(The Hill) — Former President Donald Trump lunged at his own security detail and at the steering wheel of the presidential vehicle when he was told he could not go to the Capitol to join his supporters on Jan. 6, a former top aide testified Tuesday.
Cassidy Hutchinson, a former White House aide, told the Jan. 6 committee investigating the riot at the Capitol that Trump had been pushing to go to the Capitol after giving a speech on the Ellipse on Jan. 6.
Hutchinson told the committee that then-deputy chief of staff Tony Ornato told her that Trump was “irate” when Robert Engel, the special agent in charge for Secret Service on Jan. 6, told Trump when he got into the presidential limo that going to the Capitol would not be possible.
“The president had a very strong, a very angry response to that,” Hutchinson testified. “Tony described him as being irate. The president said something to the effect of, ‘I’m the effing president, take me up to the Capitol now.’
“To which [Engel] responded, ‘Sir we have to go back to the West Wing,’” Hutchinson continued. “The president reached up towards the front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel. Mr. Engel grabbed his arm, 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,” Hutchinson testified.
Hutchinson told the committee neither Engel nor Ornato disputed the description of what had happened.
Sources say two Secret Service agents are willing to testify that Trump did not lunge at any agents, refuting Hutchinson’s claim. Trump denied the claims, pumping out harsh attacks on Truth Social, the website he created after Twitter banned him following the insurrection.
“I hardly know who this person, Cassidy Hutchinson, is, other than I heard very negative things about her (a total phony and ‘leaker’),” he wrote.
Julia Manchester, NewsNation contributor and national political reporter for The Hill, said the testimony sent shockwaves through Washington.
“The reaction has been shocked and, I think, very much disturbed by what was heard about the lengths Trump allegedly went through to get to the Capitol,” said Manchester.
Trump ultimately did not go to the Capitol with supporters, who went on to breach the building and delay the certification of Joe Biden’s electoral victory. Five people died in connection with, or as a result of, the insurrection. Multiple officers who responded during the rioting have since died by suicide.