Secret Service to respond to Jan. 6 committee regarding Trump’s actions

The U.S. Secret Service will have more to say to the Jan. 6 House select committee after former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony Tuesday regarding former President Trump’s actions related to Jan. 6, 2021. In a hearing announced at the last minute, she told the committee of Trump’s desire to go to the Capitol with his supporters while Congress was in a joint session counting the electoral ballots.

“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,” Secret Service spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi said in a statement to CBS News.

Hutchinson testified before the committee that she spoke with White House deputy chief of staff for operations Tony Ornato in a room with Robert Engel, the Secret Service special agent in charge on Jan. 6. According to Hutchinson, during the meeting, Ornato conveyed that the president became “irate” in his vehicle when he was told that he could not go to the Capitol. He said something to the effect of “I’m the f***ing president, take me up to the Capitol now,” Hutchinson said.  

When informed that he had to return to the West Wing, Trump reached up to the front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel, prompting Engel to grab his arm, Hutchinson said she was told by Ornato. 

The president then used his free hand to lunge towards Engel, she said, noting that Ornato “motioned towards his clavicles” when describing the incident. Hutchinson added that Engel did not correct or disagree with any part of what Ornato said.

However, a source close to the Secret Service confirmed to CBS News that Engel and the driver are prepared to testify under oath that neither man was physically attacked or assaulted by Trump and that the former president never lunged for the steering wheel of the vehicle. 

The Secret Service officials do not dispute that Trump was irate or that he demanded to be taken to the Capitol, in the language that Hutchinson related to the committee.

The Secret Service has provided dozens of hours of testimony to the Jan. 6 committee so far, dating back to spring 2021.

According to the source close to the agency, both Ornato and Engel have appeared before the committee on the record and behind closed doors, at the committee’s request. Those sessions were recorded, but not used in Tuesday’s hearing.

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