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Did the Secret Service “officially debunk” Hutchinson’s testimony?

On the morning of June 29, 2022, evidence showed that the US Secret Service had officially debunked former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony that she gave under oath before the January 6 panel of the House of States. -United.

In the early morning hours of June 29, 2022, author Nick Adams tweeted that the US Secret Service had “officially debunked libelous allegations” against former US President Donald Trump allegedly made the day before by ex-White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson before the US House Capitol riot panel on January 6.

The end of the tweet asked, “Are fact checkers going to correct the record?” Adams also later tweeted that Hutchinson had been “exposed by the US Secret Service as a fraud”, apparently claiming her credibility had been questioned. However, the truth was that these tweets were misleading. Prior to the publication of these two tweets, the Secret Service had not “officially debunked” anything Hutchinson had said.

Hutchinson previously served in the West Wing of the White House as special assistant and aide to Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows. The House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol passed the opening minutes of its June 28 hearing establishing Hutchinson’s proximity to the former president’s activities in the days and weeks around January 6.

Aside from the assertion made by this rumor, perhaps the main takeaway from Hutchinson’s testimony was that she was recounting that both Trump and Meadows were aware of the dangerous threat of violence on January 6, including that of armed supporters near Trump’s rally, and that neither man chose to act sooner to prevent or stop the attack on the Capitol. Trump even wanted to join the crowd, as he said into the microphone during his own rally on the Ellipse.

Secret Service Statement

Adams himself did not specifically include in the tweets the “slanderous allegations” he was referring to regarding Trump from Hutchinson’s testimony. However, CBS News, The Independent and others released what was then the only known Secret Service statement. The reporting in those articles specifically referenced Hutchinson’s testimony about the moments after Trump was kicked out of the site of his Ellipse speech on January 6, 2021.

The Secret Service statement, which did not debunk Hutchinson’s testimony, read: “The United States Secret Service has cooperated with the Select Committee since its inception in the spring of 2021 and will continue to do so, including responding officially to the Committee regarding the new allegations surfaced in today’s testimony.

Trump in the suburbs

During Hutchinson’s testimony, Select Committee Vice Chair U.S. Representative Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, asked her to recount the moments after Trump was ousted from his Jan. 6 Ellipse speech. Hutchinson’s remarks referred to Bobby Engel, who she called Trump’s Secret Service detail chief, as well as another security official named Tony Ornato, who also served as the White House’s deputy chief of staff.

Hutchinson testified that Ornato told him in his West Wing office, with Engel in the room, that Trump got angry in his suburbs after being told he was being reappointed to the White House. The president had previously told the crowd at his rally that he would walk with them to the Capitol. (Note: Hutchinson referred to the presidential limo known as “The Beast”. However, Trump rode in a Suburban that day.)

According to testimony, Trump believed he was going to be driven to the Capitol after his speech. huchinson said:

Tony [Ornato] described him as furious. The president said something like “I’m the fucking president, take me to the Capitol now”, to which Bobby [Engel] replied, “Sir, we have to go back to the west wing.” The president reached forward to grab the steering wheel. Mr. Engel grabbed his arm and said, “Sir, you need to take your hand off the wheel. We return to the west wing. We’re not going to the Capitol.

Mr Trump then used his free hand to lunge at Bobby Engel. And M…. when Mr. Ornato told me this story, he gestured toward his collarbones.

Peter Alexander of NBC News

NBC News reported that neither Ornato nor Engel responded to his request for comment, but a Secret Service spokesperson said his staff “is available to testify under oath”:

NBC News has reached out to Ornato and Engel for comment; neither responded.

Secret Service spokesman Anthony Gugliemi told NBC News that the Secret Service informed the Department of Homeland Security that all personnel requested by the Jan. 6 committee were available to testify under oath, responding to allegations of tuesday. The Secret Service is part of DHS.

Hours after Hutchinson’s testimony, NBC News Chief White House Correspondent Peter Alexander also had tweeted the following, beginning with a police car flashing light emoji, “A source close to the Secret Service tells me that Bobby Engel, the lead agent, and the driver of the Presidential limo/SUV are prepared to testify under oath that ‘neither man was assaulted and that Mr. Trump never rushed behind the wheel.

