• Feeling Bad for Cassidy Hutchinson

    July 12, 2022

    Tags: , , , , ,
    Posted in: Democracy

    I feel bad for Cassidy Hutchinson, the young woman who testified recently in front of the January 6 Committee. She seems unaware she violated the six basic rules of being a staff aide. She doesn’t even know her career is over at a time when she thinks her efforts will be kickstarting her into fame. Someone should put her in touch with Monica Lewinski.

    To understand Cassie’s failure requires one understands the Washington DC ecology. There are the top-level predators, like Trump, and Meadows, his chief of staff, and there are those funny little birds that live off the big guys’ droppings. That would be the staff aides like Cassie. Now there is honor in all work, even if it consists of picking seeds out of droppings — somebody has to do it for the system as a whole to thrive. So Rule 1 of being a staff aide is knowing your place, followed quickly by Rule 2, never forget you will not be staff aide forever.

    The little bird that sits above the rhino’s tail seems important and in a way, is. She keeps the rhino happy and in good humor. Often times other animals find it easier to approach the bird before the rhino, to check he’s in a good mood, has been eating well, stuff the bird knows not because she is important per se but because she sits near the rhino’s butt. Cultivating a good relationship with the bird means better access. Staff aides are like that; they sit in the front office and respond to important people asking things like “Boss in a good mood today?” or “What did he think of my memo?” The aide is a proxy for the big guy. But the aide is not the big guy. She should not forget that.

    A healthy does of “only when spoken to” helps a lot, too. Cassie never “spent time with President Trump.” She attended events as background filler, endless signing ceremonies, celebrations, and presidential announcements, and “frequently watched Marine One depart the South Lawn from my office window.” Just being places is a key staff aide task.

    When they are not serving as a benign, approachable proxy for the big guy, staff aides do a lot of “coordinating.” Spend an hour in any office in DC and you’ll hear that word a half dozen times. Big guys are too important for details, and staff aides are too young to know them. So, for example, Mark Meadows as chief of staff talks to the president, who says “I wanna go to Chili’s for lunch.” Meadows knows that means Secret Service and a motorcade, press, maybe rearranging the afternoon’s Boy Scout meet and greet (all together, a movement, we’re back to those birds) but has no interest in making lots of phone calls as the more calls he personally makes the less powerful he seems. So he asks his staff aide to “coordinate” the movement and she, invoking his name like a hacking cough in a four-pack a day smoker, calls the movement people and says the president wants to go to Chili’s. Actually, she says “Our office needs the president at Chili’s pronto.”

    If the aide is good at her job, she is composed when the boss is stressed, smooth when he is rough, sugar-coated when he is cursing. This is because of Rules 1 and 2: she is not the boss and soon enough won’t be the staff aide anymore and everyone below her (for now) on the food chain will remember whether she was rude, pushy, and power hungry.

    It can be hard to do; I was an ambassador’s staff aide for a year. Many times in a raised voice the ambassador would say “Why hasn’t Jones finished that memo [you told him to write on the ambassador’s behalf]?” followed by me after a deep breath phoning Jones to casually ask how it was going. If I said something like “You know, the ambassador is anxious about that memo” I better have said it nicely because Jones outranked me by three steps and in a few months I might be a wage slave in his shop and he Would Remember. Rule 2.

    Poor Cassie’s career to staff aide-date consisted of a couple of government internships out of her small Virginia public college, where she no doubt got ground down by someone’s staff aide. That aide forgot Rule 3, low levels you chew on when you’re staff aide can get promoted past you and they Will Remember you.

    I got fooled twice as staff aide. Once was to drop a contrarian memo on the ambassador’s desk without the writer’s boss having seen it, and the second to serve as a conduit of what I thought was staff intel but instead was just backstabbing gossip. In both instances I was on the wrong side of Rule 4, don’t get used by senior people. Always remember (Rules 1 and 2) you are disposable. That brings us to Cassie and January 6.

    Trump’s movement away from his January 6 speech venue went bad; Trump wanted to go to the Capitol but this Secret Service detail felt it was unsafe and in a rare gesture, overruled him. Trump was upset and took it out on the two guys in charge, Tony Ornato and Bobby Engel. Back at the office the guys dutifully recounted what happened, with Cassie all ears (Rule 5: as staff aide you’re not well-briefed enough to overhear things and make sense of them.) She heard what may in fact been a bit of macho exaggeration by the guys, Trump grabbing the steering wheel and all, perhaps a bit of bravado as everyone was cooling down. Cassie misunderstood what she heard (Rule 6, it happens), setting the story in The Beast, the massive armored stretch Cadillac limo that is the official presidential ride when whatever happened happened in a Secret Service SUV per video records. A Secret Service agent would never misremember an SUV for The Beast but a former intern would.

