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Meadows' reported National Guard email hits different after Hutchinson testimony

Then-Trump White House chief of staff allegedly said National Guard members would protect Trump supporters on Jan. 6. Questions abound.


Tuesday’s House Jan. 6 committee hearing was the most riveting yet.

Over the span of about two hours, Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, revealed all sorts of details about then-President Donald Trump and his allies' deranged plot to overturn the election on and around Jan. 6, 2021. 

After the hearing, I wrote about some of the most shocking revelations, including testimony alleging Trump knew attendees at the rally he spoke at ahead of the Capitol riot were armed. She also testified that she heard Trump aides say Trump lunged at a Secret Service agent and tried to grab the steering wheel of his presidential vehicle to get to the Capitol on Jan. 6. (Secret Service officials said they're prepared to testify that Trump was irate but didn't lunge at an agent or try to grab the wheel. To that I say: Go ahead and testify, then.)

Another stunning, but less discussed, revelation from Hutchinson was that she said she heard references to extremist groups from White House officials in the lead-up to Jan. 6. Specifically, she said the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, two right-wing groups with members who have been charged with seditious conspiracy in connection to Jan. 6, came up in White House discussions.

Hutchinson’s testimony helped draw a more direct link between Trump and the extremists who stormed the Capitol on his behalf. And it might provide some insight into a chilling email the Jan. 6 committee alleges Meadows sent to an unnamed official on Jan. 5.

In December, the committee said, “Mr. Meadows sent an email to an individual about the events on January 6 and said that the National Guard would be present to ‘protect pro Trump people’ and that many more would be available on standby.”

The report was startling at the time. And it’s even more disturbing in light of Hutchinson’s testimony that Trump wanted to fill the crowd at the Jan. 6 rally with armed people. There are a few questions we need answered following Tuesday’s testimony. 

First, is Meadows’ alleged email evidence that he knew violence was in store for Jan. 6? And a follow-up: Who were the “many more” people the committee says Meadows claimed would protect “Trump people” on Jan. 6? With regard to that claim, did Trump also know this was the plan? If so, that might explain his bizarre certainty that the armed people attending his speech weren’t there to hurt him, according to Hutchinson.

And, of course, we know Trump has previously instructed the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by,” which most people — including the Proud Boys — interpreted as marching orders

The Jan. 6 committee is piecing a puzzle together. And although the picture isn’t complete yet, it seems to show a president and his minions complicit in, and encouraging of, fascist violence.