Jan. 6 Panel Reveals Trump Physically Attacked Secret Service Agent

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Testimony provided Tuesday at a surprise public hearing of the House riot committee by ex-White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson revealed then-President Donald Trump got into a physical altercation with Robert Engel, head of the then-president’s Secret Service detail at the time of the Capitol riot.

On January 6, Trump had been hoping to head to the Capitol, which was a short distance away from where he delivered an earlier speech to a large crowd gathered for a rally in support of false claims of election fraud. However, the trip didn’t work out — Engel sought to get the then-president to head back to the White House instead of the Capitol building. “It’s not secure. We’re going back to the West Wing,” Engel informed Trump after he got in the presidential vehicle after his January 6 rally speech, according to Hutchinson, who worked with then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

Hutchinson was told about what happened in Trump’s vehicle by Anthony Ornato, who worked on security at the White House. Per Hutchinson’s testimony, going off Ornato’s revelations: “The president said something to the effect of, ‘I’m the f’ing president. Take me up to the Capitol now.’ To which Bobby responded, ‘Sir, we have to go back to the West Wing.’ 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 the Capitol.’ Mr. Trump then used his free hand to lunge towards Bobby Engel. When Mr. Ornato had recounted this story to me, he had motioned towards his clavicles.”

Hutchinson herself wasn’t particularly distant from what went down: she was in the presidential motorcade when it traveled from the D.C. rally back to the White House. In addition, Hutchinson heard from Ornato about what occurred the day it happened, which adds, of course, to the credibility of Ornato’s initial account. Engel was there was Ornato initially relayed what happened to Hutchinson, and according to Hutchinson’s testimony — which she offered under oath, meaning she could be charged with perjury for lying — Engel did not at any point dispute what Ornato was saying. Similarly, Ornato never indicated to Hutchinson that anything he’d told Hutchinson about that incident wasn’t actually accurate after all.

According to another portion of Hutchinson’s revelations, Trump was broadly aware the crowd in D.C. was heavily armed on January 6. That revelation suggests Trump didn’t just glibly incite the riot at the Capitol with his speech that day, in which he urged a trek to the building. He did so with apparent knowledge of potentially deadly weapons among the crowd members. “I don’t f’ing care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me,” Trump said on that fateful January 6, according to prior testimony to the committee from Hutchinson. “Take the f’ing [magnetometers] away. Let my people in. They can march to the Capitol from here.” The then-president was discussing the process of letting people into the rally where he spoke. Quotations Hutchinson relayed from other people should no doubt largely be understood as paraphrases rather than direct quotes.

During Tuesday’s proceedings, the committee also shared footage of Hutchinson delivering a previously reported revelation: Trump apparently indicated on the day of the riot he was fine with the chants from members of the crowd to hang then-VP Mike Pence. After then-White House counsel Pat Cipollone brought up the chants, Hutchinson informed investigators as follows: “Mark had responded something to the effect of, ‘You heard him, Pat. He thinks Mike [Pence] deserves it. He doesn’t think they’re doing anything wrong.'” Check out footage of Hutchinson testifying to the committee below: