Former Trump White House staffer Cassidy Hutchinson told the House select committee investigating last year’s Capitol riot that she saw then-chief of staff Mark Meadows burn documents “once or twice a week” in the lead-up to Jan. 6, 2021.
During a May interview, Hutchinson said she watched Meadows incinerate around a dozen papers during President Donald Trump’s final days in the Oval Office, according to a transcript released by the panel late Tuesday.
“I want to say once a week or twice — it’s — I can recall specific times that I did,” Hutchinson said during the May 17 deposition. “Maybe a dozen, maybe just over a dozen, but this is over a period, December through mid-January too, which is when we started lighting the fireplace.”
Hutchinson added that she didn’t know whether the documents were originals or copies.
The Presidential Records Act requires the chief executive to retain all original White House papers.
Shortly after Hutchinson’s May interview, Politico reported that she had once spotted documents going up in smoke after a visit from Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), who chairs the pro-Trump House Freedom Caucus.
Previously released transcripts have revealed Hutchinson claimed she faced pressure from Trump allies and lawyers to provide limited information to the Jan. 6 panel about the weeks during which Trump tried to overturn the 2020 election.
“I’m your lawyer. I know what’s best for you,” Hutchinson remembered Stefan Passantino, a former White House ethics lawyer who offered his services, saying to her earlier this year. “The less you remember, the better. Don’t read anything to try to jog your memory. Don’t try to put together timelines.”
The Jan. 6 committee voted last week to refer Trump to the Justice Department on four charges, including obstruction of an official proceeding, conspiracy to defraud the US, conspiracy to make a false statement, and aiding an insurrection.
Hutchinson became a national figure when she appeared before the panel in June for televised testimony, during which she claimed Trump attempted to take the wheel of the presidential SUV from his Secret Service driver and join rioters at the Capitol building.
Before her May deposition, Hutchinson also told committee members a fellow Meadows staff member told her he thought she would “do the right thing” and “protect” both the former chief of staff and president.
“Mark wants me to let you know that he knows you’re loyal and he knows you’ll do the right thing tomorrow and that you’re going to protect him and the boss,” Hutchinson quoted the colleague as saying. “You know, he knows that we’re all on the same team and we’re all a family.”