Anthony M. Ornato, a former Secret Service agent who was an ally to Trump at the federal security agency, has spoken again with the House committee investigating January 6, according to newly available accounts. That panel is working on finalizing its final report as its work slowly draws to a close.
Cassidy Hutchinson (who worked on Donald’s team) infamously told the panel in public testimony about an incident she was told of on the day of the riot by Ornato. According to her telling, Ornato relayed details of an incident in which Trump became physically aggressive with an agent on his security team and the driver for the presidential vehicle amid his outrage over plans for him to head to the Capitol falling apart as the security situation in D.C. deteriorated. Per Secret Service communications obtained by the riot panel, D.C. police declined to block off intersections in the capital for the usage of the president’s motorcade on that fateful afternoon. Presumably, the refusal was connected to the sudden strain local police were under because of responding to the attack on the Capitol. As the chaos unfolded, a Secret Service supervisor also “followed up” to confirm Trump wasn’t going to the Capitol, The New York Times says based on those communications.
Reports previously circulated indicating others including Ornato were contesting details of what Hutchinson told investigators, which she was clear from the get-go was something she didn’t witness firsthand. These disputes centered on whether there was any physical altercation. Although the president of the United States getting into a physical fight with a Secret Service agent obviously has a salacious aspect, it also could further point to Trump’s insistence on getting to the Capitol in what could have turned into yet another example of brazen support for the mob as it attacked scores of police officers and threatened the lives of government officials, staff, and members of the media, among others. It further illustrates his thinking and what he was ready to support for the cause.
Ornato was also involved in a potentially telling incident reported on in a book by two reporters with The Washington Post. He apparently told Keith Kellogg, who was on the then-VP’s staff at the time, that Secret Service agents would be moving Pence to a base outside D.C. for protection — prompting concerns from Kellogg about Trump allies intentionally keeping Pence away from the Capitol and thereby curtailing the ability for the proceedings certifying the presidential election outcome to move forward. Why did Kellogg suspect Ornato and his allies might’ve undertaken such a move? Had there been indications of such in the days or weeks prior? Others who the committee has either recently heard from or was set to hear from this week include former Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway and Robin Vos, a legislative leader in Wisconsin who has faced pressure from Trump this year for the undoing of the state’s most recent presidential election results.