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The White House official that reports say is disputing account of Trump's actions on January 6 has a history of lying for him, former aides say

·3 min read
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  • Cassidy Hutchinson said Trump tried to grab the wheel and lunged at Secret Service on January 6, 2021.

  • Tony Ornato, a former White House official, is said to be disputing that account.

  • Two former White House officials said Ornato has a history of lying for Trump to protect him.

The Trump White House official who is said to be disputing Cassidy Hutchinson's explosive testimony has a history of lying for former President Donald Trump, two former White House aides said.

In her testimony to the select committee investigating the Capitol riot, Hutchinson, a former top aide to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, said Trump became "irate" when his Secret Service detail refused to let him join his supporters marching on January 6, 2021.

Citing what she said was a conversation with Tony Ornato, then the White House deputy chief of staff in charge of operations, Hutchinson said that Ornato told her that Trump tried to grab the wheel of the presidential SUV and lunged at the Secret Service agent Robert Engel.

Hutchinson said Ornato told her that Trump shouted, "I'm the effing president, take me to the Capitol now."

Video: Scenes from the Jan. 6 Capitol Riot hearing

But Ornato is said to be disputing that account and plans to say as much in testimony to the January 6 committee, USA Today reported. CNN's Shimon Prokupecz also reported last week, citing an unnamed Secret Service official, that Ornato denied telling Hutchinson that Trump lunged at a Secret Service agent or the steering wheel.

Ornato plans to say that it was true that Trump wanted to join those marching on the Capitol on January 6, but that he never lunged at Engel or tried to grab the steering wheel, USA Today reported.

Similarly, NBC News' Peter Alexander reported that Engel is prepared to testify under oath that he wasn't assaulted by Trump, and that the former president never lunged for the steering wheel.

But the former White House officials Olivia Troye and Alyssa Farah Griffin criticized Ornato, saying he has a history of lying for Trump.

"There seems to be a pattern here of conversations that happen that are inconvenient conversations for Tony and then he comes back and says that they never happened," Troye, who served as a homeland security and counterterrorism advisor to Vice President Mike Pence, told USA Today.

"That really speaks to Tony's character and credibility, and whether he has a history of doing [Trump's] bidding, and then denying it to protect him," she added.

And Griffin, a former Trump White House communications director, tweeted on June 29: "Tony Ornato lied about me too. During the protests at Lafayette sq in 2020, I told Mark Meadows & Ornato they needed to warn press staged there before clearing the square. Meadows replied: 'we aren't doing that.'"

"Tony later lied & said the exchange never happened. He knows it did," she wrote.

Hutchinson told the January 6 hearings that Trump wanted to join his supporters marching on the Capitol on January 6 because he wanted to give a second speech outside the complex. The mob had marched on the Capitol immediately after Trump spoke at a rally at the nearby Ellipse.

A former Secret Service agent previously told Insider's Nicole Gaudiano that it would be extremely hard for Trump to grab the wheel of the presidential SUV, given his size.

"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.

"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," the agent continued.

Representatives for Trump did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

Read the original article on Business Insider