By Antonio Salgado Borge
An unexpected testimony could end up shattering the armor that keeps the Donald Trump’s electoral chances in 2024.
The US Congressional committee investigating the storming the capitol announced, overnight, an additional session to those originally scheduled. The reason: to listen to the testimony of Cassidy Hutchinsona former Trump White House official.
During his appearance, Hutchinson explained that Donald trump knew that the people gathered at the rally that preceded the assault she was armed with pistols, spears, clubs and defensive equipment. Trump learned that many of these people refused to go through the metal detectors installed for security, but insisted that they be allowed access. “They are not coming to attack me,” that former president told his staff.
Hutchinson also detailed that Trump wanted to march with the armed mob to the Capitolsomething that his staff avoided at all costs because, in the words of one of his closest collaborators, if they did so “they could accuse us of all possible crimes.
trump too I knew Mike Pence’s life was in danger, his vice president. When Pat Cipollone, a White House counselor, expressed his concern to the chief of staff, he replied that Trump “doesn’t want to do anything… “You heard him, Pat, he thinks Mike deserves it, he doesn’t think they [la multitud armada buscando a Pence para “colgarle”] They’re doing nothing wrong.”
Finally, Hutchinson narrated how Donald Trump struggle, like a furious infant, to take the steering wheel from a member of his security body. Failing, she tried to grab him by the neck. Once inside the White House, completely beside himself, Trump threw a plate of food against a wall, which ended up smeared with ketchup.
Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony is shocking. The obvious question is whether she will end up derailing the possibility that Donald Trump will be the Republican candidate in 2024. It seems to me that there are three main reasons that this could well be the case.
The first reason is that Hutchinson’s testimony has greater potential than previous ones when it comes to influencing the Trump base.
Cassidy Hutchinson is not a nonpartisan technocrat or someone conservative Republicans can accuse of being liberal or Democrat. In reality, this former official is a hard-nosed conservative. Proof of this is that she began her career as an assistant to the ultraconservative and nefarious senator Ted Cruz.
Nor can it be argued that he does not have direct knowledge of the facts he has described. Hutchinson was the right-hand man of Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff. Everyone knew that she was the means to get to him. The witness even filled in for Meadows in meetings when he was forced to be absent, interacting with Trump’s inner circle and working within walking distance of him.
To this must be added that Hutchinson answered questions and developed explanations with impeccable sobriety. Much has been said that even his attire and body language sent a sign of maturity, control and seriousness, despite being 26 years old and having started working at the White House at just 22.
Although clearly superficial, these elements completely dismantle the possible sexist argument that we are dealing with a scared, upset or weak witness.
Finally, the graphic richness of the description of this witness is impressive. Both the events that she witnessed first-hand and the facts that were transmitted to her by the chief of staff or the White House adviser were presented with apparent consistency and great detail.
It is likely that there is nothing capable of moving the most radical core of the Trump base. However, the sum of the profile of this witness, the sobriety of his explanations and the graphic richness of his testimony constitute powerful weapons that can begin to chip away at the outermost part of this base.
The second reason is that Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony has also opened cracks within the Trump sector that dominates the Republican Party.
Several members of that group have expressed their outrage at what this witness revealed and some have indicated that this has led them to leave behind their loyalty to the former president they supported for years.
This phenomenon should not be interpreted as a sudden recovery of the moral compass of this group. There are animals capable of sensing when a possible prey is injured and taking advantage of that moment to pounce on it. Trump’s main rivals within the Republican party belong to this species.
Two paradigmatic cases are Ron DeSantis and Ted Cruz. The first came to the governorship of Florida presenting himself as a Trump worshiper and imitator. The latter ran against Trump in the last Republican presidential primary, but has since unconditionally supported Trump and repeated his lies and nonsense to the letter.
The cracks in Trump’s armor open up a golden possibility for both Republicans. For example, various polls show that De Santis would defeat that former president among Republican voters in some states.
To this must be added the idea that, for the ultra-conservative Republican leadership, Trump has already fulfilled his “destructive” function. Ultimately, that former president nominated three justices of the Supreme Court that in recent days has reversed women’s rights and severely damaged the ability of the US government to regulate and monitor polluting companies – and thus meet its goals to contain climate change.
For some people within the Republican Party, it would be time to find a candidate capable of building the structures they need to reverse other rights, such as those of the LGBTIQ+ community or even the rights of black people in the United States.
The third and last impact that Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony could imply for Trump’s shell has to do with the legal consequences that may derive from it.
His testimony has made it clear that Trump knew both that the crowd was armed and what those people wanted and could do. But instead of worrying or trying to stop them, he went out of his way to physically accompany them to the Capitol. These shocking elements were unknown until just a week ago.
In addition, what this witness has said has generated a renewed interest in citing the officials to whom she has alluded in her testimony. And what they could say is reserved prognosis.
It was just following a logic of this nature that the key witness in the Watergate case against Richard Nixon was called.
Finally, another charge that is about to be brought against Trump has to do with possible attempts at witness tampering.
Although the sponsorship of organizations close to this billionaire to the legal defense of his former collaborators is permitted by law in the United States, it is now known that the trump team sends messages to witnesses ‘inviting’ them to be loyal or ‘reminding’ them that they could fall from grace in ‘Trump world’.
Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony has been as unexpected as it is powerful.
The sum of the three impacts mentioned above – the impact on the Trump base, the impact within the Republican Party and the legal impact – has opened cracks that until a few days ago were unimaginable.
And these cracks could end up shattering the armor that has kept Donald Trump’s electoral chances alive in 2024.