PEE TAPE: Is Hutchinson’s Testimony True? | Steve Berman

I have to hand it to Democrats on the 1/6 committee. Carrie Fisher could not have punched up a better script. A surprise witness who saw it all. The meltdown, the rage, the villain, the failed man who would be king. This is good stuff, told well, and who wouldn’t believe it’s not true?

If Cassidy Hutchinson was bursting to tell the story of how President Trump tried to lead the coup at the Capitol, she certainly held on to it for a long time. What a spectacular “smoking gun” tale: how Trump demanded to be taken by his Secret Service detail to the Capitol, fuming, swearing, and trying to grab the wheel of his secure vehicle. 

From the Boston Globe:

Calmly and clearly, Hutchinson brought viewers of the House panel investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol into a White House dining room, where she helped a valet clean up Trump’s airborne lunch; a backstage tent before Trump told the crowd to “fight like hell”; and into a presidential vehicle where a co-worker told her the president allegedly attempted to grab the steering wheel and hit a security official as he pressed to follow his supporters to the Capitol.

As Erick Erickson noted this morning, none of this was direct evidence. Hutchinson cast herself as a “fly on the wall” and related things told to her by other staffers, and things she observed as an aide to Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. It was all hearsay, and in a trial, none of it would be admissible as evidence. But man, it’s so believable.

Of course, it could be corroborated by the actual people who were there, but so far, they’ve denied it.

It occurred to me that if Trump was in “The Beast” presidential limo, there’s no way he could grab the wheel, since he would have no access to the driver’s seat. If he was in an SUV, it’s possible, but a head-scratcher. It does, however, fit neatly within the narrative. Trump wanted to confront Pence in person, and lead “his” armed crowd. He didn’t act because he was brooding, as a captive in his own White House.

I have no problem believing it.

But then again, most of the mainstream media bought the “pee tape” story too. They ate up the entire Russia stooge story, from appetizer to dessert. It was a complete fabrication. Of course, Trump did plenty to reinforce the belief that he was (and is) a Putin-loving Russophile who wants to dissolve NATO and make hay as another oligarch ruling his own Washington oblast.

Hutchinson’s testimony has the aroma of political haymaking. If she knew all this, why didn’t she come forward on January 7th? Why wasn’t she deposed under oath by the House managers running the impeachment? Why weren’t the Secret Service agents subpoenaed, deposited, and ordered to appear before the full Senate during the trial? Why does all of this come out now, as a “surprise” in the hot Washington summer before a midterm election?

Yes, it’s totally believable. I believe that Trump would do everything Hutchinson related she heard and saw—in his mind. That doesn’t mean he did them for real. In fact, Trump’s own cowardly streak would inhibit him from any kind of physical action against his own Secret Service detail, or anyone in his orbit. He’s more the kind to mock a disabled reporter in front of a crowd than to bow up for real. I mean, the guy’s in his late 70s; he’s only a half step behind Biden in acting decrepitness. (To be serious: Biden fell off a bike. I can’t imagine Trump even getting on one to ride it.)

None of this matters. As Erick also noted, Republicans were taken by surprise here. This is a political maneuver, not a legal case.

However, this is not a court of law. It is a court of public opinion. The hearings won’t affect Republican standing in polling with $5.00 gas, but can affect Donald Trump’s standing with both the public and the GOP.

I don’t think you’ll see strong challenges to this narrative, of the petulant, pouting, rage-filled would-be king, sitting in his castle waiting for the pitchforks and torches to come to his aid. Trump was a prisoner in his own despair. There will be no challenge because it’s true, even if the details in Hutchinson’s story may not be strictly the truth or admissible as evidence.

For the Secret Service agents to actually testify would be an embarrassment to them and their serious job. Nobody wants to see must-cringe TV. It’s better to hear a staffer tell of the rage king than the four-year-old throwing a temper tantrum. Maybe for Trump supporters, the mythical coup master is a better story to hear (and to rail against online) than the cowering simp that the real story would expose.

But like the “pee tape,” the narrative has been set. The core Trump supporters will claim this is another fraud. The rest of the nation will either buy it lock, stock and barrel, or for Trump sympathizers and GOP strategists, look upon it with pity, and as a convenient excuse to move on.

I feel like Trump will become Saruman in the Lord of the Rings movies (not the book, where Saruman went on to scour the bucolic Shire), trapped in his tower, a failed and powerless old wizard. It’s a fitting end for him. It’s better to buy this “pee tape” and not look for the truth—believe me, it’s an act of mercy.

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevengberman.

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