The bombshell testimony delivered by Cassidy Hutchison during Tuesday’s surprise Jan. 6 Committee hearing has received pushback on multiple fronts. Secret Service Agents and other individuals are refuting parts of her testimony.
Cassidy Hutchison, the former aide to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, testified that Trump requested his Secret Service detail take him to the Capitol building the day of the riot. When they refused because the area wasn’t secure, the former president became enraged.
According to Hutchison, Trump grabbed the steering wheel and Robert Engel, the lead security detail, allegedly told the president, “Sir, you need to take your hand off the steering wheel.” Hutchinson claimed that Trump then lunged at and assaulted the agent.
Hutchison claimed the information came from White House Deputy Chief of Operation Antony Ornato.
According to CBS News, ABC’s Executive Editorial Producer John Santucci, CNN correspondent Gabby Orr, and NBC’s Peter Alexander, the Secret Service agents involved in this story refute the allegations Hutchison made under oath. They deny the former president assaulted or attacked them or grabbed the steering wheel. However, they did not deny that Trump was furious or demanded to go to the Capitol.
New: Source close to the Secret Service tells @PierreTABC to expect the Secret Service to push back against any allegation of an assault against an agent or President Trump reaching for the steering wheel.
— John Santucci (@Santucci) 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 @joshscampbell. CNN confirms that Ornato & Enger are prepared to testify that neither incident occurred.
— Gabby Orr (@GabbyOrr_) June 29, 2022
🚨 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
Former White House lawyer Eric Herschmann brought further doubt to Hutchinson’s testimony. She claimed she had written the note that Rep. Liz Chaney (D-WY) displayed during the hearing, a message prepared for then-president Trump to read, telling those who entered the Capitol to leave. Herschmann contradicted Hutchison’s claim announcing that he wrote the note during the afternoon of Jan 6.
Hutchison’s credibility weakened as reports surfaced that refuted her claims. On Wednesday, her credibility fell further when Jan. 6 Committee member Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) admitted that Hutchison’s testimony was hearsay without corroborating evidence.
In an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Raskin could offer no corroboration of Hutchinson’s testimony. Tapper pressed the representative on if the two agents had testified, were they interviewed, urging the Raskin for an answer, “Do you have any corroborating evidence that that story is true or do you only have it from Cassidy Hutchinson?”
CNN’s @jaketapper asks @RepRaskin about corroborating the shocking story, told by ex-aide of Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, about Trump’s physical attack on Secret Service detail to drive to the US Capitol on January 6. pic.twitter.com/z2ul9WvFcc
— CNN (@CNN) June 28, 2022
Raskin only implied it sounded true but encouraged other material witnesses to come forward with information that could prove or disprove Hutchinson’s testimony.
However, CBS News reported that both Ornato and Engel had testified before the committee in the spring of 2021. Their testimonies were behind closed doors, as the committee requested. Recordings of those testimonies are available but not used on Tuesday.