During a recent episode of MSNBC’s “Inside With Jen Psaki,” host Jen Psaki engaged in a conversation with Cassidy Hutchinson, a former Trump White House aide-turned-witness and anti-Trump author. The discussion revolved around the temporary lifting of the gag order on former President Donald Trump and the potential risks it poses to the safety of witnesses and individuals involved in ongoing investigations.
The Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit had temporarily lifted the gag order imposed by Judge Tanya Chutkan, with a November 20 hearing scheduled to address the issue. After the hearing, the court was deliberating on whether to reinstate and/or modify the order.
Psaki questioned Hutchinson about her concerns regarding the safety of witnesses facing attacks from Trump, given the recent developments. Hutchinson emphasized her belief that Trump is fully aware of the impact of his words, having heard him acknowledge it personally. She pointed to the events leading up to the January 6, 2021, Capitol attack, citing Trump’s tweets and rhetoric as evidence of his influence.
Highlighting the chilling consequences of Trump’s words, Hutchinson discussed specific instances, such as Trump’s tweet about Vice President Mike Pence on January 6, which contributed to chants of “Hang Mike Pence.” She also referenced statements attributed to Mark Meadows, where Trump allegedly remarked that Pence deserved such treatment.
Psaki further inquired about Hutchinson’s nervousness for the safety of witnesses, including former colleagues, considering Trump’s public statements. Hutchinson expressed her genuine concern, noting that individuals should not live in fear of retribution from a sitting or former president. She cited instances where violence had been unleashed on individuals, even within the Republican party, based on their political decisions.
The conversation delved into the normalization of violence in society and the need to address the consequences of such actions. Hutchinson stressed the importance of not letting America reach a point where citizens have to explain to future generations why the nation allowed such a state of affairs.
Psaki underscored the historical significance of the moment, prompting reflection on the trajectory of the country and the responsibilities associated with it. The discussion highlighted the broader societal implications of political rhetoric and its potential impact on the safety and well-being of individuals involved in legal proceedings.
PSAKI: You talked about this a lot in your book. Do you think he recognizes the impact of his words?
HUTCHINSON: Thank you for having me, Jen.
And, yes, I absolutely — I believe that he knows the impact of his words, and I believe that because I have heard him say it.
And I think, when…
PSAKI: You have heard him say, I know people listen to me?
HUTCHINSON: Yes, absolutely.
And I think that that’s evident too from just how he’s been able to get away with how often he has tweeted and the rhetoric of his tweets. Donald Trump knows the impact his words have. He knew, when he put out the tweet on December 19, 2020, when he summoned the mob to come to Washington, D.C., that he was going to expect a crowd.
That’s why he continued pushing and pushing and pushing that rhetoric and pushing those invitations to all of his supporters that ended up coming to Washington, D.C., on January 6.
So, when Donald Trump says something, I think that we as a nation do a big disservice to our own constituents and our neighbors when we don’t take what he says at face value.
PSAKI: That’s so important for people to remember.
You talk in your book — you write about the impact of Trump’s words. I mean, this is something you kind of explore, including how Trump’s tweet about his vice president on January 6 promoted chance of “Hang Mike Pence,” something that is haunting every time I hear it.
You also write that, according to Mark Meadows, Trump said he deserves it. That’s really scary. It’s still scary to hear. Are you nervous? I mean, you know a number of the people, former colleagues who are going to be witnesses. Are you nervous about their safety when you hear Trump’s words and you see what he’s doing out there publicly?
HUTCHINSON: Yes, I am.
And I know from my experience too,the American people should not ever have to live in fear of retribution from a president of the United States or a former president of the United States. A president is here and is elected to protect the people, not to incite violence on those people.
I think about myself, but, more importantly too, I think about men like Rusty Bowers, who was cornered at his home. I think about Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss.
HUTCHINSON: I think about members of Congress on the January 6 Committee, who needed security details, or, even up until a few weeks ago, during the speaker’s race, how there were members who weren’t voting for Jim Jordan who had violence unleashed on them — and they are Republicans — just because they were not planning to vote for the individual that Trump had personally endorsed.
This violence is — has become unfortunately somewhat normalized in our society. And I know that I don’t want to raise my children or have to explain to my grandchildren why we let America get to this point.
PSAKI: It’s such an important moment to think about where you are in history.