The U.S. Secret Service says it’ll cooperate with the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, after a former White House aide on Tuesday claimed she’d heard that Donald Trump lunged at a driver inside a presidential car and demanded that he be taken to the Capitol.
According to reports, agents are prepared to go before Congress to flatly contradict the aide’s story of an enraged Trump determined to get to the Capitol as a security breach was taking place there.
NBC News chief White House correspondent Peter Alexander tweeted on Tuesday night that two Secret Service staffers are set to testify that Trump neither lunged at the wheel of the presidential vehicle, nicknamed “The Beast,” nor in any way assaulted them in a bid to get them to take him to the Capitol.
As NBC’s Alexander tweeted: “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.”
Their willingness to deny the claims under oath casts further doubt on the testimony offered by Cassidy Hutchinson, a top aide to Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows.
That testimony was already being called into question by Trump on his social media platform, Truth Social.
In her testimony, Hutchinson alleged that Tony Ornato, then-White House deputy chief of staff, conveyed to her that Engel repeatedly told Mr. Trump on their way back to the White House following a Jan. 6 election integrity rally nearby that it was not safe to go to the Capitol.
The former president, according to her version of events, allegedly told him, “I’m the f***ing president” and, “Take me up to the Capitol now,” while reaching for the steering wheel. Engel then allegedly grabbed his arm, and Trump used his other hand to reach for his neck.
The comments were part of broader testimony in which she suggested that Meadows and others at the White House were involved in preparations for the Jan. 6 Capitol attack and aware of the potential for mayhem. The Capitol attack unfolded as hundreds of protesters sought to keep Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 election, a win Trump has repeatedly linked to massive voter fraud.
Trump: She Wanted a Florida job
For his part, Trump has bluntly denied her account, in addition to dubbing the entire select committee inquiry a biased and partisan effort to discredit him and potentially ruin his chances of reclaiming the White House in 2024.
Commenting on his social media platform, Truth Social, he said: “I hardly know who this person, Cassidy Hutchinson, is, other than I heard very negative things about her (a total phony and ‘leaker’), and when she requested to go with certain others of the team to Florida after my having served a full term in office, I personally turned her request down.
“Why did she want to go with us if she felt we were so terrible? I understand that she was very upset and angry that I didn’t want her to go, or be a member of the team. She is bad news!”
He also took the opportunity on Truth Social to lash out once more at the House Jan. 6 probe as a farce: “Her fake story that I tried to grab the steering wheel of the White House limousine in order to steer it to the Capitol Building is ‘sick’ and fraudulent, very much like the Unselect Committee itself — wouldn’t even have been possible to do such a ridiculous thing.”