Insider sued the Biden administration for records identifying Trump’s post-presidency staff members.
Cassidy Hutchinson kept working for Trump after he left the White House, newly released documents indicate.
Hutchinson provided dramatic anti-Trump testimony before the House’s January 6 select committee.
Cassidy Hutchinson, the former Trump White House aide who emerged as a star witness for the US House committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, continued working on the former president’s behalf for nine weeks after he left office, according to government records exclusively obtained by Insider.
Hutchinson served as a “coordinator” for Trump’s official, taxpayer-funded post-presidential office from about January 20, 2021, to April 1, 2021, earning an annualized salary of $90,000, the General Services Administration documents state.
The documents establish that Hutchinson continued to earn a government paycheck for work in support of Trump for weeks after she witnessed his actions — and lack of action — on January 6, 2021, even as other colleagues soon thereafter resigned.
Hutchinson’s whereabouts immediately after January 6 have been the subject of considerable scrutiny and uncertainty. Bloomberg reported days after the attack that Hutchinson might join Trump in Florida, but Trump has stated he hardly knew her and turned her down. The Washington Post in June reported that Hutchinson did not have a full-time job after her White House tenure ended.
“Why did she want to go with us if she felt we were so terrible?” Trump wrote on Truth Social after Hutchinson’s testimony last month. “I understand that she was very upset and angry that I didn’t want her to go, or be a member of the team. She is bad news!”
Trump, who refused to concede he lost the 2020 presidential election to now-President Joe Biden, asked thousands of his supporters gathered that day for a rally in Washington, DC, to march on the US Capitol to protest Congress’ certification of states’ electoral votes. The mob then attacked the Capitol in Trump’s name — with deadly results.
“As an American, I was disgusted. It was unpatriotic. It was un-American,” Hutchinson, who served as a trusted aid to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, testified before the January 6 committee on June 28. “We were watching the Capitol building get defaced over a lie. And it was something that was really hard in that moment to digest knowing what I’d been hearing down the hall in the conversations that were happening.”
Hutchinson’s testimony included vivid descriptions of Trump’s efforts on January 6 to rally protestors — including those he knew were armed — and efforts to personally join the mob that attacked the Capitol.
Trump argued with Secret Service agents who refused to drive him there from the Ellipse near the National Mall, and then, enraged, threw his lunch at a White House wall upon returning to the presidential residence, Hutchinson testified.
Hutchinson is now cooperating with the parallel investigation by the Justice Department, which contacted her following her June appearance before the House January 6 committee.
Hutchinson and her lawyers did not respond to Insider’s requests for comment.
FOIA lawsuit seeks Trump records
Insider obtained the documents disclosing Hutchinson’s identity as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed against the US General Services Administration in October 2021.
The news organization, which initially filed its FOIA requests in early 2021, said the Biden administration-led GSA was in violation of federal law by failing to publicly release a full accounting of staff members for the post-presidency offices of both Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence.
While the GSA has since released some staffers’ names, it continues to withhold others. Until now, Hutchinson’s identity was among those withheld.
Releasing the withheld names risked “exposing the staffers to unwanted intrusions and potential harassment,” according to a July 29 statement filed in US District Court for the District of Columbia on the GSA’s behalf by Department of Justice attorneys. The signatories included US Attorney Matthew Graves, who Biden nominated.
GSA Associate General Counsel Daniel F. Hall likewise wrote that, “on balance, each staffer’s privacy interest in non-disclosure outweighed the public’s interest in disclosure.”
But “in light of media coverage” involving Hutchinson, “voluntary release of [her] name is appropriate at this particular time,” Hall wrote in a letter to Insider. The letter, included in the Biden administration’s July 29 court filing, identified Hutchinson as a one-time Trump post-presidential transition team staff member.
“Cassidy Hutchinson’s name was released because of media coverage following her testimony before Congress — not because of her role (“coordinator”) on the transition,” Graves and two colleagues separately wrote to the court.
The government documents do not specify what kind of work Hutchinson performed while serving as a member of Trump’s post-presidency office, formally known as the “Presidential Transition Support Team, 2021 Outgoing Transition.”
The documents do indicate that Hutchinson did her work from Arlington, Virginia, across the Potomac River from Washington, DC, and not Palm Beach, Florida. A handful of other post-presidency staffers worked from Florida while Trump resided at his Mar-a-Lago resort after leaving the White House.
During this period between January 20, 2021, and April 1, 2021, Trump’s post-presidency period had already hit extreme turbulence.
The US House impeached him for a second time in two years, with the Senate voting to acquit him — and quashing Democrats’ hope of denying him the right to ever again run for federal office.
But Democrats, and a few Republicans, too, had already initiated efforts at the local, state, and federal levels to investigate Trump’s role in the January 6 attacks specifically, and attempts to undermine the 2020 presidential election, broadly.
Inside Trump’s post-presidency office
In all, Trump’s post-presidency office featured 17 staff members who earned publicly funded salaries, including two of Trump’s top White House aides: Stephen Miller and Dan Scavino.
But as recently as early June, the Biden administration argued in federal court that there was “no discernible public interest” in disclosing the identities of three of these staffers — including the one now known to be Hutchinson — who earned taxpayer-funded paychecks working for Trump after he left office.
The government has similarly blocked Insider’s efforts to learn the identities of three staffers who separately worked for former Vice President Mike Pence’s post-presidential office.
Department of Justice lawyers in June justified withholding the staffers’ identities by arguing the individuals’ work for Trump or Pence “appears to be low-level.” They further asserted that “the individuals at issue are not public figures” and “their identities are not well-known to the public.”
The identities of five other Trump or Pence post-presidency office staffers remain unknown. Insider continues to pursue their names in court.
“Insider will press forward with our lawsuit until the public knows the names of every person who earned public money working for Donald Trump in the weeks and months after he left Washington, DC,” said Darren Samuelsohn, Insider’s Washington Bureau chief.
Read the original article on Business Insider