Two Secret Service agents and another Trump-era White House aide have all reportedly denied the shocking allegations made against former President Donald Trump on Tuesday by former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson.
Speaking before the Jan. 6th committee, Hutchinson, who’d served as former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows’ top aide, testified that after the riot nearly two years ago, another aide, Tony Ornato, told her that the then-president had essentially attacked two of his own Secret Service agents.
Ornato allegedly told her that as the two agents, lead agent Robert Engel and the unnamed driver, were driving Trump back to the White House following the “Stop the Steal” rally, he demanded they take him to the Capitol, where at the time the Jan. 6th riot was underway.
The agents refused, noting that the Capitol wasn’t secure, and this allegedly outraged the then-president.
“Tony described him as being ‘irate.’ The president said something to the effect of ‘I’m the f–king president, take me up to the Capitol now,’ to which Bobby [lead agent Robert Engel] responded, ‘Sir, we have to go back to the West Wing,'” Hutchinson claimed Tuesday.
The then-president then allegedly tried to reach for the steering wheel and attacked his own agents.
“The President reached up towards the front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel. Mr. Engel grabbed his arm, 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.’ Mr. Trump then used his free hand to lunge towards Bobby Engel, and when Mr. Ornato had recounted this story to me, he had motioned towards his clavicles,” she continued.
Hutchinson’s testimony has since gone uber-viral among Democrats and the establishment press, both of whom are now convinced that they’ve finally uncovered the elusive smoking gun needed to once and for all take down Trump:
Cassidy Hutchinson arrived at today’s hearing with a smoking gun that she handed over to the committee.
— Adam Parkhomenko (@AdamParkhomenko) June 28, 2022
Now I understand why folks have real concerns about Cassidy Hutchinson’s safety.
She’s an incriminating, smoking gun witness against Trump and the @GOP coup plot to end our democracy.
— Fernand R. Amandi (@AmandiOnAir) June 28, 2022
Today’s testimony by Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to President Donald J. Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, before the January 6 commission, provided “the smoking gun” that could see Donald Trump tried for seditious conspiracy, @peterbakernyt reports for @nytimes. pic.twitter.com/UcCPGhCHTX
— Benjamin Ryan (@benryanwriter) June 28, 2022
But as is almost always the case, there’s a gigantic catch.
All three individuals whom Hutchinson cited — the two Secret Service agents and Ornato — are now denying the veracity of her claims.
“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,” ABC News’ Peter Alexander reported late Tuesday.
That’s strike one.
🚨 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.
— Peter Alexander (@PeterAlexander) June 28, 2022
“Tony Ornato is denying that he told Cassidy Hutchinson Trump grabbed the steering wheel in presidential vehicle on 1/6 or lunged at a fellow agent, a USSS official tells [CNN],” CNN’s Gabby Orr reported two hours later.
That’s strike two.
Tony Ornato is denying that he told Cassidy Hutchinson Trump grabbed the steering wheel in presidential vehicle on 1/6 or lunged at a fellow agent, a USSS official tells @joshscampbell. CNN confirms that Ornato & Enger are prepared to testify that neither incident occurred.
— Gabby Orr (@GabbyOrr_) June 29, 2022
“Here’s the thing. The committee has Secret Service testimony that would seemingly corroborate or dispute what Cassidy Hutchinson said today, but it wasn’t played. Unclear why,” according to The Washington Post’s Josh Dawsey.
“Engel and Ornato have both testified to the committee behind closed doors, but their statements were not used in Tuesday’s hearing,” according to CNN.
It’s possible the statements they’ve already made and that the committee has purposefully chosen to cover up already debunk Hutchinson’s narrative.
That’s strike three.
Here’s the thing. The committee has Secret Service testimony that would seemingly corroborate or dispute what Cassidy Hutchinson said today, but it wasn’t played. Unclear why.
— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) June 28, 2022
And lastly, former President Trump has himself denied the allegations.
“Her 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 have to clean it up, I hardly knew who she was?” he wrote on Truth Social.
The part about food was a reference to another dubious accusation made by Hutchinson.
What now remains unclear is whether the committee will unseal the Secret Service agents’ closed-door testimony and/or let them, in addition to Ornato, testify publicly.
As noted by critics, this may prove to be the “smoking gun” — but not the “smoking gun” that takes out Trump. Instead, it may be the “smoking gun” that once and for all destroys the already tarnished credibility of the Jan. 6th committee …
A real test of the January 6 committee whether they call Tony Ornato, Engel and others to testify – we’ll see if they’re interested in the truth, or simply in furthering a narrative. https://t.co/Px6B5CiW4Y
— Steve Krakauer (@SteveKrak) June 29, 2022
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