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Trump tried to drive himself to Capitol on Jan. 6: Cassidy Hutchinson

Trump tried to drive himself to Capitol on Jan 6


Donald Trump grabbed the wheel of the presidential limo on Jan. 6, 2021, in a bid to join supporters marching on the Capitol to challenge the election results — and then reached for the neck of a Secret Service agent who told him he had to return to the White House, according to testimony given Tuesday by a former aide.

Cassidy Hutchinson, who worked for Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows, relayed the shocking anecdote in testimony to the House select committee investigating the riot in which Trump’s supporters disrupted certification of President Biden’s election victory.

Secret Service agent Bobby Engel halted an “irate” Trump’s attempt to steer the Beast toward the Capitol to join thousands of his supporters marching from near the White House, where Trump addressed a large crowd to claim the election was “stolen” from him, Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson testified that immediately after returning to the West Wing from Trump’s speech, White House deputy chief of staff for operations Tony Ornato told her about a clash inside the Beast involving Engel and Trump.

“When I returned to the White House, I walked upstairs towards the chief of staff’s office and I noticed Mr. Ornato lingering outside of the office. Once we made eye contact, he quickly waved me to go into his office, which was just across the hall from mine,” she said.

Former President Donald Trump attempted to grab the wheel of his limo to drive himself to the Capitol building on January 6, according to former aide Cassidy Hutchinson.
AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File
Hutchinson testified that White House deputy chief of staff for operations Tony Ornato told her about the incident between Trump and Secret Service agent Bobby Engel inside of the "Beast" vehicle.
Hutchinson testified that White House deputy chief of staff for operations Tony Ornato told her about the incident between Trump and Secret Service agent Bobby Engel inside of the “Beast” vehicle.
Photo by Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images

“When I went in and he shut the door, I noticed Bobby Engel, who was the head of Mr. Trump security detail, sitting in a chair looking somewhat discombobulated or at a loss.

“I looked at Tony, and he said, ‘Did you f—ing hear what happened in the Beast?’” Hutchinson went on. “He proceeded to tell me that when the president got in the Beast, he was under the impression from Mr. Meadows that the off the record movement to the Capitol was still possible or likely to happen and that Bobby had more information.”

Nobody had told Trump that the Secret Service determined it wasn’t possible to go to the Capitol, the aide explained.

Engel reportedly told Trump that he couldn't be brought to the Capitol building despite his demands because it wasn't "secure."
Engel reportedly told Trump that he couldn’t be brought to the Capitol building despite his demands because it wasn’t “secure.”
REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo

“So when 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, we 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 and very angry response to that,” Hutchinson said.

“Tony described him as being irate. The president said to him something to the effect of, ‘I’m the f—ing president, take me up to the Capitol now.’ To which Bobby responded, ‘Sir, we have to go back to the West Wing.’ He then reached up front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel. Mr. Engel grabbed his arm, he 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. Mr. Trump then used his free hand to lunge towards Bobby Engel.”

Trump was impeached by the House for allegedly inciting the riot shortly before he left office, but he was acquitted by the Senate in a 57-43 vote that fell short of the 2/3 needed for conviction. He’s teasing a potential 2024 rematch against Biden.

Trump allegedly grabbed the steering wheel of the vehicle in an attempt to drive to the Capitol after his speech.
Trump allegedly grabbed the steering wheel of the vehicle in an attempt to drive to the Capitol after his speech.
Reuters

Trump said last year in an interview with the Washington Examiner’s David Drucker that he would have been able to keep his supporters from committing acts of violence had he been allowed to join the march.

“I wanted to go down with the crowd. I said I was going to go down with the crowd. But they wouldn’t let me go,” Trump told Drucker. “I think if I did go down there, I would have stopped the people from doing anything bad.”

In his pre-riot speech, Trump called on thousands of supporters to “fight like hell” to persuade Republicans to reject swing-state electors for Biden, but he also called on them to do so “peacefully and patriotically.”

Trump denied Hutchinson's testimony in a post on TruthSocial.
Trump denied Hutchinson’s testimony in a post on TruthSocial.
Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Hutchinson also testified that White House counsel Pat Cipollone advocated vigorously against a presidential trip to the Capitol, fearing the president could face criminal charges for inciting a riot or interfering with Congress’ work to certify the election.

“We’re going to get charged with every crime imaginable if we make that happen,” Hutchinson testified that Cipollone told her.

Trump rejected the new testimony in a statement that referred to Hutchinson as a disgruntled former employee.

“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,” Trump wrote in a post on his website TruthSocial.

“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,” the former president alleged. “She is bad news!”



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