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Texts in lawsuit undercut Cassidy Hutchinson’s claim ex-lawyer pressured her to 'protect' Trump

The messages, revealed in a suit by her former lawyer against an MSNBC commentator, show that Hutchinson initially desired to resist the January 6 committee’s investigation and called the proceedings “bs.”

Published: December 1, 2023 11:00pm

Updated: December 1, 2023 11:04pm

A lawsuit filed by Cassidy Hutchinson’s former lawyer shows that she initially did not want to comply with the January 6 committee’s investigation and appeared to prepare to leak information about the committee’s proceedings to the media independently of her lawyer.

These texts date to shortly before her first closed door interview before the special committee investigating the January 6 riot and long before she amended her account of events after jettisoning her first lawyer, Stefan Passantino, who she alleged had pressured her to stay “loyal” to President Trump.

The texts were appended as evidence to Passantino’s lawsuit against Andrew Weissmann—an MSNBC legal analyst, former prosecutor and deputy to Special Counsel Robert Mueller—alleging that he “publicly impugned [Passantino’s reputation], claiming that Mr. Passantino coached his client, Cassidy Hutchinson, to lie in congressional testimony.”

“This is an insidious lie,” the lawsuit reads. “Mr. Passantino never coached Ms. Hutchinson to lie, nor did he attempt to shape her testimony in any way.”

Passantino did not respond to requests for comment from Just the News on Friday. A lawyer for Hutchinson pointed Just the News to her public testimony and the January 6 committee final report, which repeated her claims about Passantino's alleged pressure. 

You can read Passantino’s suit against Weissmann, with text messages embedded, here:

 

Texts allegedly from Cassidy Hutchinson, which Passatino presented in the defamation suit, show that the former aide to Trump’s chief of staff initially admitted that she did not want to cooperate with the committee, even though Passantino encouraged her to do so.

“Like how on earth are they doing this to you,” an unidentified individual asked Hutchison.

“I don’t know. But I don’t want to comply. Stefan wants me to comply,” Hutchinson responded.

In another exchange, it appears that Hutchinson expresses doubt about Passantino’s media strategy surrounding her deposition, indicating that she would leak information to the media separate from her lawyer in order to ensure her “narrative” gets out first.

“So I want to. Stefan wants to wait till after my depo. I have to go in person next Tuesday. He doesn’t think the committee will leak it (“they promised they won’t”) but I don’t trust them,” Hutchinson said to an unknown recipient. “And I want it to be my/our narrative that’s out there first,” she continued.

In another text to an unknown recipient for information on possible funding for her legal representation, Hutchinson dismissed the committee’s inquiry as nonsense.

“I’m on a high timeline and just trying to figure out what my options are to deal with this bs,” Hutchinson said.

These text messages undercut one of Hutchinson’s stated motivations for amending her account of events on January 6, that her lawyer’s pressure to stay “loyal” to Trump colored her testimony.

Just the News reported this week that Hutchinson significantly amended her original February 2022 recounting of events before the committee, through both follow-up interviews and an errata sheet submitted to the committee in September of 2022 and cited pressure from Passantino as the main motivation for withholding information.

“Before retaining my new lawyers, at times I had told less than the whole truth to a congressional committee charged with investigating a matter of the highest national importance, a matter that posed a threat to America’s future greatness,” Hutchinson wrote in her memoir,” "Enough." “I had withheld information about events that I had witnessed or that had been recounted to me by witnesses.”

In a September 2022 follow-up interview with the January 6 committee after she had retained a new legal team, Hutchinson explained how Passantino had supposedly pressured her. “You’re not lying if you say you don’t recall,” Hutchinson claimed Passantino said as she prepared for her initial interview with the committee.

“Everything’s going to be OK. We’re taking care of you,” Passantino also allegedly said, according to Hutchinson. “Just downplay your position … It’s not fair that Mark [Meadows] put you in this position. We just want to focus on protecting the president. We all know you’re loyal. Let’s just get you in and out, and this day will be easy, I promise,” she claimed he said.

Passantino disputed Hutchinson’s characterization and filed a lawsuit against the House of Representatives for damages to his reputation from these claims. This was in addition to his suit against Weissmann for his comments on his “coaching” of Hutchinson.

You can read that lawsuit below: 

“The Committee told an outrageous tale to media sources, such as CNN and possibly others, about Mr. Passantino’s non-existent efforts to obstruct their investigation by impacting the testimony of their 'star' witness, Cassidy Hutchinson,” the suit against the House of Representatives reads.

“The Committee, however, undertook no effort to contact Mr. Passantino, interview him, or otherwise seek to verify the truth of the allegations lodged against him before it released this information in support of a political narrative about President Donald J. Trump and the lawyers perceived to be working for him,” it continued.

Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga., told Just the News on Wednesday that his committee will possibly summon Hutchinson to get to the bottom of her changing testimony and allegations against her former lawyer. Loudermilk’s House Administration Committee Subcommittee on Oversight is investigating the January 6 committee and its findings.

“Everything is on the table,” he said. “We're willing to go out and bring anyone in that we need to get to the truth … We're to the point right now, where," he said.