The January 6 committee did not reach out to the United States Secret Service (USSS) before airing claims that former President Donald Trump got into a physical altercation with his security on the day of the Capitol Riot, the service said Wednesday.
Cassidy Hutchinson, who served as a White House aide during the Trump administration, said that senior Secret Service official Anthony Ornato had told her that an angry Trump attacked the head of his detail when agents refused to drive him to the Capitol on January 6, 2021.
She also claimed that Trump tried to grab the steering wheel of the limousine, and that the lead of the security detail, Bobby Engel, told him, “Sir, you need to take your hand off the steering wheel.” At that point, Hutchinson claimed she was told, Trump allegedly lunged at the agent and assaulted him.
The Secret Service was not contacted by the committee about Hutchinson’s claims before the committee aired them as a blockbuster special, Anthony Guglielmi, United States Secret Service Chief of Communications, confirmed to The Daily Wire on Wednesday.
And Hutchinson’s claims appear to have quickly fallen apart.
CNN reported Tuesday that a USSS official said Ornato disputes Hutchinson’s story — and that both Ornato and Trump’s security chief Robert Engel are willing to deny the story. ABC also reported that the Secret Service is prepared to deny the story.
UPDATE: A Secret Service official familiar with the matter told CNN that Tony Ornato denies telling Cassidy Hutchinson that the former president grabbed the steering wheel or an agent on his detail.
— Shimon Prokupecz (@ShimonPro) June 29, 2022
But Guglielmi declined to confirm or deny Hutchinson’s claims to The Daily Wire.
“We will share our first hand account with the Committee, on the record,” he said in an email. “It’s not appropriate for us to make these comments in the media before we have a chance to address members of Congress.”
Trump himself referred to Hutchinson as a “phony social climber” in a post on his social media platform, Truth Social.
“The lies and fabricated stories being told to the partisan Highly Unselect Committee, not only by the phony social climber who got caught yesterday, but by many others, are a disgrace to our, in serious decline, Nation,” the former president said.
“No cross examination, no real Republicans, no lawyers, NO NOTHING,” he continued. “Fake stories and an all Fake Narrative being produced, with ZERO pushback allowed. Unselects should be forced to disband. WITCH HUNT!”
A spokeswoman for Trump directed The Daily Wire to his social media points when asked for comment.
January 6 committee member Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) admitted that Hutchinson’s testimony was only hearsay during a Tuesday CNN interview.
“She did not see it happen,” CNN’s Jake Tapper said to Raskin. “Do you have any corroborating evidence? You have interviewed both Ornato, or the committee has interviewed both Engle and Ornato, two Secret Service agents. Do you have any corroborating evidence that that story is true or do you only have it from Cassidy Hutchinson?”
“Well, um, the story that she told is the evidence that I’m aware of, at least within her story, and I’ve not seen anything to contradict it,” Raskin responded. “And then, of course, it’s corroborated by everything else we know about Donald Trump’s eagerness to not just incite this march and assemble the march and form the march and exhort the people in the march, but also to participate in it, he wanted to go into it.”
January 6 Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) did not immediately respond to requests for comment for this story.