Trump wanted to 'join Capitol riots and tried to grab presidential limo steering wheel' to get there

Tuesday's explosive testimony raises the big question of whether Donald Trump could now be charged with a crime - Correspondent Robert Moore reports

Donald Trump demanded to join the march on the Capitol himself and tried to grab the steering wheel of his Secret Service limousine in a failed bid to direct it there, a key witness has told the committee looking into the January 6 riot.

Ex-aide Cassidy Hutchinson also testified that the former president knew supporters had weapons when he urged them to storm the Capitol to overturn the 2020 election, which he lost to his Democratic opponent Joe Biden but claimed was rigged.

It was claimed that he was aware members of a crowd outside security metal detectors at his rally near the White House were armed, but told his security apparatus be removed so they could get closer.

Ms Hutchinson went on to say that she was close enough to the former Republican president to hear him demand that attendees not be screened so that they could fill the crowd and make it look as large as possible.

“I don’t f****** care that they have weapons.” “They’re not here to hurt me. Take the f****** mags [metal detectors] away. Let my people in. They can march to the Capitol from here,” Ms Hutchinson testified.

Watch Robert Moore's report from Washington DC on January 6 in full

Ms Hutchinson, 25, alleged Mr Trump became so irate at being driven back to the White House after his speech that he tried to grab the steering wheel of the presidential limousine - known as 'The Beast' - away from a Secret Service agent who was driving.

"'I'm the effing president. Take me up to the Capitol now,'" Ms Hutchinson quoted him as saying.

He then lunged at the chief of his security detail, it was claimed.

The revelations formed part of extraordinary testimony from the former aide to Mr Trump and his chief of staff, Mark Meadows, who was relatively unknown before Tuesday's session.

Committee chairman Bennie Thompson and Vice Chair Liz Cheney. Credit: AP

At least nine people who were at the riot died during and after the rioting, including a woman who was shot and killed by police.

The House of Representatives panel accuses Mr Trump of an attempted coup.

Liz Cheney, the Republican vice-chair of the January 6 committee, led questioning of Ms Hutchinson, who claimed that Mr Trump and his senior staff knew the potential for violence.

What else we learnt from the sixth January 6 hearing:

  • Rudy Giuliani, an adviser to Trump, allegedly said about January 6: "'We're going to the Capitol, it's going to be great. The president's going to be there; he's going to look powerful.'"

  • Ex-vice president Mike Pence, came within 40ft of the mob, members of which were chanting that he should be hanged.

  • Mr Meadows allegedly said that Mr Trump “thinks Mike deserves it,” as the former president had criticised Mr Pence for not objecting to the Democrat victory.

  • When attorney general William Barr dismissed the president's election fraud claims in a 2020 interview, Mr Trump allegedly threw his lunch across the room, smashing a plate and splattering ketchup onto the walls.

  • In the days before the attack, Ms Hutchinson said that she was “scared, and nervous for what could happen” after conversations with Mr Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani and others.

Ms Hutchinson is among a host of former White House staffers to co-operate with the congressional probe into the January 6 riots - but the first to provide live testimony around the events.

The panel has held five hearings so far, mostly laying out Mr Trump’s post-election campaigning to various government institutions in the weeks leading up to the January 6 joint session of Congress. The committee has used the hearings to detail the pressure from Mr Trump and his allies on Mr Pence, on the states that were certifying Mr Biden’s win, and on the Justice Department.

It will continue its work with at least two more public hearings next month.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know