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January 6 hearing: Key takeaways from Trump aide Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony

Yahoo Finance political columnist Rick Newman breaks down the picture insider testimonies in Congress' January 6 hearing is painting of former President Trump's involvement and the future of his political career.

Video Transcript

CASSIDY HUTCHINSON: Mr. Cipollone said something to the effect of, please make sure we don't go up to the Capitol, Cassidy. Keep in touch with me. We're going to get charged with every crime imaginable if we make that movement happen. I'm the effing president. Take me up to the Capitol now, to which Bobby responded, sir, we have to go back to the West Wing. 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. The valet had articulated that the president was extremely angry at the attorney general's AP interview and had thrown his lunch against the wall, which was causing them to have to clean up.

So I grabbed a towel and started wiping the ketchup off of the wall to help the valet out. And he said something to the effect of, he's really ticked off about this. I would stay clear of him for right now. He's really, really ticked off about this right now.

DAVE BRIGGS: That was just a few of the noteworthy moments from today's surprise January 6 hearing with Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. Yahoo Finance senior columnist Rick Newman here with his takeaways. Rick, we asked this within the context that there are two separate Americas today, one who's already convinced that what happened on that day is disqualifying for office, and another one who doesn't see, doesn't hear, doesn't read anything about it. Was anything a game changer today?

RICK NEWMAN: Yeah, possibly so. So I think this was the most salacious episode yet of the Real Presidents of Washington, DC reality show. Were those sensational allegations? But in fact, they were under oath, so this was testimony of Trump basically losing control and throwing plates against the wall. When she was talking about him trying to take control of the presidential limousine, that was after the speech he gave on the morning of January 6.

And there was a lot-- Trump wanted to go to the US Capitol. That was not just a rhetorical flourish, according to this testimony. Trump really wanted to go. And his aides were doing everything they could to prevent him from going because that would have been seen as abetting any crime that may have happened later that day. And of course, we know crimes did happen later that day.

So what we just heard in that snippet, Brad, was Casey Hutchinson describing the story. She was not there in the car, but this had been relayed to her later that day of Trump basically trying to grab control of the presidential limousine. And then it sounds like he sort of assaulted the Secret Service agent, who is chief bodyguard, who was in the limousine with him.

So this makes Trump seem like a president even more out of control than we may have known before. And I think what's happening throughout all the evidence we're hearing from the January 6 committee is Trump's political future is closing slowly, but surely.

RACHELLE AKUFFO: Well, as we look at Trump's political future, obviously, a lot of people had already sort of dug their heels in at this point into what they believed, whether they put what he did was right or wrong. How much does this actually move the needle, do you think, with this fresh testimony?

RICK NEWMAN: I'm glad you used that phrase, "moving the needle," Rachelle, because there is some evidence that these hearings are moving the needle. So there was one poll recently that found 58% of Americans think that Trump should be charged with a crime for his role in the January 6 events. That's not 58% who say he shouldn't run for president. That's people who say he should be charged with a crime.

And that portion has actually gone up since these hearings began a few weeks ago. So that suggests this is all getting through to the public. It doesn't mean that the Justice Department is going to charge Trump, but it suggests that it will be easier to do it if the Justice Department wants to, and also that it will be easier for the Justice Department to charge Trump aides. And I think that was another thing that came out today.

Important-- there was another thread of information today, which was that the White House did know in real-time that there were weapons among some of these people out in the crowd. Some of these people did not want to try to get close to Trump while he was giving a speech because they would have had to go through weapons detectors. And they didn't want their weapons to be confiscated.

So this witness today said Trump knew that. And he still encouraged those people to go up to Capitol Hill, knowing some of them were armed. So that makes a tighter connection than we've seen before between people in the White House, including Trump and the people who did commit crimes at the Capitol. So this is more legal peril for Trump and those around him.

SEANA SMITH: And Rick, you said 58% believe-- 58% of Americans believe President Trump, former president Trump should be charged with a crime. You mentioned the fact that that will be up to the Justice Department, but just walk us through what that would potentially look like, and I guess, how likely you see that being right now.

RICK NEWMAN: It's an extremely tough call. There is persuasive evidence that Trump has committed crimes. And we have one retired conservative judge and another active conservative judge saying basically that. The evidence is very clear that Trump committed crimes. And these would be-- the usual disclaimer, I'm not a lawyer-- but these would be things like conspiracy to defraud the United States and other things related to Trump trying to actually stop the peaceful transfer of power.

The problem with going after Trump is, first of all, if you're going to prosecute him, you better get a conviction, because if you don't, it will only validate everything we've heard Trump say about a witch hunt. And then you have to ask yourself, even if you feel really confident you could get a conviction, you're still going to inflame Trump supporters. And while they might be wrong to support a guy who has committed crimes, you do have to say to yourself, what is in the best interest of the country?

And that just makes this a very difficult call for the attorney general, Merrick Garland. I think it's an easier call to go after people who might have aided Trump. So that's why we may see more attention on people like the Justice Department lawyer who tried to get this-- overturn the election and other people like that. And we are seeing some of those cases moving forward.

SEANA SMITH: Certainly a story we'll keep on here at Yahoo Finance. Rick Newman, thanks so much for joining--

RICK NEWMAN: Bye, guys.

SEANA SMITH: --us this afternoon.