The Jan. 6 House Select Committee opens a window into former President Donald Trump’s motorcade on the day of the attack on the U.S. Capitol, questioning the Secret Service agent who was in the lead car on Friday. January 6 and planning the testimony of Trump’s presidential driver. vehicle as early as next week, multiple sources told CNN.
Friday’s interview, which has not previously been reported, is the fourth with Secret Service agents and officials in five days as the panel continues to focus on the agency.
The quick clip of interviews underscores the committee’s interest in knowing what happened after Trump left his rally at the Ellipse on January 6, 2021 and departed for the White House. Several witnesses previously told the committee that Trump angrily asked to go to the Capitol but his Secret Service detail refused to take him.
The names of the lead car officer in the motorcade testifying Friday and the driver of Trump’s SUV, who was behind the lead car, have not been publicly released.
CNN previously reported that the committee wanted to speak to at least half a dozen Secret Service witnesses. Just this week, the panel interviewed former Vice President Mike Pence’s former security chief Tim Giebels, former Secret Service agent John Gutsmiedl and agency spokesman Anthony Guglielmi.
The House Select Committee declined to comment.
The US Secret Service declined to answer questions about the testimony but reiterated its intention to cooperate fully with the committee.
“We have cooperated fully with the select committee since its inception, because ensuring that a travesty such as the Capitol insurrection can never happen again speaks to the very reason the Secret Service was created and is paramount to our mission to protect democracy and the leaders of the American government. “, the agency said in a statement.
The committee has been investigating Trump’s behavior in his presidential SUV on the day of the attack on the Capitol for months.
Former White House staffer Cassidy Hutchinson testified publicly on June 28 that former Secret Service Deputy Director Tony Ornato, who was in the car with Trump, told him that Trump was so angry that he reached out to the front of the vehicle to grab the steering. with one hand and lunged at Robert Engel, his secret service agent that day, with the other.
“The President reached out to the front of the vehicle to grab the steering wheel. Mr. Engel grabbed his arm, said ‘Sir; you must take your hand off the steering wheel. We are going back to the west wing. We don’t let’s not go to the Capitol. Mr. Trump then used his free hand to lunge at Bobby Engel,” Hutchinson said.
Hutchinson said Ornato told him this “angry” Trump story in his White House office later that day with Engel present. She said Engel “did not correct or disagree with any part of the story.”
Ornato, who left the agency briefly to serve as Trump’s deputy chief of staff, and Engel met with the committee ahead of Hutchinson’s testimony. The committee said it wanted to hear from both again.
Ornato’s attorney, Kate Driscoll, told CNN last week: “Mr. Ornato continues to cooperate with the committee in its investigation.
The committee did not interview the driver of Trump’s presidential vehicle.
CNN previously reported that a Washington, D.C. police officer corroborated the committee’s details regarding a heated exchange Trump had with his Secret Service details when told he couldn’t go to the US Capitol after its rally. The Metropolitan Police Department officer was in the motorcade with the Secret Service for Trump on Jan. 6, the source said.
The committee may also question Secret Service witnesses about efforts to determine whether Trump could be taken to Capitol Hill.
Guglielmi told CNN in June that after Trump urged supporters to march with him to the Capitol during his Jan. 6 speech, the agency asked the Metropolitan Police Department to determine if a motorcade route would be possibly, to no avail.
“Secret Service personnel assigned to the President’s details told administration officials that proposed travel plans to visit the Capitol on January 6 would not be feasible,” Guglielmi said.
This story has been updated with additional details.
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