In response, Jody Hunt, Hutchinson’s attorney, tweeted“Ms. Hutchinson testified under oath and recounted what she was told. Those familiar with the episode should also testify under oath. Alexander retweeted Hunt’s tweet. Conservative Fox News commentator Sean Hannity, also have posted Alexander’s tweet to his television audience that same evening, ostensibly to defend Trump against Hutchinson’s testimony.

alexander later tweeted, “A source close to the Secret Service says the two men dispute that Trump grabbed the steering wheel or assaulted an officer. They don’t deny that Trump was furious and demanded they go to the Capitol.

Despite all of this, the content of Alexander’s tweets did not match what Adams had claimed regarding the unsubstantiated notion that the Secret Service had “officially debunked” Hutchinson’s claims.

Additional Details

CBS News included information similar to Alexander’s two tweets, also using language “a source close to the Secret Service.” The report added the following:

So far, the Secret Service has provided dozens of hours of testimony to the Jan. 6 committee, dating back to the spring of 2021.

According to the source close to the agency, Ornato and Engel both appeared before the committee on the case and behind closed doors, at the request of the committee. These sessions were recorded, but were not used in Tuesday’s hearing.

On June 29, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, RS.C., also tweeted about the baseless rumor involving Hutchinson, “If it is true that the Secret Service denies the allegations against President Trump of rushing and assaulting officers, then the story is really conveying gossip that has no bore fruit.”

The keywords in Graham’s tweet appeared to be “if it’s true.” Graham was referring to one of his previous tweet where he promoted a Fox News article. The headline read, “Tony Ornato Failed to Advise Cassidy Hutchinson Trump Tried to Hurt Secret Service Agent: Sources.” The story contained no information about the Secret Service having “officially debunked” Hutchinson’s testimony, which she gave under oath.

In short, no, on the morning of June 29, the secret services had not “officially debunked” Hutchinson’s testimony. While it’s certainly possible that people associated with the Secret Service will question Hutchinson’s testimony under oath in the future, Adams’ tweet was posted early in the morning the day after Hutchinson testified. At that time, there was no direct evidence that the Secret Service had “officially debunked” anything.

Sources:

Acyn. TwitterJune 28, 2022, https://twitter.com/acyn/status/1541951211020005376.

Adams, Nick. TwitterJune 29, 2022, https://twitter.com/nickadamsinusa/status/1542109100640706563.

—. TwitterJune 29, 2022, https://twitter.com/nickadamsinusa/status/1542131307823697922.

“Help: Trump Rejected Jan. 6 Threats, Wanted to Join Crowd.” PA NewsJune 28, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/capitol-siege-government-and-politics-9e7c03bb83f43fb17b4fd90d1360993d.

Alexander, Peter. TwitterJune 28, 2022, https://twitter.com/peteralexander/status/1541910389289635841.

—. TwitterJune 29, 2022, https://twitter.com/peteralexander/status/1542115915189440512.

“Deputy Director Anthony M. Ornato, Office of Training.” United States Secret Servicehttps://www.secretservice.gov/about/leadership/training.

“Here are every word from the sixth committee hearing on January 6 into his investigation.” NPRJune 28, 2022. NPRhttps://www.npr.org/2022/06/28/1108396692/jan-6-committee-hearing-transcript.

Hunt, Jody. TwitterJune 28, 2022, https://twitter.com/realjodyhunt/status/1541924119159218176.

Jalonik, Mary Clare, et al. “Help: Trump Rejected Jan. 6 Threats, Wanted to Join Crowd.” PA NewsJune 28, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/capitol-siege-government-and-politics-9e7c03bb83f43fb17b4fd90d1360993d.

—. “Help: Trump Rejected Jan. 6 Threats, Wanted to Join Crowd.” Snopes.com via the Associated PressJune 28, 2022, https://www.snopes.com/ap/2022/06/29/aide-trump-dismissed-jan-6-threats-wanted-to-join-crowd/.

Sganga, Nicole and Victoria Albert. Secret Service plans to respond to Jan. 6 committee over Trump’s actions, after Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony. CBS News, June 28, 2022, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/secret-service-jan-6-committee-trump-cassidy-hutchinson-testimony/.

Smith, Allan and Peter Alexander. “Former Meadows Assistant: Trump Pounced On Secret Service Agent, Tried To Grab Steering Wheel Jan. 6.” BNC NewsJune 28, 2022, https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/cassidy-hutchinson-trump-lunged-secret-service-agent-tried-grab-steeri-rcna35775.

TV news archives. Internet Archivehttps://archive.org/details/tv.

Woodward, Alex. “The Secret Service is ready to respond to allegations that Trump threw himself behind the wheel.” The IndependentJune 29, 2022, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-jan-6-secret-service-latest-b2111624.html.