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June 29, 2022, 3:40 p.m. EDT

June 2022 will be remembered as the month that ‘finished off Donald Trump’: analysts react to Jan. 6 hearings

By Chris Matthews

Washington has been consumed by speculation surrounding the House Jan. 6th select committee’s hearings, after a surprise hearing this week featuring a former Trump administration aide who said that the former president knew attendees of his rally on that day carried weapons and encouraged his supporters to march to the Capitol anyway.

The aide, Cassidy Hutchinson, said the former president even tried to pry the steering wheel of the presidential vehicle from a Secret Service agent who was escorting him from the rally, demanding in vulgar terms that he be taken to the Capitol to be with his supporters rather than back to the White House. The steering-wheel detail was reportedly disputed later Tuesday by an unnamed source described as close to the Secret Service.

See: Highlights of Tuesday’s Jan. 6 hearing: Trump’s fury, dire legal warnings and ketchup

“June of the year of 2022 will be remembered as the month that pretty much finished off Donald Trump,” Greg Valliere, chief U.S. policy strategist at AFG Investments, told Bloomberg on Monday, ahead of the surprise hearing. “It’s not just that he may get indicted. It’s not just that he has lost some altitude in the party. It’s is the mere fact that more and more of his own supporters are telling poll takers that one turn is enough, [and] we’re really not excited about him running again.”

The Jan. 6 hearings, which kicked off with a prime-time hearing that reportedly drew more than 20 million viewers, appear to made had an impact on betting-markets estimates of the most likely winner of the Republican presidential nomination in 2024 — until earlier this month, Trump was seen as a clear favorite, though he has not said explicitly that he intends to run.

See: Fox News is notable exception as prime-time Jan. 6 committee hearing blankets TV airwaves

Betting site PredictIt now gives the former president a 33% chance of clinching the 2024 Republican nomination, down from 38% before the hearings began. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is now emerging as a favorite, with a 42% chance of winning the GOP nod.

Legal observers say there is a growing chance that Trump will face legal repercussions over the apparently sprawling attempt to overturn the result of the 2020 presidential election, in which Trump lagged President Joe Biden by more than 7 million votes and by a 306-232 count in the Electoral College .

Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew McCarthy, a Republican, wrote in the conservative National Review that Hutchinson’s testimony could open the door to Trump’s being charged for aiding and abetting the forcible intimidation of government officials.

Hutchinson said that the president angrily insisted that the Secret Service remove metal detectors that had been stationed outside the Ellipse venue near the White House to prevent weapons from being brought to the rally, so that armed attendees would not fear being turned away or having their weapons confiscated.

She also testified that White House counsel Pat Cipollone requested that some lines be excised from Trump’s speech at the Ellipse exhorting his supporters to “fight” the election results, saying he feared legal ramifications if the crowd were to later become violent.

“Please make sure we don’t go to the Capitol, Cass,” Cipollone exhorted Hutchinson, according to the aide’s testimony. “We’re going to be accused of every crime imaginable.”

Federal investigators recently raided the home of former Justice Department environmental lawyer Jeffrey Clark after former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen testified that Clark lobbied Trump to have him installed as attorney general so that he could call into question the election’s results in several key states in a manner that other top DOJ officials had refused to do.

Meanwhile, a Fulton County, Ga., investigation into the former president’s attempt to overturn election results in that state is ongoing after the district attorney convened a grand jury earlier this year.

Read on: House select committee explores Trump team’s pressure on Pence to reverse Biden win on Jan. 6

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