In explosive testimony, a former White House aide accused Donald Trump of attacking his own presidential security detail on January 6 after the Secret Service refused to drive him to the Capitol to join the armed mob gathering to block Congress from counting Electoral College votes. The testimony came from Cassidy Hutchinson, a former top aide to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. Speaking to the January 6 House committee, Hutchinson described being told what happened inside Trump’s presidential limo — which is known as “the Beast.”
Cassidy Hutchinson: “The president reached up towards the front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel. Mr. Engel grabbed his arm, said, 'Sir, you need to take your hand off the steering wheel. We're going back to the West Wing. We’re not going to the Capitol.’ Mr. Trump then used his free hand to lunge towards Bobby Engel. And when Mr. Ornato had recounted this story to me, he had motioned towards his clavicles.”
The January 6 committee also aired videotaped testimony from Hutchinson where she revealed Trump urged security officials to stop using magnetometers to screen for weapons at his rally on January 6 just prior to the Capitol insurrection.
Cassidy Hutchinson: “I was in the vicinity of a conversation where I overheard the president say something to the effect of, you know, 'I don't effing care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me. Take the effing mags away. Let my people in. They can march to the Capitol from here. Let the people in. Take the effing mags away.’”
Moments later, Trump took to the stage and urged his supporters to “fight like hell” and march to the Capitol.
Hutchinson also unveiled more details about how top Trump associates knew in advance of possible violence on January 6. Mark Meadows, who has refused to testify before the House committee, told Hutchinson that January 6 would be “really, really bad.” Hutchinson said Meadows and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani later sought pardons after the insurrection.
At the end of Tuesday’s hearing, Committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney presented evidence of possible witness tampering by allies of Trump. We will have more on Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony after headlines.
In Texas, the number of people who died after being confined inside a sweltering tractor-trailer in San Antonio has risen to 51. All of the victims are believed to have crossed the U.S.-Mexico border seeking refuge. Forty-six people were found dead in the truck on Monday, while five more died after being taken to local hospitals. On Tuesday, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador addressed the mass deaths.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador: “I want to express my deepest condolences to the families of the Mexican, Guatemalan and Honduran migrants who died yesterday, asphyxiated in a trailer. It is a tremendous disgrace. … These unfortunate events have to do with the situation of poverty and desperation of our Central American and Mexican brothers and sisters. It happens because there is also human trafficking and lack of controls at the border between Mexico and the United States and in the United States.”
A state court in Texas has temporarily blocked a century-old abortion ban from going into effect. The Center for Reproductive Rights said the decision will allow abortion services in Texas to resume at some clinics — at least for now.
At a NATO summit in Madrid, President Biden has announced plans to greatly expand the U.S. military presence in Europe, including building a permanent headquarters for the U.S. 5th Army Corps in Poland and deploying more troops to Romania and the Baltic region. Biden said this is a part of a broader NATO expansion.
President Joe Biden: “And together, our allies, we’re going to make sure that NATO is ready to meet threats from all directions across every domain — land, air and the sea.”
This comes as Finland and Sweden move closer to joining NATO after Turkey lifted its opposition to their membership. NATO’s summit is expected to focus on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as well as the growing power of China. For the first time, NATO has invited the leaders of Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand to attend a NATO summit.
Voters went to the polls for primaries in Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, New York, Oklahoma and Utah on Tuesday. Runoff elections were also held in Mississippi and South Carolina. In New York, Governor Kathy Hochul won the Democratic primary, with New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams placing second. In Illinois, the Trump-backed Republican Congressmember Mary Miller defeated fellow incumbent Rodney Davis. Miller’s election comes just days after she praised the Supreme Court’s ruling overturning Roe as a “victory for white life.”
In Colorado, far-right Republican Congressmember Lauren Boebert, who was also endorsed by Trump, fended off a challenge from a more moderate Republican. On Sunday, she spoke at a church in Colorado, where she criticized the separation of church and state.
Rep. Lauren Boebert: “The church is supposed to direct the government. The government is not supposed to direct the church. That is not how our Founding Fathers intended it. And I’m tired of this separation of church and state junk that’s not in the Constitution. It was in a stinking letter, and it means nothing like what they say it does.”
The Supreme Court ruled Monday against a public school district in Washington state that suspended a high school football coach who insisted on conducting team prayers on the field after games. In their dissent, the court’s three liberal judges warned that the ruling “strikes at the core of our constitutional protections for the religious liberty of students and their parents.”
The Supreme Court has reinstated a Republican-drawn congressional map in Louisiana that was found by a lower court to violate the Voting Rights Act by diluting the political strength of Black voters.
Michigan’s Supreme Court has thrown out charges against former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, his former health director and seven other former officials for their role in the deadly Flint, Michigan, water crisis. The court ruled 6 to 0 that the judge who issued the indictments did not have the authority to do so.
Colombia’s Truth Commission has estimated that over 450,000 people were killed in Colombia between 1985 and 2018 during a time when the United States was a key backer of the Colombian military and right-wing paramilitaries which targeted leftist groups, social justice leaders and union members. The Truth Commission’s report denounced the U.S.-funded war on drugs in Colombia, stating, “The consequences of this concerted and largely U.S.-driven approach [led to a] hardening of the conflict in which the civilian population has been the main victim.” This is Rev. Francisco de Roux, who led the Truth Commission.
Rev. Francisco de Roux: “To the government, public forces, political parties, entrepreneurs, churches, educators and other decision makers in Colombia: We ask you to recognize the drug trafficking penetration in our culture, in the state, politics and economy, and face it as a nation. We must develop investigative tools to face the alliances system and involved interests, and we must change the war politics that attack those who are the weakest link, the farmers.”
In more news from Colombia, at least 51 people were killed and over two dozen others injured Tuesday in a prison fire that started after prisoners set mattresses ablaze to protest conditions inside the dangerously overcrowded facility in the Cauca Valley. The building is old and reportedly did not have a working fire suppression system.
In the Philippines, the independent news outlet Rappler has been ordered to shut down by the Philippines Securities and Exchange Commission. Rappler’s founder, the Nobel Peace laureate Maria Ressa, has vowed to fight the order, which comes in the final days of Rodrigo Duterte’s presidency. On Thursday, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the son of the late Filipino dictator, will be inaugurated as president.
The British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for helping Jeffrey Epstein recruit and sexually assault teenage girls. In December, she was convicted on five charges, including sex trafficking of a minor. Prior to the sentencing, Sarah Ransome, a survivor of Epstein’s abuse, spoke to reporters.
Sarah Ransome: “I spent the last 17 years in my own prison for what she, Jeffrey and all the co-conspirators did to me. I was raped repeatedly. I was raped three times a day sometimes. And I was not the only girl on that island. There was a constant stream of girls being raped over and over and over again.”