What The Secret Service Has To Say About Donald Trump's Alarming Behavior On January 6

The congressional hearings on the events of January 6, 2021, are painting a highly unflattering portrait of Donald Trump. The evidence presented to the committee strongly suggests that Trump's allies knowingly participated in an illegal plot to overturn the 2020 election (per The Washington Post). Then, when a mob of angry protesters forcibly stormed the U.S. Capitol building, evidence suggests that Trump deliberately refused to take control of the situation. Newly released January 6 texts to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows from House members, media reps, and even the former president's son Donald Trump Jr., shows the fear and desperation of supporters waiting for their leader to quell the violence (via CNN). 

The sixth hearing on June 28, 2022, brought more bombshell testimony from former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson. She explained to the committee that her loyalty to Trump was tested as she witnessed his fury over the results of the 2020 election and his staff's inability to prove voter fraud. Hutchinson recalled entering the West Wing dining room just in time to see a ketchup-splattered wall and a shattered plate, the result of Trump's throwing his lunch off the table (per HuffPost). But it was her testimony on the events of January 6 that is getting the most attention — and some pushback from the people involved.

A president, a steering wheel, and a lot of questions

Cassidy Hutchinson testified before the January 6 committee about a conversation she had with Tony Ornato, a prominent official of the Secret Service. Per Newsweek, she claimed Ornato told her that when Donald Trump learned he was being driven back to the White House after his rally on the Ellipse, he became irate and demanded to go to the Capitol to join the protesters. Bobby Engel, the head of Trump's security detail, refused, and Hutchinson said the president then "lunged forward," trying to grab the steering wheel of the vehicle with one hand and reaching for Engel's neck with the other.

Trump and his family rushed to perform damage control. On his Truth Social media platform, the former president called Hutchinson's account a "fake story," adding that it was "'sick' and fraudulent" (via Reuters). Kimberly Guilfoyle, his soon-to-be daughter-in-law, laughed at the notion of the president being able to reach the steering wheel from his spot in the back seat. In a tweet, she gave Trump a brand new nickname: "Is Trump the #MAGANinja or no?"

Former first son Donald Trump Jr., who is engaged to Guilfoyle, agreed. On his own Twitter feed, he remarked, "If he actually did what she said, I'd be even more impressed. That was some Jason Bourne level s***."

Will the key witnesses testify against Donald Trump?

Following Cassidy Hutchinson's alarming claims that Donald Trump tried to forcibly steer his presidential SUV toward the Capitol insurrection, the key witnesses may be offering their own accounts to the January 6 congressional committee. Fox News spoke to an anonymous source who claims that Tony Ornato, the former Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, was "shocked" when Hutchinson cited him as the source of her allegations. The source adds that neither he nor Bobby Engel, the head of Trump's Secret Service detail, ever told Hutchinson that Trump had reached for the steering wheel or tried to assault Engel.

Both Ornato and Engel have previously offered testimony in private sessions with the committee, but are apparently willing to speak again. ABC News White House reporter Ben Siegel tweeted a statement from the Secret Service's chief of communications: "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."

Not all respondents are impressed with the announcement. Some wonder why so much attention is being paid to an anonymous source. Hugo Lowell, who is covering the hearings for The Guardian, also noted in part, "Just incredible that this Trump-Secret Service altercation story is distracting from the major news that Trump knowingly told armed supporters to march on the Capitol."