An ‘irritated’ former President Donald Trump rushed behind the wheel of his presidential limo and grabbed his top Secret Service agent by the throat when his security detail refused to drive him to the Capitol on January 6, 2021, a former White House aide testified Tuesday.
Cassidy Hutchinson, assistant to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, said Mr Trump urged Robert Engel, the head of his security detail, to take him to the Capitol as he was being chased of his “Stop the Steal” rally. on January 6, 2021.
Ms Hutchinson was not in the limo but testified that another White House aide told her about the incident. She said that when Mr. Engel refused the president’s request to accompany a pro-Trump crowd to the Capitol, Mr. Trump tried to grab the steering wheel of the vehicle and eventually lunged at Mr. Engel in anger.
“I’m the fucking president. Take me to the Capitol now,” Ms. Hutchinson said as she heard Mr. Trump say.
Mr. Engel responded by asking Mr. Trump to take his hand off the wheel, saying they were heading back to the West Wing of the White House. She said the agent even grabbed the president’s arm to stop him from trying to commandeer the limo.
Testimony showed that several senior officials, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and White House attorney Pat Cipollone, all but begged White House aides in the days leading up to Jan. 6 not to authorize the President to travel to the Capitol for certification of the Electoral College vote. Mr. Cipollone warned that if Mr. Trump did so, it would risk criminal charges such as obstruction of justice, incitement to a riot or fraud in the Electoral College count, Ms. Hutchinson said.
Ms. Hutchinson’s testimony also described other times that Mr. Trump let his anger come out in physical ways.
The former staffer said Mr Trump threw his lunch against the White House wall after reports quoted then-Attorney General Bill Barr as saying there was no significant voter fraud in the 2020 elections.
She also alleged that the president threw dishes or knocked over the tablecloth in the White House dining room when he was upset.
Ms. Hutchinson is the only witness in Tuesday’s blitz hearing by the committee, which wraps up the rest of its hearings in July before the August congressional recess.
Republicans dismissed Ms Hutchinson’s revelations as “hearsay” and questioned the legitimacy of the hearing and the committee.
“Why doesn’t the January 6 committee tell the American people how many times President Trump has called for the National Guard to be on Capitol Hill on January 6?” tweeted Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, Republican of Georgia. “Why was [President] Trump NG requests denied with all known intelligence reports leading to 6???