CNN’s Jake Tapper pressed Democratic Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin on Tuesday about corroborating new allegations made by former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson against former President Donald Trump.
Hutchinson, a former aide to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, testified that Trump allegedly said he did not care that “Stop the Steal” rally protesters had weapons, including AR-15s and knives. Raskin, a member of the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, said the testimony is essential to their investigation given that the former president allegedly did not care about the potential harm that could be done.
“Does that establish intent of a crime? I’ve seen legal commentators say ‘that’s a smoking gun,'” Tapper said.
“I can certainly see prosecutors looking at that and if they’re making charges of seditious conspiracy, which is conspiracy to overthrow or put down the government of the United States, that that crowd or people who are ringleaders in that crowd could be charged with seditious conspiracy and some of them have been and several have already pled guilty to that charge,” Raskin said.
Tapper then played footage of Hutchinson being informed by two Secret Service agents, Tony Ornato and Robert Engel, that Trump allegedly reached for the steering wheel of the presidential limousine to veer toward the Capitol, then allegedly lunged his hand and grabbed Engel’s clavicle. The CNN host asked the representative if he has “corroborating evidence” that the report is valid. (RELATED: Jamie Raskin Wants To Use The Jan. 6 Committee To Blow Up The Electoral College)
“The story that she told is the evidence that I’m aware of,” Raskin said. “And I have not seen anything to contradict it and then, of course, it’s corroborated by everything else we know about Donald Trump’s eagerness to not just incite this march and assemble the march and form the march and exhort the people in the march, but also to participate in it.”
“Right, I get it,” Tapper interjected. “But, what I’m saying is your committee interviewed Tony Ornato and Steven Engel who supposedly told her the story. And I don’t doubt her. I’m sure Ornato told her the story. But your committee interviewed them. Did you ask about that story? It is a shocking story.”
Raskin said he had no involvement or knowledge about Ornato or Engel’s testimonies, but has no evidence that contradicts Hutchinson’s report.
“Right, but you would agree that that story would be stronger if you had corroborating evidence from the individuals who were actually in the presidential limo,” Tapper said. “It is just an incredibly damning and dramatic story, I would just add as a journalist and as an American, appreciate more corroboration for the story for as of now it is hear-say.”
Raskin said the committee is not charging anyone with a particular offense and is assembling information and accounts of the Jan. 6 riot. He then said they have a “very clear story” of Trump attempting to overthrow the 2020 presidential election.
“Absolutely, over months and months,” Tapper agreed. “I’m just saying that corroboration for that story would be good.”