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Trump's 'girth would prevent him from actually getting to the steering wheel' of his SUV, former Secret Service agent says: 'I don't see this president ever being able to do that. Ever.'

·3 min read
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  • A past White House aide said Trump lunged for the steering wheel of his SUV and an agent on Jan. 6.

  • Former Secret Service agents questioned the account in interviews with Insider.

  • One said Trump's "girth would prevent him from actually getting to the steering wheel."

Then-President Donald Trump would have had to squeeze through an "extremely tight" space to be able to grab the steering wheel of an SUV and lunge at a Secret Service agent, as a former White House aide, Cassidy Hutchinson, testified Tuesday.

It wouldn't be impossible, one former Secret Service agent said, but it would be unlikely that the 6-foot-3, nearly 250-pound Trump, who the agent noted is "not the most agile human being," could pull off the move.

"Trump's not a little guy, right? And the space to actually be able to lunge towards the wheel is not that big," the former agent said, speaking on background to Insider. "I don't mean to sound disparaging to the former president, but just his girth would prevent him from actually getting to the steering wheel."

Hutchinson's recounting of the SUV incident was one of the most explosive allegations during an extraordinary day of testimony on Tuesday to the House committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. Hutchinson said she was told the incident occurred when Bobby Engel — the special agent in charge of Trump's security — prevented Trump from joining his supporters at the Capitol. She recounted a description of the incident, which she said was relayed to her shortly afterward by Tony Ornato, the White House deputy chief of staff for operations at the time, and that Engel was in the room.

"The president reached up towards the front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel," she said during her testimony. "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," Hutchinson said, adding that Ornato "motioned towards his clavicles" when recounting the story.

Engel previously told the committee about a disagreement over Trump's desire to go to the Capitol and that they returned to the White House instead, Politico reported last month. But CBS News and NBC News have reported that Secret Service agents are prepared to testify that Trump didn't try to take control of the SUV or lunge at them.

"We have and will continue to make any member of the Secret Service available to the committee," Anthony Guglielmi, a Secret Service spokesperson, told Insider.

Former Secret Service agents questioned the account in interviews with Insider.

"There's just too much gray area to bet the farm on it," Bill Pickle, a former deputy assistant director of the Secret Service, said. "Am I saying it didn't happen? I'm not going to say that, because we all know this guy can be pretty emotional."

The fully armored SUV isn't like a typical Suburban. There are security features separating the front and back seats and jump seats in the back that make the space "extremely tight," the former agent who spoke on background said.

"You have to slightly be a contortionist to get from the back cabin to the front cabin, and the president's not a contortionist," he added.

Agents are trained to move from the front into the back seats quickly in the event of a medical situation. "It's ridiculous. I mean, it's not a pretty sight," the former agent said, adding that it's "hard to believe" the president would do that.

"It's not impossible, right?," the former agent said with a laugh. "I just, I don't see this president ever being able to do that. Ever."

Read the original article on Business Insider