Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to Mark Meadows, testified on Tuesday during the House select committee’s investigation into the Capitol insurrection that then-White House deputy chief of staff Tony Ornato said then-President Donald Trump tried to grab the steering wheel inside the presidential limo after learning he was being taken back to the White House and not the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
LIZ CHENEY: Ms. Hutchinson, 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. Ornado 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 was 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 effing 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 effing 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. Ornado had recounted the story to me, he had motioned towards his clavicles.
LIZ CHENEY: And was Mr. Engel in the room as Mr. Ornado told you this story?
CASSIDY HUTCHINSON: He was.
LIZ CHENEY: Did Mr. Engel correct or disagree with any part of this story for Mr. Ornado?
CASSIDY HUTCHINSON: Mr. Engel did not correct or disagree with any part of the story.
LIZ CHENEY: Did Mr. Engel or Mr. Ornado ever after that tell you that what Mr. Ornado had just said was untrue?
CASSIDY HUTCHINSON: Neither Mr. Ornado nor Mr. Engel told me ever that it was untrue.