Two key figures from the Secret Service mentioned in the Jan. 6 committee hearing on Tuesday have already testified to investigators on the panel, but questions remain about what they have said behind closed doors.
Bobby Engel, who was head of former President Donald Trump’s security detail, and Tony Ornato, the White House deputy chief of staff for operations, previously spoke to the House select committee, NBC News reported.
Cassidy Hutchinson, who was an assistant to chief of staff Mark Meadows, testified on Tuesday in a public hearing that she heard from Ornato that Trump grabbed at the steering wheel and lunged at Engel when told on Jan. 6 after his speech on the Ellipse that they could not head to the Capitol.
When Ornato recounted the story, Hutchinson said Engel, who was in the room, did not dispute any of it. Trump reacted on Truth Social, calling it a “fake story.”
After the hearing, CNN’s Jake Tapper interviewed Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), a member of the Jan. 6 committee, and also said that Engel and Ornato have been interviewed by the committee. Raskin said he was not involved in either interview and claimed he does not know if either one was asked about this incident.
The congressman also stressed that he is not aware of anything that contradicts Hutchinson’s testimony and that witnesses are “free” to come back and add more testimony.
Tapper was joined by Washington Post reporter Josh Dawsey in raising questions about Secret Service testimony.
“Here’s the thing. The committee has Secret Service testimony that would seemingly corroborate or dispute what Cassidy Hutchinson said today, but it wasn’t played. Unclear why,” he tweeted.
The Secret Service released a statement after the hearing on Tuesday. “The United States 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,” the statement says.
Engel and the driver of the SUV who gave Trump a ride back to the White House from the rally on Jan. 6 are prepared to testify under oath that “neither man was assaulted and that Mr. Trump never lunged for the steering wheel,” NBC News reporter Peter Alexander tweeted, citing a source close to the Secret Service. And Ornato “denies telling Cassidy Hutchinson that the former president grabbed the steering wheel or an agent on his detail,” CNN’s Shimon Prokupecz tweeted, citing a Secret Service official.
Jody Hunt, a lawyer who is representing Hutchinson, tweeted: “Ms. Hutchinson testified, under oath, and recounted what she was told. Those with knowledge of the episode also should testify under oath.”