Trump tried to grab steering wheel, lunged at head of security after he was told he couldn’t go to the Capitol on Jan. 6, former Meadows aide says

In gorgeous testimony delivered Tuesday at the sixth public listening to on the Capitol assault, Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to Trump White House chief of employees Mark Meadows, stated recounted listening to about how President Trump tried to grab the steering wheel of the presidential automobile and lunged at his head of security after he was told he couldn’t go to the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. 

Hutchinson stated that after Trump delivered his speech to the crowed at the Ellipse that day, she returned to the White House and noticed Anthony Ornato, a senior Secret Service official who was detailed to the White House and served as deputy chief of operations. Ornato pulled her into his office, the place Trump’s head of security at the time, Robert Engel, was sitting in a chair trying “somewhat discombobulated and a little lost,” she stated. 

She stated Ornato told her that when Trump entered “The Beast” — the president’s closely armored SUV limousine — he nonetheless believed it will be doable for him to go to the Capitol. But when Engel told him they couldn’t for security causes, Trump had “a very strong, very angry response,” she stated she was told. 

“The president said something to the effect of, ‘I’m the effing president, take me up to the Capitol now,'” she stated. 

When told that would not be doable, Trump “reached up towards the front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel,” she stated Ornato told her. 

Engel then grabbed his arm and stated, “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,” she stated. 

In response, she stated, Mr. Trump then used his free hand to lunge in the direction of Engel, noting that when Ornato told her the story, he “motioned towards his clavicles.” 

Hutchinson told the committee that Engel didn’t right or dispute something Ornato stated. 

January 6th Committee Holds Surprise Hearing
Cassidy Hutchinson, former aide to Trump White House chief of employees Mark Meadows, testifies at a listening to of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January sixth Attack on the U.S. Capitol, on Tuesday, June 28, 2022. 

BRANDON BELL / Getty Images

After the listening to, the Secret Service launched a press release that stated it supposed to reply to Hutchinson’s testimony. “The United States Secret Service has been cooperating with the Select Committee since its inception in spring 2021, and will continue to do so, including by responding on the record to the Committee regarding the new allegations surfaced in today’s testimony,” U.S. Secret Service spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi stated in a press release to CBS News.

A supply shut to the Secret Service confirmed to CBS News that Engel and the driver are ready to testify beneath oath that neither man was bodily attacked or assaulted by Trump and that the former president by no means lunged for the steering wheel of the automobile. 

They don’t dispute that Trump was irate or that he demanded to be taken to the Capitol, in the language that Hutchinson associated to the committee.

The committee additionally performed recorded testimony from then-White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who stated that after returning to the White House, Trump nonetheless tried to go to the Capitol. 

“I believe when we got back to the White House, he said he wanted to physically walk with the marchers,” McEnany stated. “According to my notes, he then said he would be fine with just riding in the Beast. To the best of my recollection, he wanted to a be part of the march in some fashion.”  

Hutchinson’s testimony about what transpired in the automobile is one of many revelations that emerged throughout the listening to. Hutchinson additionally stated Trump knew that some members of the crowd at his rally at the Ellipse, forward of the Capitol riot, had weapons and different weapons, however stated he did not care and needed them to be let into his rally anyway.

She testified that Trump stated “something to the effect of, ‘I don’t effing care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me. Take the effing mags away. Let my people in. They can march the Capitol from here. Let the people in. Take the effing mags away.” 

Trump responded to Hutchinson’s testimony on his social media startup, Truth Social. 

“I hardly know who this person, Cassidy Hutchinson, is, other than I heard very negative things about her (a total phony and “leaker”),” he wrote. 

He additionally addressed the alleged automobile incident immediately, calling it each “Fake” and “‘sick’ and fraudulent.” 

“Wouldn’t even have been possible to do such a ridiculous thing,” Trump added.

Separately, Trump stated, “The woman, who was a BIG Trump fan long AFTER January 6th (if her Fake Stories were true, why would she want to be?), was let go and not wanted in Florida, so she made up phony and completely outrageous stories, the craziest of which has already been proven to be a complete lie. The Secret Service said, according to the Media, it wasn’t true. Wow! She has now lost all credibility, just like the partisan Witch Hunt perpetuated by the Unselect Committee of political hacks. MAGA!” 

Nicole Sganga contributed to this report.

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