A former White House official told the House committee investigating the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the US Capitol that former President Donald Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, had been informed of intelligence reports showing the potential for violence that day, according to transcripts. released on Friday night.
Cassidy Hutchinson, who served as a special assistant in the Trump White House, told the committee that “there were concerns presented” to Meadows prior to the riot, but it was unclear what Meadows did with that information.
“I just remember Mr. Ornato coming in and saying we had intelligence reports saying there could be violence on the 6th,” Hutchinson said, presumably referring to Anthony Ornato, a top Secret Service official. “And Mr. Meadows said, ‘All right. Let’s talk about it.'”
Friday’s presentation also reinforced how deeply certain Republican members of Congress were involved in the White House’s discussions of nullifying the election in the months leading up to the deadly uprising.
Hutchinson describes several calls involving Meadows and members of the far-right House Freedom Caucus in late November and early December, in which participants discussed what Vice President Mike Pence’s role might be on Jan. ceremonial role he was to play.
On those calls, according to Hutchinson, were representatives of Trump’s legal team, including Rudy Giuliani, Jenna Ellis and Sidney Powell, as well as representatives Jim Jordan and Scott Perry.
The committee’s request is in response to a lawsuit Meadows filed in December in Washington federal court against the committee and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The suit asked a judge to overturn two subpoenas Meadows received from the committee, claiming they were “overly broad and unduly burdensome”. The lawsuit continued by accusing the committee of exaggeration in issuing a subpoena to Verizon for its cell phone records.
Shortly after the complaint was filed, the select committee sent an indictment of contempt of Congress against Meadows to the House floor, where it passed a near-partisan vote. It was the first time the chamber had voted to keep a former member in contempt since the 1830s.
While an earlier contempt reference against former Trump aide Steve Bannon resulted in an indictment, the Justice Department was slow to decide whether to prosecute Meadows.
The criminal case against Meadows is more complex than the one brought against Bannon, in part because Meadows has begun to cooperate with the committee, even providing documents for the nine-member panel.
Meadows’ attorney, George Terwilliger, has previously defended his client by noting that because of Meadows’ willingness to hand over the records, he should not be required to attend an interview. Terwilliger did not immediately return an email asking for comment on Friday night.