Two Secret Service agents are reportedly willing to testify before Congress that then-President Trump did not lunge at a steering wheel or assault them in an attempt to go to the Capitol during the riot on January 6, 2021.
Peter Alexander, chief White House correspondent for NBC News tweeted following the "bombshell" allegations made on Tuesday by Cassidy Hutchinson, a former top aide to Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, "A source close to the Secret Service tells me both Bobby Engel, the lead agent, and the presidential limousine/SUV driver are prepared to testify under oath that neither man was assaulted and that Mr. Trump never lunged for the steering wheel."
Hutchinson was brought in as a surprise witness for a previously unscheduled session of the January 6 Committee to provide testimony on former President Donald Trump's actions during the Capitol riot. Reporting previously emerged that Hutchinson was looking to work for Trump as he re-entered private life at his Florida Mar-a-Lago residence.
Hutchinson, had previously given three interviews to the committee's investigators prior to Tuesday’s appearance, where she recounted a story she was told second-hand, about a limo ride during which Trump allegedly became "irate," and said "something to the effect of 'I'm the effing President, take me up to the Capitol now.'"
She continued her hearsay testimony by claiming that a man in the car told Trump they had to go back to the West Wing. She claimed she was told that Trump "reached up toward the front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel. Mr. Engel grabbed his arm, and said 'sir, you need to take your hand off the steering wheel, we're going back to the West Wing, we're not going to the Capitol.'"
Hutchinson then testified under oath that she was told that "Mr. Trump then used his free hand to lunge toward Bobby Engel." The person who recounted this to her, she said, "motioned towards his clavicles."
Hutchinson claimed Anthony Ornato, a senior Secret Service official who was detailed to the White House and served as deputy chief of operations, told her the story of the incident.
CNN correspondent Shimon Prokupecz posted on Twitter that "a Secret Service official familiar with the matter told CNN that Tony Ornato denies telling Cassidy Hutchinson that the former president grabbed the steering wheel or an agent on his detail."
Hutchinson also testified that she was told the incident occurred in "The Beast," the nickname for the presidential limo, yet Trump was shown travelling in an SUV the day of the riot, in footage shown by the Jan. 6 Committee.
Washington Post reporter Josh Dawsey posted on Twitter that the "committee has Secret Service testimony that would seemingly corroborate or dispute what Cassidy Hutchinson said today, but it wasn’t played."
Trump posted to Truth Social and contradicted her testimony, saying Hutchinson's "Fake story that I tried to grab the steering wheel of the White House Limousine in order to steer it to the Capitol Building is 'sick' and fraudulent, very much like the Unselect Committee itself - Wouldn't even have been possible to do such a ridiculous thing. her story of me throwing food is also false...and why would SHE has to clean it up, I hardly knew who she was?"
Executive editorial producer for ABC News John Santucci reported following the testimoney before the committee that the Secret Service is expected to deny Hutchinson’s claims.
Engel and an unnamed Secret Service agent, reportedly the driver of the SUV, are prepared to testify before the Jan. 6 committee that Trump didn't lunge at the steering wheel. According to Fox News, the secret Service and the Jan. 6 committee are in discussions about whether one or both men will appear on camera.
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