Who Is Cassidy Hutchinson, The Former Aide To Mark Meadows?

A cavalcade of witnesses has been testifying in front of the select congressional committee tasked with investigating what occurred during the January 6, 2021 riot at the United States Capitol. While other witnesses have offered insights that raised eyebrows and turned heads, few caught the public's attention like Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to Mark Meadows, the former White House Chief of Staff.

Hutchinson's testimony included a shocking story about what happened in the moments after former president Donald Trump left the stage following a speech to supporters on January 6. She alleged that Trump wanted his Secret Service detail to follow supporters to the Capitol, and when they declined out of safety concerns, the former president grabbed the wheel of his presidential limo and even lunged at a member of the Secret Service, per The New York Times.

These statements have thrust the 26-year-old into the national spotlight and even drew the direct ire of the former president, who denied her allegations, per Newsweek.

How Cassidy Hutchinson made it to the White House

According to The New York Times, Cassidy Hutchinson grew up in New Jersey and went on to attend Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia. In a 2018 profile about her that was posted to the Christopher Newport University website, Hutchinson discussed how she had been interested in getting into politics — and admired those who were already in government — for as long as she could remember. Hutchinson served as an intern on Capitol Hill where she worked for both Rep. Steve Scalise and Senator Ted Cruz.

"I have set a personal goal to pursue a path of civic significance," she said at the time. "Interning on Capitol Hill confirmed my desire to continue a path in government, and when I learned about the White House internship I was eager to apply."

Hutchinson moved from Capitol Hill to the White House as part of the White House internship program. The program, according to The White House, is "a public service leadership and development program that provides emerging leaders with an opportunity to gain valuable skills while supporting the work of the White House."

What did Hutchinson do in the White House?

In the White House, Cassidy Hutchinson worked for White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and her proximity to a powerful figure in the Trump administration appears to have given her a substantial peak behind the curtain.

According to The New York Times, Meadows had handpicked Hutchinson to join his staff after she had previously worked in the office of legislative affairs. Meadows had become familiar with her while he was still a Congressman when she was frequently tasked with escorting him on and off White House Property. A former deputy White House press secretary, Sarah Matthews, confirmed that Hutchinson "was a close confidant of his."

In her testimonies — both a pre-recorded one that was played in Congress on June 23 and her in-person appearance on June 28, per Newsweek — Hutchinson detailed moments she observed while working in the White House. These included overhearing several Republican lawmakers requesting presidential pardons after the events at the Capitol had unfolded.

The importance of Hutchinson's testimony

Some observers, including Norm Eisen — a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who served as counsel to House Democrats during Trump's first impeachment trial — have compared Cassidy Hutchinson to John Dean, per The Washington Post. Dean was a former presidential counsel who accused Richard Nixon of direct involvement in the Watergate scandal that eventually led to Nixon's impeachment and resignation.

Due to her role in the administration, Hutchinson kept extensive schedules of White House meetings and activities. She has also stated that she saw Meadows burning documents after a meeting with Rep. Scott Perry in the wake of the 2020 election, per Slate.

"She worked in the West Wing, several steps down from the Oval Office," Rep. Liz Cheney, a member of the select committee, said. "Ms. Hutchinson spoke daily with members of Congress, with high-ranking officials in the administration, with senior White House staff, including Mr. Meadows, White House Counsel's Office lawyers, and with Mr. Tony Ornato, who served as the White House deputy chief of staff."

Criticism of Hutchinson's testimony

Of course, while some praised Hutchinson's testimony, others were highly critical of it and even disputed some of her statements. One of the most vocal critics was former President Donald Trump, who took to his social media platform, Truth Social, to claim that he wasn't familiar with who Hutchinson was and that her allegations were false, per Newsweek.

"I hardly know who this person, Cassidy Hutchinson, is," he wrote, "other than I heard very negative things about her (a total phony and 'leaker'), and when she requested to go with certain others of the team to Florida after my having served a full term in office, I personally turned her request down. Why did she want to go with us if she felt we were so terrible? I understand that she was very upset and angry that I didn't want her to go, or be a member of the team. She is bad news."

Others have raised concerns about her statement about what allegedly happened in the presidential limo on January 6, with anonymous Secret Service officials stating that two people who were inside the limo that day were willing to refute Hutchinson's allegations under oath, per The New York Times. Given the desire of those within Trump's orbit to remain loyal to the former president, however, it's difficult to know whether these refutations would be made in good faith, or in the spirit of partisan allegiance.