Cassidy Hutchins, a former top aide to Donald Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows, testified on June 28 that she’d been told the president lunged to grab the steering wheel of his limousine from a Secret Service agent during the events of January 6.
Hutchinson said that Anthony Ornato, then White House chief of operations, relayed the incident to her while in the presence of the head of Trump’s Secret Service, Robert Engel. Ornato told Hutchins that after Trump’s speech at the Ellipse in Washington on January 6, the president wanted to drive to the Capitol, but was rebuffed by the Secret Service.
“The president said something to the effect of ’I’m the effing president, take me up to the Capitol now,’” Hutchinson testified. “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 our hand off the steering wheel. We’re going back to the West Wing. We’re not going to the Capitol.’”
“Mr Trump then used his free hand to lunge towards Bobby Engel,” said Hutchinson, who added that Ornato had “motioned towards his clavicles” when recounting the story to her. Credit: January 6th Committee via Storyful
LIZ CHENEY: When you returned to the White House in the motorcade after the president's speech, where did you go?
CASSIDY HUTCHINSON: When I returned to the White House, I walked upstairs towards the chief of staff's office. And I noticed Mr. Ornato lingering outside of the office. Once we had made eye contact, he quickly waved me to go into his office, which was just across the hall from mine.
When I went in, he shut the door, and I noticed Bobby Engel, who is the head of Mr. Trump's security detail, sitting in a chair, just looking somewhat discombobulated and a little lost. I looked at Tony and he had said, did you f'ing hear what happened in the beast?
I said, no, Tony, I just got back. What happened? Tony proceeded to tell me that when the President got in the beast, he was under the impression from Mr. Meadows that the off the record movement to the Capitol was still possible and likely to happen, but that Bobby had more information.
So once the President had gotten into the vehicle with Bobby, he thought that they were going up to the Capitol. And when Bobby had relayed to him, we're not, we don't have the assets to do it, it's not secure, we're going back to the West Wing, the President had very strong-- a very angry response to that.
Tony described him as being irate. 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 to the Capitol. Mr. Trump then used his free hand to lunge towards Bobby Engel and when Mr. Ornato had recounted this story to me, he had motioned towards his clavicles.
LIZ CHENEY: And was Mr. Engel in the room as Mr. Ornato told you this story?
CASSIDY HUTCHINSON: He was.
LIZ CHENEY: Did Mr. Engel correct or disagree with any part of the story for Mr. Ornato?
CASSIDY HUTCHINSON: Mr. Engel did not correct or disagree with any part of the story?
LIZ CHENEY: Did Mr. Engel or Mr. Ornato ever after that tell you that what Mr. Ornato had just said was untrue?
CASSIDY HUTCHINSON: Neither Mr. Ornato nor Mr. Engel told me ever that it was untrue.