    When the January 6 Committee came ’round, Cassie thought she had a tale to tell, Trump out of control in the vehicle and later, throwing his lunch during a tantrum, his ketchup dripping down the wallpaper. The thing is Cassie did not see either happen. She was repeating a Secret Service war story in the first instance and imaging the details in the second (she actually saw the ketchup dripping but not the throw.) Any first year law student will know those are examples of hearsay, second hand information, and immediately dismissible as evidence. It makes sense; why rely on someone’s second-hand remembrance when you can get the actual first-hand witness to testify? In this case, the Secret Service is apparently ready to call Cassie a liar; Trump already did.

    Cassie thought this was her big break, the intern made staff aide who was going to change history. Never mind that she must have come across the definition of hearsay somewhere in her education, never mind that steering wheel grabbing and plate throwing are neither criminal nor impeachable offenses. She was like the bird claiming from her perch on the rhino’s backside he ate too many berries for lunch, or at least she’d heard that from the insect who lives in the rhino’s mouth. She broke all the rules for her few minutes on TV, allowing herself to be used by a Committee who knew damn well she had not witnessed anything  and swearing “under oath” to the truth of something you don’t know first-hand is impossible.

    And that leaves Cassie in violation of another rule, one most people learn on the playground: nobody likes a snitch. Nobody likes one who thinks she is ratting out her boss’ boss, nobody like one who disgraces the Office of the President. Anyone check in on how Monica Lewinski’s career in Washington went? After a quick round on Late Night, Cassie will disappear from DC-land. You don’t violate the rules of being a staff aide without consequence, after all.

     

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  • Recent Comments

    • Rich Bauer said...

      1

      Don’t worry about her future. You made a career being a snitch on your fellow Iraqi thieves. Expect her to write a book, and unlike you, get a movie made. She is hot in more ways than one.

      07/12/22 10:52 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      2

      Bauer- any book that she writes will reside in development hell for decades and at the back of the line of thousands of scripts at some former Netflix spin off operation. I’m curious- how could PVB atone for his career sins to make you two become buddies again? Career sins are the norm not an aberration.

      07/13/22 9:35 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      3

      Tagline: All the Presidents Men brought down by a woman.

      Netfix? This story is too big for the small screen. Should be ready by September 2024.

      FYI: Peter and I were both harassed/investigated by the goons in Diplomatic Security for our opposition to the Iraq fiasco. By my count, there were less than a handful in State who dared speak out against it. All were targeted for surveillance.

      While Peter disgraced himself in serving in Iraq, his WMW expose had a substantial impact. Anybody fired by the Wicked Witch of Arkansas for enlightening the munchkins deserves some respect.

      07/13/22 2:50 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      4

      Don’t feel bad for the orange Clown. His grift cannot be stopped behind bars. For $5000 you will be able to buy an authentic The Don autographed orange prison jumpsuit. If the old demented clown wasn’t so fat he could make bucks servicing the sexually frustrated inmates.

      07/14/22 12:11 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      5

      Cassidy’s comments imply that many in Donald Trump’s inner circle feared legal jeopardy standing with Trump during his final throes of clinging to power. Most were realists serving a fabulist. Is Joe Biden afflicted with the same hubris? We’ll see.

      07/15/22 10:40 AM | Comment Link

    • jpb said...

      6

      As someone who is rule-curious but completely out of the loop, I found this article to be enlightening.

      For the record: aside from propaganda studies, zero (in fact, negative) interest in what Hollywood, Netflix, etc is market testing.

      07/15/22 3:39 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      7

      Hollywood is hard at work getting the rights to Ms. Hutchinson’s story with the working title “January 6.” Emily Blunt is rumored for the lead.

      Rumors have another film in development focusing on DON Demented; It is titled “Drunk Monkey With a Machine Gun.” Only Demented himself is right for the role.

      07/16/22 8:52 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      8

      How about “Butch Cassidy and the SunDunce’s Kid” as a way to get Hollyweird’s attention? Ivanka and Hutch love affair perhaps?

      07/17/22 8:36 AM | Comment Link

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