s Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, Hutchinson was at the center of West Wing conversations, just steps away from the Oval Office. Her stunning testimony this week before the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the US Capitol was taken directly from the rooms where Trump’s high crimes and low ethics were discussed. White House officials respected and trusted Hutchinson. But they made a fundamental mistake: they underestimated her, not worrying about what she saw and heard – perhaps because, after all, she was just a young woman.
The underestimation of Cassidy Hutchinson may lead to the downfall of powerful men, including the former President.
Despite her youth, Hutchinson seemed to be the one “adult in the room” at the White House. Most of the men in Trump’s White House had no guts, no integrity, and no souls. They chose to cover up Trump’s vile lies and behavior, lacking the courage to confront a President who was acting less like the Commander-in-Chief than a crime boss.
Many have called Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony to the January 6 committee this week "stunning,” which it was. Others have called it "damning," which it was as well, in a deeper way than is usually understood.
When Jesus said that only the truth will set us free, he was teaching us that the lack of truth will lead to captivity. The lies that the President's men accepted have left the nation captive to falsehood, and those falsehoods have led to violence. The White House men acted as if to say, “the truth be damned,” and for that they will themselves be damned – not just by the fact checkers of the Washington Post, but in the eyes of God.
Which brings us to the Christians who promote the lies of Donald Trump. Their lies too, are and will be damned in the eyes of God. This is not about legitimate political differences between Christians, which are healthy. This is about lies told from the pulpit about fraudulent elections, fear mongering that denies racial history and justice, and willful ignorance about the clear efficacy of vaccines. All damnable lies. Other pastors tell me they have faced death threats for telling the truth. That's what lies do, and that's why they are damnable. The pastors who support Trump and mislead their parishioners are promoting a "fake faith." And fake faith in support of a President who was the nation's Liar in Chief is damnable.
I was impressed by what Cassidy Hutchinson told the Jan 6 committee about why she told the truth. As “a staffer” she tried to promote the policies of this administration that she believed in, but the language and behavior in the White House after the election and leading to Jan 6 made her “frustrated, disappointed, and sad.” As “an American,” she felt “disgusted” at such “unpatriotic and un- American” behavior. That is, to “debase the Capital of the United States with a lie.”
I find it laughable that Republicans are calling Hutchinson’s testimony “hearsay.” Yes, it was! She was the one in the room who heard it all!
And all the President’s men were bowing down to a mad, maniacal, and menacing tyrant who was trying to take down the democracy of the United States.
They confided to each other about how “f….ing crazy” Trump was, and how, according to White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, and if he went to the Capitol was “going to be charged with every crime imaginable, including “obstructing justice, defrauding the electoral count, and the incitement of riots.” Cipollone told Meadows that if Trump wasn’t stopped, people at the Capitol would die and the chief of staff “would have blood on his hands.”
Hutchinson said she tried repeatedly to get her boss to respond to the Capitol insurrection, but Meadows just sat on his couch, scrolling through his cell phone, not even looking up to listen. As for the president, “he just wants to be left alone,” Meadows told his aide, as violent rioters descended on the Capitol.
Here is some of the truth-telling that Cassidy Hutchinson told the nation Tuesday:
Donald Trump knew his people on the Mall were dangerously armed. Police intelligence reported that day their surveillance that showed multiple weapons on Trump supporters, including AR-15 rifles. We learned that Trump was very angry that more of his people were not allowed through Secret Security Magnetometers without surrendering their arms. “They’re not here to harm me,” Trump said, which begs the question who were they wanting to harm that was okay with the President? An armed mob invading the Capitol is exactly what Donald Trump wanted to see – to lead, actually.
Trump got very angry again when he was told he couldn’t go to the Capitol and lead his armed insurrection. When his Secret Service agents in the vehicle refused his presidential order, “I am the f….ing President! Take me to the Capitol now!” The agent in the vehicle told Hutchinson that Trump grabbed for the steering wheel and then went for the throat of his top Secret Service official. Hutchinson was in the room right afterwards with that Secret Service agent and reported that he seemed “discombobulated.” I guess so, when instead of taking one for the President, you take one from the President, as Stephen Colbert joked. But the most important and undisputed truth is that President Trump desperately wanted to join his mob of armed insurrectionists at the Capital to prevent the certification of his election loss and prevent the peaceful transition of power.
Finally, we learned that Trump threw dishes against the wall in the presidential dining room and pulled the table clothes off tables, spilling food and breaking things, which would be another ridiculous Trump story if it were not so scary about the temper and temperament about man in the White House from 2016 to 2020.
It again reveals an angry and uncontrollable man who was doing everything he could to stay in power: by lying that the election was stolen, by pushing state election officials to change the results, by pressuring the Vice President to violate his oath to the Constitution, by denouncing Pence via tweet when he knew a violent mob had invaded the Capital and were threatening to “hang” him.
Liz Cheney, the Republican congresswoman from Wyoming, vice chair of the January 6 committee and another powerful woman truth-teller, ended this week’s hearing with evidence of witness tampering and pledged severe legal consequences.
Tyrants like Trump need to be shut down by courageous women and men. As a faith leader, I am praying for that to happen.