(CNN)A quintet of courageous American women are defending American democracy in its darkest hour, and effectively delivering a warning about the rage and tyranny that may await if Donald Trump gets back into the White House after 2024.
A young ex-West Wing aide, a Capitol Hill police officer, two former Georgia election workers and a Republican scion who chose truth over her party are writing their names in history as they star in the House select committee's probe into the January 6 insurrection and lay bare the ex-President's thuggery.
In the latest show of bravery that has emerged as a rare bright light in a 2020 election tale of violence, lies and deception, Cassidy Hutchinson, a 26-year-old former aide to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, on Tuesday delivered some of the most disturbing testimony yet about Trump's unhinged behavior 17 months ago.
She said she had been told that the ex-President had lunged for his top Secret Service agent when the agent refused to have Trump driven to the Capitol riot scene, thought then-Vice President Mike Pence deserved to be hanged, said he knew his insurrectionists were armed but wanted them to march on Congress anyway and, in a separate incident in December 2020, left a White House wall dripping in ketchup after furiously flinging his lunch plate. (After the testimony, a Secret Service official familiar with the matter told CNN that Tony Ornato, then-White House deputy chief of staff, denies telling Hutchinson that the former President had grabbed the wheel or an agent on his detail.)
Braving reprisals from Trump world -- amid new allegations that the ex-President's acolytes have intimidated witnesses -- Hutchinson's appearance contrasted with cronies who closed ranks to protect their old boss or Republicans who privately disdain him but stay quiet to save their political skins.
And her willingness to go before millions of worldwide viewers to tell the truth contrasted with Trump's cowardice in failing to admit that he lost a fair election.