Why Cassidy Hutchinson could be ‘the next John Dean’ for Jan 6 hearings

Bruno Cooke June 28, 2022
Why Cassidy Hutchinson could be ‘the next John Dean’ for Jan 6 hearings
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One of the lawyers for the House Democrats in Trump’s first impeachment trial told the Washington Post (via Slate) that Cassidy Hutchinson “might turn out to be the next John Dean”.

Slate called it an “apt, if wishful” reference to Watergate.

But the Watergate scandal occurred in 1972, and not everyone remembers former White House Counsel John Dean.

So, what does it mean to be “the next John Dean”, and why might Cassidy Hutchinson’s role in the 6 January select committee’s investigation prove significant?

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What does it mean to be ‘the next John Dean’? Former WH Counsel’s role in Watergate explained

John Wesley Dean III served as White House Counsel for former President Richard Nixon from July 1970 to 1973.

When he confirmed his official participation in the Watergate scandal, his revelations led to the resignation of Nixon, and his own imprisonment, as well as the incarceration of other top aides.

Nixon had named him to head a special investigation into the possible involvement of White House personnel in the Watergate case. But Dean refused to issue a report denying a cover-up; Nixon fired him on 30 April 1973.

Two months later, he testified publicly before the Senate select committee on presidential campaign activities. He explained in detail how the president, among others, had obstructed justice in order to mask his participation in the break-in at the Watergate headquarters of the Democratic National Committee.

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What would it mean for Cassidy Hutchinson to be the ‘next John Dean’?

In other words, John Dean’s testimony opened the floodgates. 

By becoming a key witness for the prosecution, he won himself a reduced sentence, which he served at Fort Holabird outside Baltimore.

The idea behind lawyer Norm Eisen’s prediction that Cassidy Hutchinson “might turn out to be the next John Dean” is that her testimony could play a similar role in Trump’s impeachment trial.

Slate writes that she “could have some of the most damning testimony we’ve seen yet”. But who is she?

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Who is Cassidy Hutchinson? Age and career explored

A former special assistant to the president and chief of staff, Cassidy Hutchinson worked at the White House from March 2019 to January 2021. Just under two years.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in political science and American studies from Virginia’s Christopher Newport University in 2018, according to The Sun, and interned for Senator Ted Cruz and House majority whip Steve Scalise.

When she landed her White House internship, the Christopher Newport Newsroom described it as a “highly coveted summer gig”. 

“I was brought to tears when I received the email that I had been selected to participate,” Hutchinson told the student newspaper. 

Given that she started attending university in 2015, and began at the White House as an intern in 2018, Cassidy Hutchinson’s age may be as low as 25 or 26. She could also be older.

Source: Christopher Newport University Newsroom

She was the first in her family to go to university

“As a first-generation college student,” she told her university’s newsroom in October 2018, “being selected to serve as an intern alongside some of the most intelligent and driven students from across the nation – many of whom attend top universities – was an honour and a tremendous growing experience.”

Interning in the Capitol confirmed her “desire to continue a path in government”, she added, “and when I learned about the White House internship I was eager to apply”.

Cassidy Hutchinson worked as an executive assistant for Mark Meadows, whom the New Yorker describes as the “matador” for former president Donald Trump’s “election lies”. 

“No witness will have been more helpful – and more confounding – to investigators than Mark Meadows”, the magazine writes. But Hutchinson spent more than 20 hours in deposition with January 6 investigators. Could her testimony prove even more significant than Mark Meadows’?

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Why Hutchinson could prove ‘crucial’ for a future prosecution of Trump

Quoting The Washington Post, Slate writes that Cassidy Hutchinson provided “extensive information” about Mark Meadows’ activities “in trying to overturn the election [of Joe Biden]”.

Politico reported earlier this month that Meadows had “refused to cooperate” with the January 6 select committee’s investigation. Which, Slate adds, could make Hutchinson’s testimony “crucial for a future prosecution of Trump”.

She apparently witnessed Meadows incinerating documents in his office after a meeting with Republican representative Scott Perry. 

And in April, she testified that Jim Jordan, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert and Scott Perry were among those “raising the idea of the vice president doing anything other than just counting electoral votes on January the 6th” – per The New York Times.

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Bruno is a novelist, amateur screenwriter and journalist with interests in digital media, storytelling, film and politics. He’s lived in France, China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, but returned to the UK for a degree (and because of the pandemic) in 2020. His articles have appeared in Groundviews, Forge Press and The Friday Poem, and most are readable on Medium or onurbicycle.com.