Tue, 26 Sep 2023

Secret service to comment if Trump attacked agent

30 Jun 2022, 04:13 GMT+10

The former president's guard and driver will both reportedly testify that Trump never lunged for the steering wheel

The US Secret Service said on Tuesday that it will formally respond to claims that former President Donald Trump had attacked an agent and attempted to commandeer his vehicle during the January 6, 2021 riot on Capitol Hill. The allegations were made by an aide to Trump's former chief of staff.

In a statement released after a hearing of the Democrat-led January 6 Committee, the Secret Service said that it has been "cooperating fully with the select committee," and would be "responding formally and on the record to the committee regarding new allegations that surfaced in today's testimony."

According to testimony by Cassidy Hutchinson, who was an aide to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Trump instructed his driver to bring him to the US Capitol after giving a speech to his supporters on January 6, 2021. When his head of security, Bobby Engel, refused, Trump allegedly said "I'm the f**king president, take me up to the Capitol," before he "grab[bed] at the steering wheel" when Engel refused, and "lunged" at his security chief with his free hand.

Hutchinson did not see these events but said that Engel was present when she heard the story from Deputy Chief of Staff Tony Ornato, and that "neither man cast doubt on the story." However, according to the Washington Post, three unnamed members of Trump's security detail that day said that the story is false.

Furthermore, NBC News reported that both Engel and Trump's driver on the day are "prepared to testify under oath that neither man was assaulted and that Mr. Trump never lunged for the steering wheel."

While Hutchinson stated that Trump was traveling in "The Beast," the armored presidential limousine, photos from January 6 show Trump leaving after his speech in an SUV. If Trump had been in "The Beast," he would have been separated from the driver by a pane of bulletproof glass.

Trump himself described Hutchinson's story as "sick and fraudulent," and suggested that she may have been motivated to testify out of grievance that he turned down her request to work with him in Florida after his departure from office.

None of the January 6 Committee's members - five Democrats and two Republicans who have repeatedly criticized the former president - cross-examined Hutchinson's claims.


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