Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony jolted the DoJ into focusing on Trump in its Jan 6 investigation: New York Times

Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony jolted the DoJ into focusing on Trump in its Jan 6 investigation: New York Times
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  • The Jan. 6 hearings prompted the DOJ to focus on Donald Trump, per The New York times.

  • Officials were struck by testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson and changed tack, the report said.

  • She said Trump sought to lead an armed mob to the Capitol and clashed with the Secret Service.

Testimony by Jan. 6 witness Cassidy Hutchinson sparked debate among top Justice Department officials about Donald Trump's potential criminal culpability for the Capitol riot, The New York Times reported. 

The June 28 testimony by the former White House aide prompted officials to discuss Trump's actions on January 6, 2021, and questions about potential legal ramifications for the former president, sources told The Times.

Present at some of the discussions were Attorney General Merrick Garland, and Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, the report said.

The DOJ faced criticism from Democrats for appearing to show little interest in Trump and his immediate circle as it launched prosecutions based on events that day.

At a press conference in January, Garland defended the DOJ's approach, saying it was working methodically to bring all those responsible to justice.

But the cases brought to trial so far have been to do with prosecuting individual rioters, mostly seeking convictions for acts of violence or crime like trespassing, rather than seeking to establish broader culpability.

In her testimony, Hutchinson gave an account of Trump's behavior on January 6 drawn from conversation with top Trump aides and her own observations.

She said Trump had known that protesters who gathered before the riot were armed, and had wanted to lead them to the Capitol to demonstrate against Joe Biden's certification as president.

She also testified that Trump demanded to be taken to the Capitol but was told by Secret Service agents that they wouldn't do it.

According to the Times report, DOJ officials were surprised by that information.

Legal analysts said that the testimony could help sustain charges of seditious conspiracy against the former president, or incitement.

Trump has pushed back against Hutchinson's claims, calling her a liar and a "social climber." Trump and Hutchinson's detractors have not presented evidence of her saying anything untrue.

The Jan. 6 committee could also make a criminal referral to Justice Department about Trump, which would not compel the DOJ to act but would place pressure on them to launch an investigation into the former president.

The DOJ's Jan. 6 investigation is being conducted separately from the House Jan. 6 committee's.

It is also separate froma DOJ effort to investigate the so-called "fake electors" plan which Trump and his circle considered as a way to overturn the 2020 election.

Read the original article on Business Insider