Former President Donald Trump dismissed the ex-White House aide who testified before the partisan Jan. 6 committee on Tuesday as “a total phony and leaker” after she alleged that he tried to grab the steering wheel, and lunged at a Secret Service agent in rage when he was told that he would not be driven to the Capitol following his speech at the Jan. 6 rally.
Trump wrote on his platform Truth Social that Cassidy Hutchinson, who served under former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, “is bad news!”
In her testimony, Hutchinson described a conversation she allegedly had with Tony Ornato, White House deputy chief of staff for operations, and Bobby Engel, who led Trump’s security detail, at the White House following Trump’s speech at the Ellipse. The president had told rallygoers that he would be marching to the Capitol with them as Congress was completing its formal tally of the 2020 election results.
“I looked at Tony, and he had said, ‘did you f-ing hear what happened in the Beast?'” Hutchinson said, using the nickname for the White House vehicle. “I said, ‘no Tony, I just got back, what happened?’ Tony proceeded to tell me that when the president got in the Beast, he was under the impression that the off-the-record movement to the Capitol was still possible, and likely to happen, but that Bobby had more information.”
“So once the president had gotten into the vehicle with Bobby, he thought that they were going up to the Capitol, and when Bobby had relayed to him, ‘we’re not, you don’t have the assets to do it, it’s not secure, we’re going back to the West Wing,’ the president had a very strong, very angry response to that,” she testified.
Hutchinson said Trump was described “as being irate.”
Trump “said something to the effect of, ‘I’m the f-ing president, take me up to the Capitol now,'” Hutchinson testified. “To which Bobby responded, ‘sir, we have to go back to the West Wing.’ The president reached up towards the front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel. Mr. Engel grabbed his arm and said ‘sir, you need to take your hand off the steering wheel, we’re going back to the West Wing. We’re not going to the Capitol.'”
She added that Trump “then used his free hand to lunge towards Bobby Engel, and when Mr. Ornato had recounted this story to me, he had motioned toward his” collarbone.
“I am the effing president, take me up to the Capitol now.”
Cassidy Hutchinson says Trump reached to grab the steering wheel when his security detail refused to take him to the Capitol — and lunged at his clavicle. pic.twitter.com/X6UQZvf1iT
— Axios (@axios) June 28, 2022
[Engel and the White House limo driver both refute Hutchinson’s claims. See update below.]
Cheney, the vice-chair of the committee, noted that physical altercation was not the only time Trump “had become very angry about issues relating to the election.” She said Hutchinson was present when Trump found out on Dec. 1, 2020, that then-Attorney General William Barr had said in an interview that the Department of Justice was not aware of any voter fraud that would have changed the results of the presidential election.
Hutchinson then testified that soon after The Associated Press article went live, she heard a noise come from down the hallway at the White House. She said she went into the dining room to see what happened and that she saw “ketchup dripping down the wall and a shattered porcelain plate on the floor.” Hutchinson added that staff was also changing the tablecloth off the dining room table.
Hutchinson said it was her understanding that the mess was because Trump was “extremely angry” about Barr’s interview with The Associated Press and “had thrown his lunch against the wall.” She said she grabbed a towel and assisted in the cleanup.
Hutchinson was the committee’s sole witness on Tuesday’s hearing.
Trump blasted her story on his free speech platform Truth Social.
“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,” he wrote. “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!”
Trump blasted Hutchinson’s claim that he tried to grab the steering wheel in the limo, calling it “sick and fraudulent.”
“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,” he said. “Her story of me throwing food is also false…and why would SHE have to clean it up, I hardly knew who she was?”
Trump also refuted the ludicrous claim that he had urged the Secret Service to get rid of magnetometers at his rally ahead of the riot last year so more of his supporters could attend the rally.
“Never complained about the crowd, it was massive. I didn’t want or request that we make room for people with guns to watch my speech,” he wrote. “Who would ever want that? Not me! Besides, there were no guns found or brought into the Capitol Building…So where were all of these guns? But sadly, a gun was used on Ashli Babbitt, with no price to pay against the person who used it!”
Trump wrote that Hutchinson “changed lawyers a couple of days ago,” and her story “totally changed!”
He added: “SHOCKER???”
Mr. Trump called Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wy.) who is vice-chair of the committee, “disgraceful” for neglecting to play the part of his speech where he asked demonstrators to march to the Capitol “peacefully and patriotically.”
In all caps, Trump denied saying that then-Vice President Mike Pence deserved to be hung, and called Hutchinson a third rate social climber.”
“I NEVER SAID, “MIKE PENCE DESERVES IT (to be hung). Another made up statement by a third rate social climber,” he wrote.
He went on to reiterate his belief that the 2020 election was stolen by Joe Biden.
“Will anybody ever be allowed to say that the Election was Rigged and Stolen?” he wrote. “Will the Unselects EVER discuss that our Country is going to hell because of a fraudulent election? How about analyzing the Election Results?”
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) encouraged the former president to sue Hutchinson.
“I hope you sue the little liar,” she posted on Truth Social.
Hutchinson’s story is already unraveling.
Both Engel, the lead agent, and the presidential limousine/SUV driver say they are willing to testify under oath that neither were assaulted and Trump did not lunge for the steering wheel, according to an NBC News source.
🚨 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.
— Peter Alexander (@PeterAlexander) June 28, 2022
Hutchinson appears to have gotten her facts wrong in yet another part of her testimony, according to Mike Davis, the founder of the Article 3 Project.
Hutchinson alleged that former senior Justice Department official Jeff Clark strategized at the White House with former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and with the Trump campaign to object to the 2020 election.
According to Davis, Clark and Giuliani have “never met or communicated.” He said the mistake could be a case of mistaken identity as Giuliani says he did meet with a Justin Clark at the White House.
I have spoken with a well-placed source, and I have a confirmatory email between @washingtonpost and another well-placed source.
So The Washington Post knows Ms. Hutchinson's testimony is not truthful.
When will WaPo report this?
— 🇺🇸 Mike Davis 🇺🇸 (@mrddmia) June 29, 2022
— 🇺🇸 Mike Davis 🇺🇸 (@mrddmia) June 29, 2022