ABC, NBC News: U.S. Secret Service to dispute Cassidy Hutchinson Jan. 6 account, sources say Trump did not attack agent or reach for wheel
The reports surfaced quickly after Cassidy’s damning testimony and after the U.S. Secret Service released a statement saying that its agents will testify before the Jan 6. House select committee
June 29, 2022 8:35am
Updated: June 29, 2022 1:16pm
Sources to major mainstream news outlets such as ABC and NBC News are suggesting that the U.S. Secret Service is prepared to dispute West Wing staffer Cassidy Hutchinson’s Tuesday testimony that former President Donald Trump assaulted an agent while reaching for the steering wheel in a limousine after his Jan. 6 rally.
The reports surfaced quickly after Cassidy’s testimony and after the U.S. Secret Service released a statement saying that its agents will testify before the Jan 6. House Select Committee.
Hutchinson, an aide to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows testified before the committee on Tuesday that while working on Jan. 6 she was told by others that Trump allegedly assaulted Special Agent Bobby Engel in the presidential limousine and tried to commandeer the car by reaching for the steering wheel after Engel refused to drive him to the U.S. Capitol, which later folded into an explosive riot.
The incident allegedly occurred during the White House motorcade’s trip back to the White House. Trump had just told his base at a Washington Mall rally he would be joining them at the Capitol where Congress was in session to certify Democrat Joe Biden’s electoral victory as president. Trump had told his audience they were going to “peacefully and patriotically” march to the U.S. Capitol and “cheer” for U.S. Senators.
But now reports are surfacing to major mainstream media anchors and top correspondents that Secret Service agents may dispute that account.
“A source close to the Secret Service tells me both Bobby Engel, the lead agent, and the presidential limousine/SUV driver are prepared to testify under oath that neither man was assaulted and that Mr. Trump never lunged for the steering wheel,” tweeted NBC News Chief White House Correspondent Peter Alexander on Tuesday.
ABC News executive producer John Santucci tweeted something similar, writing, “New: Source close to the Secret Service tells [ABC News chief justice correspondent Pierre Thomas] to expect the Secret Service to push back against any allegation of an assault against an agent or President Trump reaching for the steering wheel,” tweeted ABC News executive producer John Santucci.
When testifying, Hutchinson said, “So once the president had gotten into the vehicle with Bobby [Engel], the head of his security detail], 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 a very strong, very angry response to that. Tony described him as being irate. The president said something to the effect of, “I’m the fucking 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.”
Hutchinson then testified that Trump then moved forward from his backseat toward Engel and used his free hand to try and commandeer the steering wheel. She said that when Secret Service official Tony Ornato recounted the story to her, he had motioned towards his clavicles as if Trump had attacked the agent there.
CBS News Congressional Correspondent Scott MacFarlane tweeted that the U.S. Secret Service said in a statement it will respond to Hutchinson’s allegation, and specifically the incident with Trump trying to grab the steering wheel.
“U.S. Secret Service has been cooperating with the Select Committee since its inception in spring 2021, and will continue to do so, including by responding on the record to the Committee regarding the new allegations surfaced in today’s testimony,” said the agency.