OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Wyoming GOP Rep. Liz Cheney, who serves as the vice-chair of the Democrat-led Jan. 6 committee, was photographed hugging Cassidy Hutchinson immediately after her controversial testimony.
Hutchinson, a former aide to ex-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, testified before the committee during a special hearing on Tuesday and many of her allegations against former President Donald Trump have been refuted as being outright lies.
Cheney’s embrace of Hutchinson raised eyebrows, with people questioning (again) the fairness of the committee’s proceedings.
“If questioner (Cheney) wants to appear fair to jury (American people), it probably is not a good idea to get caught on camera hugging the witness,” Newsmax journalist Greta Van Susteren tweeted.
Van Susteren added, “Already people have very strong feelings – both ways – about this hearing and pics like this don’t help.” Brought by the committee as a special witness, Hutchinson delivered a series of major allegations against former President Donald Trump and his response to the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol incursion in her Tuesday testimony.
If questioner (Cheney) wants to appear fair to jury (American people), it probably is not a good idea to get caught on camera hugging the witness…see below from @Politico;already people have very strong feelings – both ways – about this hearing and pics like this don’t help; pic.twitter.com/lbdkMtzT4y
— Greta Van Susteren (@greta) June 29, 2022
Many others sounded off on social media:
Right after she finished testifying, Cassidy Hutchinson and Liz Cheney rushed toward each other and embraced. I'll stipulate that a congressional hearing is not a court of law, but the cuddly gesture did not exactly shore up the committee's credibility. pic.twitter.com/JgEQ7VPqDC
— Joel Pollak (@joelpollak) June 30, 2022
Liz Cheney and Cassidy Hutchinson hugging after yesterday’s hearing is all you need to know
— Jacob Bliss (@JacobMBliss) June 29, 2022
This is incredible. Cheney used Hutchinson to just flat out lie to the American people. And the media ate it up like Biden at Baskin Robbins. https://t.co/WEFb1R0KaL
— David Marcus (@BlueBoxDave) June 29, 2022
After Hutchinson’s testimony, many of her salacious claims were rebuffed by those with the knowledge of what actually happened.
Much of Hutchinson’s testimony was hearsay and second-hand information that she heard from someone else but did not witness herself.
One of the most spectacular parts of her testimony came when she accused Trump of grabbing for the steering wheel of the presidential limo after being told that he could not go to the Capitol on January 6, 2020, and then grabbing for the throat of Secret Service agent Bobby Engel.
But within hours of her testimony, Engel said that the incident she spoke of never happened.
Engel, the agent who was driving the presidential SUV, and Trump security official Tony Ornato both disputed Hutchin’s allegations and said they would testify under oath that no agent was assaulted and Trump never lunged for the steering wheel.
A third official, former Trump White House lawyer Eric Herschmann, disputed Hutchinson’s claim that she wrote a note for Trump to read on January 6.
Herschmann said the note was written by him, not Hutchinson.
“The handwritten note that Cassidy Hutchinson testified was written by her was in fact written by Eric Herschmann on January 6, 2021,” a spokesperson for Herschmann said. “All sources with direct knowledge and law enforcement have and will confirm that it was written by Mr. Herschmann.”
BREAKING: Former White House lawyer Eric Herschmann says that it is not true that Cassidy Hutchinson wrote the handwritten note that she testified on Tuesday that she wrote. He says it's not true because he was the one who wrote the note. https://t.co/jBBtnOwzTn
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) June 29, 2022
🚨 A source close to the Secret Service tells me both Bobby Engel, the lead agent, and the presidential limousine/SUV driver are prepared to testify under oath that neither man was assaulted and that Mr. Trump never lunged for the steering wheel.
— Peter Alexander (@PeterAlexander) June 28, 2022
— Betsy Woodruff Swan (@woodruffbets) June 29, 2022
The handwritten note J6 Star Witness testified she wrote was actually written by Eric Herschmann. She flat out lied. The committee knew it because Eric testified under oath that he wrote that note. Cheney questioned him about it. She knew Cassidy was lying https://t.co/56vRvA64Uk
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) June 29, 2022
CNN, new testimony, new lawyers … this smells like witness tamperinghttps://t.co/rP8nJzUbN5
— Mark R. Levin (@marklevinshow) July 1, 2022
Anyone that has ever worked with Eric Herschmann knows that the handwriting on that note is his. Cassidy lied through her teeth and Liz Cheney knew she was lying.
Trump White House attorney disputes Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony about handwritten notehttps://t.co/Jct1dDsN2W
— Arthur Schwartz (@ArthurSchwartz) June 29, 2022
For her part, Cheney is standing by Hutchinson despite almost all of her allegations being rebuked and disputed.
Cheney told ABC’s “This Week” co-anchor Jonathan Karl that she is “absolutely confident” in Hutchinson’s testimony.
“She’s an incredibly brave young woman,” Cheney continued. “The committee is not going to stand by and watch her character be assassinated by anonymous sources and by men who are claiming executive privilege.”
“I think that what Cassidy Hutchinson did was an unbelievable example of bravery and of courage and patriotism in the face of real pressure,” said Cheney, who is 30 points down in her re-election bid in Wyoming against Trump-endorsed Harriet Hageman.
It’s not likely she will ever admit it, but it appears as though Cheney’s biggest political mistake was taking on Trump.
The Wyoming Republican incurred Trump’s wrath earlier when she 1) blamed him for the Capitol incident; 2) publicly condemned him for it; 3) voted to impeach him over it; and then 4) took on the vice-chair role on a very partisan, Democrat-controlled committee selected by Nancy Pelosi to investigate the origins of the incident.
Cheney is about to pay the price for all of that after a poll found that she’s down a whopping 30 points to Hageman.