Mr Trump and his allies claim the altercation never happened but multiple sources now confirm ex-White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony
The story of an altercation between former president Donald Trump and members of his Secret Service detail on the day of the January 6 attack on the US Capitol was widely repeated and discussed by Secret Service agents and other law enforcement officials when it happened, according to multiple reports.
According to CNN, two sources with the Secret Service say they heard about the incident described by ex-Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson in bombshell testimony before the House January 6 select committee on Tuesday. During the reported episode, Mr Trump berated the head of his protective detail, Robert Engel, and the driver of his armoured SUV, after he was told he could not go to the US Capitol to join the riotous mob he had summoned to Washington that day
Those sources told the network they heard of an “angry confrontation” between Mr Trump and his bodyguards stemming from their refusal to transport the president to the Capitol. Their accounts reportedly “align” with what Ms Hutchinson told the select committee.
On Tuesday, the ex-White House aide said Mr Engel and then-White House deputy chief of staff Tony Ornato, himself a Secret Service agent, informed her that Mr Trump had shouted “I’m the f***ing President of the United States” and demanded to be driven to the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, where an armed mob of his supporters was assaulting police officers and breaching security defences in hopes of preventing Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s 2020 election win.
Ms Hutchinson also said she was told the then-president grabbed the armoured car’s steering wheel and lunged at the throat of Mr Engel when he was told to remove his hand from the wheel.
Since her testimony, multiple sources close to Mr Trump, including those who say they’ve spoken to Mr Ornato, claim he is willing to testify that no such altercation took place.
But one source told CNN they heard Mr Trump “had sort of lunged forward” in anger after being told he could not go where he wanted.
“It was unclear from the conversations I had that he actually made physical contact, but he might have. I don’t know,” the source said. “Nobody said Trump assaulted him; they said he tried to lunge over the seat — for what reason, nobody had any idea”.
Another agent told CNN said he’d been told about Mr Trump verbal outburst but nothing further than that.
Investigative reporter Hunter Walker, who was covering the White House for Yahoo! News during the January 6 attack, took to Twitter to report that another source, this one with the DC Metropolitan Police Department, had told him a similar story to what Ms Hutchinson said.
“Back in April, a law enforcement source told me that they heard DC Metropolitan Police officers affiliated with the presidential motorcade share a story of Trump demanding to be drive to the Capitol and getting into an altercation with Secret Service on January 6,” he wrote. “I heard this story months before Cassidy Hutchinson went public with these allegations. I believed the story to be credible at the time because of the source”.