Andrew Harnik—Pool/Xinhua/Redux
September 28, 2022 6:00 AM EDT

Cassidy Hutchinson’s appearance was a surprise. She had already given four closed-door depositions before the House select committee investigating the deadly and disruptive 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol. The committee reportedly scheduled the subsequent, public hearing in haste, with the thought that getting the former aide on the record would immunize her from escalating intimidation efforts. Her live testimony on national television was an act of courage.

As a witness, Cassidy was confident and knowledgeable about the activities in Donald Trump’s West Wing, not to mention one of the few aides with the nerve to share what she had observed on Jan. 6, when Trump supporters marched on the Capitol to attempt to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s election as President. Her testimony was riveting and explosive. Throughout, she was prepared, truthful, and a very effective communicator, gifted in her ability to recount information in a matter-of-fact manner, though it had to be a personal ordeal to testify with the world watching. The skills that she displayed as an exceptional witness are not unlike those found in the best leaders.

Dean, a former White House counsel who testified before the Senate committee investigating the Watergate scandal, is a CNN commentator

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