The most explosive highlight of the January 6 Committee presentations was the sudden appearance of a slim young woman in a white blazer who revealed what happened inside the White House that day. That testimony – now seared into the nation’s history — is retold in Enough, Cassidy Hutchinson’s new, best-selling memoir.
Weeks before that testimony, Hutchinson, former aide to Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows, looked critically at herself in the mirror and took stock. What she saw was disturbing. Unwilling to see herself taking the easy way out – accepting a Trump-paid lawyer who coached her to respond saying “I don’t recall” — she sought help. First she turned to a friend and former colleague, Alyssa Farah, who introduced her to January 6 committee vice chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming. It was Cheney who helped Hutchinson locate her own lawyers.
The lawyers, Jody Hunt and Bill Jordan of Alston & Bird, gave Hutchinson the courage to tell her story. Her riveting testimony has done more than any other account to place Donald Trump in legal jeopardy. She told about her 20 months working inside a chaotic White House, overhearing the acrimony and venom of the 45th president.
Prompted by questioning from Cheney, Hutchinson walked the committee through January 6 events, beginning when Trump had insisted that security magnetometers at the Ellipse speech, meant to detect guns, be taken down because “they’re [the protesters] not there to harm me.” She related how Trump, told by the Secret Service that he wouldn’t be driven to the Capitol, had lunged for the steering wheel of his car. She told of Trump saying Vice President Mike Pence “deserved to be hanged.” She told about Trump hurling his plate at the wall after hearing that Attorney General William Barr said Trump had lost the election. But mostly she explained how the U. S. Capitol was breached and trashed for the sake of a lie that Trump himself admitted to Mark Matthews he didn’t believe. (Trump said, “I don’t want people to believe we lost, Mark.”)
Hutchinson’s memoir, written with collaborator Mark Salter, shares her life story growing up in a working-class family, where her father was a self-employed landscape architect who loved watching Trump on “The Apprentice.” Raised in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, Cassidy –“Cass” to her friends — attended a small college in Virginia, majoring in political science. She graduated with a thirst for working in politics. When she was a sophomore in 2017, Hutchinson had attended a Trump rally seated six rows from the stage with “people I felt I could relate to.”
Using her awesome analytic skills, Hutchinson parlayed a series of Capitol Hill internships (Steve Scalise and Ted Cruz among them) into a junior position in Trump’s Office of Legislative Affairs. She used complex negotiations with Congress to achieve notice by Congressman Mark Meadows as he took over as Trump’s chief of staff. Hutchinson gained favor with Meadows over more experienced staffers while he sought out “leaks,” a White House obsession. Meadows signed Hutchinson on as his assistant, telling her she’d serve as his “eyes and ears,” always accompanying him.
What mattered in the White House, above all else, was loyalty to Trump. “Leak traps” were set to find who was feeding information to the media. Meadows said he’d take a bullet to get Trump back in the White House and asked Hutchinson if she too would take a bullet for Trump. Cassidy joked, “Perhaps in the thigh.”
Before Enough was released in the end of September, media figures senior enough to get early copies mined the book’s revelations, picking up the most sensational tidbits. For instance, there were the exchanges with Matt Gaetz who lurked around the White House, asking Matthews to get him a presidential pardon and trying to date Hutchinson. (In a post-publication interview with Rachel Maddow, Hutchinson said she told Gaetz, “I have higher standards in men.”)
Then there was Cassidy recalling the scene at the Ellipse Jan. 6. She described how Rudoph Guiliani groped her, putting a hand up her skirt, his icy fingers on her thigh, while lawyer John Eastman looked on “with a Cheshire cat smile.” She also recalls their final days in the White House when Meadows burned papers in his fireplace so incessantly that his wife complained that his suits smelled like a bonfire and upped their dry-cleaning bill.
Hutchinson’s memoir is part a coming-of-age story, part a page-turning account of the months she spent in the White House, and part coming to grips with the aftermath. Cassidy had expected, as promised, that she would have a post-White House job at Mar-a-Lago. But Meadows dashed her hopes saying Trump believed her responsible for leaks.
Bereft of where to turn after she received her first subpoenas, Hutchinson desperately tried to find a pro bono lawyer or at least one would accept a repayment plan. When she tried to borrow money from her dad (still a staunch Trump supporter), he flatly refused.
Meanwhile Cassidy’s beloved mother Angela and her second husband Paul, Cassidy’s “chosen father,” offered to take out a second mortgage on their home to help her hire a lawyer. It was a generous offer but not needed once Hutchinson connected with attorneys Hunt and Jordan. They not only helped her to navigate, but made security arrangements and took her into their homes and lives. Enough is dedicated to them.
Hutchinson ended up giving six closed-door interviews and one live testimony, doing three interviews with the Department of Justice and one with Fulton County. While wrestling with her decision to honor her oath and tell the truth, she took solace in reading and rereading Bob Woodward’s All the President’s Men and The Last of the President’s Men. She identified with Nixon aide Alexander Butterfield, finding her testimony remarkably paralleled his. She tried to reach out to the former White House deputy, now living in La Jolla, and against all odds, she succeeded. Enough’s most unforgettable picture shows Cassidy and the nearly 97-year-old Butterfield sharing a mutual hug.
Butterfield inscribed a copy of Woodward’s book to Cassidy, writing:
“You did the right thing and doing the right thing is the very definition of integrity. – Alex.”
Hutchinson’s memoir is the best account of what it was like to work for Donald Trump, a man she had once admired greatly and then came to believe must never again be allowed to occupy the White House.