**This is a developing story. Scroll down for updates.**
The lead Secret Service agent in charge of President Trump’s detail on January 6 will reportedly testify that the former president did not try to commandeer his suburban during the riots, thereby contradicting testimony from former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson on Tuesday.
News of the testimony broke on Twitter from Peter Alexander of NBC News, the furthest thing from a Trump ally, who said that a source close to the Secret Service said that agent Bobby Engel will testify.
“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,” he tweeted.
🚨 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
ABC News confirmed as well:
New: Source close to the Secret Service tells @PierreTABC to expect the Secret Service to push back against any allegation of an assault against an agent or President Trump reaching for the steering wheel.
— John Santucci (@Santucci) June 28, 2022
Should the report prove accurate and Bobby Engel’s testimony hold up, it will be a huge blow to the January 6 committee, whose Tuesday star witness, Cassidy Hutchinson, testified that former President Trump literally tried to commandeer the presidential suburban during the January 6 riot and became borderline violent when Bobby Engel tried to stop him. Hutchinson said she learned of the story from Tony Ornato, the White House deputy chief of staff.
“I noticed the head of Mr. Trump’s security detail sitting in a chair, looking somewhat discombobulated, a little lost,” Hutchinson testified. “I looked at Tony, he said, ‘Did you effing hear what happened in the Beast?’ I said, ‘No, Tony, I just got back, what happened?’ Hutchinson continued:
Tony 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 and likely to happen but that Bobby had more information. As 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 that 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, very angry response to that.
Hutchinson further testified that Trump “said something to the effect of, ‘I’m the effing president, take me up to the Capitol now.'”
When Bobby Engel allegedly told Trump that they would be going back to the West Wing, Hutchinson said the former president became borderline violent. Hutchinson said:
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.
“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
News of Bobby Engel’s testimony will come after January 6 Committee member Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) said on CNN that Hutchinson’s statements were essentially a smoking gun:
CNN’s @jaketapper asks @RepRaskin about corroborating the shocking story, told by ex-aide of Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, about Trump’s physical attack on Secret Service detail to drive to the US Capitol on January 6. pic.twitter.com/z2ul9WvFcc
— CNN (@CNN) June 28, 2022
UPDATE: Shortly after the publication of this article, Nicole Sganga of CBS News reported that both Bobby Engel and former President Trump’s driver would contradict Hutchinson’s testimony:
U.S. Secret Service officials have provided dozens of hours of testimony to the January 6th committee thus far, according to a source close to the agency. [2/2]
— Nicole Sganga (@NicoleSganga) June 28, 2022
CNN correspondent Shimon Prokupecz also reported that a Secret Service official familiar with the matter said that Tony Ornato denies telling Cassidy Hutchinson that Trump lunged for the steering wheel. Also, per Prokupecz, the Secret Service issued the following statement:
The United States Secret Service has been cooperating with the Select Committee since its inception in spring 2021, and will continue to do so, including by responding on the record to the Committee regarding the new allegations surfaced in today’s testimony.
UPDATE: A Secret Service official familiar with the matter told CNN that Tony Ornato denies telling Cassidy Hutchinson that the former president grabbed the steering wheel or an agent on his detail.
— Shimon Prokupecz (@ShimonPro) June 29, 2022
CNN’s Gabby Orr is also reporting on Ornato’s denial of Hutchinson’s testimony; however, the January 6 Committee spokesperson has told CNN: “The Committee trusts the credibility of a witness who was willing to testify under oath & in public but is also willing to hear any information that others may have that would aid in their investigation.”
A committee spox tells @CNN: “The Committee trusts the credibility of a witness who was willing to testify under oath & in public but is also willing to hear any information that others may have that would aid in their investigation.” https://t.co/WqxSCcysgf
— Gabby Orr (@GabbyOrr_) June 29, 2022
This is a developing story.