Former President Donald Trump, in an exclusive interview with Newsmax, pushed back hard against claims made by former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, who had worked for Trump's chief of staff Mark Meadows, calling her testimony to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, incidents at the U.S. Capitol "absolutely crazy."
"This committee is, a lot of people say, illegally formed," Trump told Newsmax's Rob Finnerty in an interview airing Thursday on Newsmax's "Wake Up America."
"When you look at what they're doing, and you look at what they're saying, what they're doing to the country, the good news is, a lot of people aren't watching. A lot of people aren't listening to it, but they're trying to do real harm."
Trump took offense in particular at Hutchinson's testimony claiming that he'd tried to force his Secret Service detail into driving him to the Capitol while the protests were happening and when they wouldn't comply, grabbing at the steering wheel of the presidential limousine, "The Beast," and then reaching for the throat of the man leading his Secret Service detail, Bobby Engel.
"This lady, yesterday — is there something wrong with her?" Trump said, not repeating Hutchinson's name. "She said I jumped from a car, I started strangling a Secret Service agent? I grabbed the steering wheel of a car? Said I wanted guns at my rally? I didn't want guns. I have to speak, too."
He pointed out that the Secret Service has come out and called Hutchinson's story "totally false."
"The woman is living in fantasy land," said Trump. "She's a social climber, if you call that social. I think it's just a shame that this is happening to this country, and we don't have any Republicans up there to dispute it. We have one who quit [Adam] Kinzinger, we have another one who's down by 35 points in Wyoming [Rep. Liz Cheney]. She's a total disaster, she's a train wreck, but think of it. Nobody to cross-examine."
It would have been the "easiest cross-examination anywhere," he added. "They put her on, and they don't even confirm it with the Secret Service. The Secret Service people in the car said this didn't happen, but you don't even need that. Who would do that? I would grab a Secret Service person by the throat?"
He insisted that his detail are "great people" who have devoted their lives to their service, and he thinks they were embarrassed by Hutchinson's testimony "because it makes them sound terrible."
Trump also slammed Hutchinson personally, pointing out that she was a "big Trump fan" who wanted to work for him in Florida after he left the White House but "we chose not to bring her down."
"Numerous people called up, said she's not good," Trump said. "I won't say why she's not good but there's plenty of reasons. She was not respected by the people in the White House, and they thought she shouldn't go down.
"I was going down to Florida with a group of people. A great group of people, patriots, her name was thrown out there and they said, 'Keep away from her.' They said bad things about her."
Trump added that he "hardly knows who she is," but then he saw her "getting up and she's making up stories, one after another, and the craziest of all was that I tried to commandeer a car with Secret Service agents, telling them to take us down to the Capitol. It was totally false, that a person can get away with it."
Further, he said, the mainstream media does not talk about how Hutchinson was "discredited."
"It's a bad thing that this was allowed to take place, in our country, that somebody can just get there without cross-examination and with no Republicans on the committee, which I think was a mistake … they have to ask her, Why did you want to go so badly with the Trump organization to Florida? She was all set to go, and then we determined that we didn't want her."
He said he hopes the Secret Service agents can testify, but meanwhile, with Hutchinson, "she's got serious problems, let me put it that way. Mental problems."
Trump also reiterated, as he has commented in the past, that he recommended 10,000 to 20,000 National Guard troops be at the Capitol on Jan. 6 but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the mayor of Washington, D.C., "turned it down." But if even just 500 troops had been there "you wouldn't have had Jan. 6, as it is called. It wouldn't have even existed. They didn't like the look of it."
The crowd size also was not mentioned by many, said Trump, but he feels it was "one of the biggest groups I've ever spoken to before. This was at the top of the list, from there, a small group, relatively speaking, went down to the Capitol."
Trump added that he thinks the committee hearings are being held to keep him from running again.
"I'm leading in all the polls," he said. "I'm leading in the Republican polls in numbers that nobody's ever even seen before, and against Biden and anybody else they run. I'm leading against them.
"This is just a way, look at the dishonesty of this committee. They don't talk about any of the things that refute Jan. 6. They don't talk about the election numbers. They don't analyze the election.
"The people were there because the election was rigged and stolen. What they should be doing is trying to convince people that it wasn't. You do that through analyzing the numbers. They don't want to do that. They don't even want to hear that. Fox doesn't put it on and you people don't even put it on … this is about a rigged and stolen election that millions of people felt was true."
Trump also in the interview addressed the ongoing elections and the potential that he will run again in 2024, the economy and how it has changed under President Joe Biden, and former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's possible return to politics:
- On the economy: "People have to recognize what happened in 2020. Because of that, our country's a mess. We had more energy than anybody, and now we're asking Saudi Arabia to send us oil. We're asking Venezuela the unthinkable, send us oil. We need your oil. I call it liquid gold. We have it under our feet. We were energy-independent. We were soon going to be energy dominant, bigger than Saudi Arabia and Russia combined within a very short period of time. So when I see that, it all happened because of a bad election."
- On a potential 2024 race: Trump said his wife, Melania, and youngest son, Barron, both love the United States and that, should he choose to enter the race, "they'll do what has to be done."
- Running with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis: "I was very responsible for his success," said Trump. "I endorsed him, and he went up like a rocket ship. Just like I endorsed Mary Miller [in Illinois] the other day, who supposedly was not going to win and she won, just like [gubernatorial candidate] Darren Bailey is doing great. I think he's going to beat [Gov. J.B.] Pritzker, one of the worst governors in the country."
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