Wednesday 29 June 2022 11:21 PM Secret Service: Jan 6 panel did NOT reach out about claims that Trump 'lunged' ... trends now
The January 6 select committee did not reach out to the Secret Service before sharing explosive testimony on Tuesday from a witness claiming that Donald Trump lunged at a member of his detail on the day of the Capitol attack.
Tony Ornato, the former Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations for Trump, did not tell January 6 investigation witness Cassidy Hutchinson that Trump lunged at an agent while trying to grab the wheel of the presidential SUV, according to a new report.
Anthony Guglielmi, the U.S. Secret Service's chief of communications, told Politico that investigators did not ask any agency personnel to reappear or answer questions in the days before Hutchinson was publicly asked about the incident at Tuesday's hearing.
'[W]e plan on formally responding on the record,' Guglielmi said in an email to the outlet. 'We have and will continue to make any member of the Secret Service available.'
A source close to Ornato told Fox News that one of Hutchinson's most bombshell claims from the latest hearing is not true.
Hutchinson served as deputy for Trump's former chief of staff Mark Meadows before, during and after the January 6 Capitol attack. On Tuesday she appeared before the select committee probing the riot as one of its most important witnesses to date.
During her testimony, Hutchinson said that Ornato briefed her on January 6, 2021 that Trump lunged at his security detail driver when he would not take him to the Capitol on January 6, 2021.
Hutchinson said that Bobby Engel, the top agent on Trump's Secret Service detail, was in the car at the time of the incident and was with Ornato when he relayed the events to her.
The Secret Service's chief of communications says the January 6 committee did not contact them before sharing explosive testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson (pictured) Tuesday that Donald Trump got in a physical altercation with the agent who was driving the presidential SUV on the day of the Capitol attack
A source close with Tony Ornato (left), the former Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations for Trump, told Fox News that he and Bobby Engel (right), the top agent on Trump's Secret Service detail, never told Hutchinson about the alleged wheel-grabbing incident
The source for Fox, however, says Ornato and Engel never told Hutchinson about this alleged altercation.
The two also both have testified to the January 6 committee in private over the last year – in those interviews, neither Engel nor Ornato brought up allegations that Trump tried to grab the steering wheel of The Beast.
Engel and Ornato want to speak with the committee again on the record to refute the claims of a physical altercation with the driver of his presidential SUV, who is unnamed but will also cooperate with the panel, the source told Fox.
Despite the contradicting memories of events, panel member Representative Stephanie Murphy told NBC News' Chuck Todd on Wednesday that when deposing Ornato behind closed doors, he 'did not have as clear of memories from this period of time as I would say Ms. Hutchinson did.'
Hutchinson's testimony to the panel during an impromptu session on Tuesday included detailing an incident where she claims Ornato told her that Trump got physical when he was repeatedly told that the Secret Service could not take him to the Capitol on January 6 last year.
Ornato told Hutchinson, according to her account, that Trump lunged at an agent and tried to grab the wheel of a presidential SUV when agents would not allow that. She also said that the agent grabbed the then-president's arm and Trump then tried to lunge at his neck.
Ornato, according to the source close to him, watched the hearing and was shocked when Hutchinson made the allegation about the steering wheel.
Hutchinson became increasingly cooperative with the committee after hiring a new lawyer this month.
Her testimony to the panel in four separate interviews and willingness to publicly go before them led the panel to schedule a last-minute addition to the hearing schedule on Tuesday.
Part of the reason for the add was over concerns for Hutchinson's safety due to what she knows and what she has shared with investigators.
Trump's ex-lawyer Eric Herschmann said he penned the note that Hutchinson said she wrote on January 6, which was shown as evidence during Tuesday's explosive hearing.
'The handwritten note that Cassidy Hutchinson testified was written by her was in fact written by Eric Herschmann on January 6, 2021,' a spokesperson for Herschmann told ABC News late Tuesday. 'All sources with direct knowledge and law enforcement have and will confirm that it was written by Mr. Herschmann.'
Herschmann reportedly previously told the House select committee on January 6 committee that he had scrawled the note in question.
Herschmann had worked as a lawyer for Trump within the White House, but cooperated with