We’ve been waiting on the members of the Jan. 6 Committee to provide any corroboration at all for the inflammatory testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson that President Donald Trump supposedly tried to grab the wheel of The Beast and lunged toward a Secret Service agent. She didn’t view this; she was just relating what she claimed she overheard from a Secret Service agent (Tony Ornato), so it started off being a questionable story.
The testimony was immediately called into question, with reports indicating that the Secret Service agents who she referred to would dispute the claim that Trump either grabbed the wheel or lunged at the agent. The Secret Service also indicated the agents would be available to testify to the Committee again to respond to these claims.
Ornato wasn’t in the car, but Engel and the driver were, and are still denying it, according to sources.
Both Ornato and Engel, who remain active Secret Service agents, have said they are willing to testify under oath to dispute Hutchinson’s narrative, even as they have refused to speak publicly about it. The unnamed driver, the agency has signaled, is also denying her account.
“Ornato is a red herring,” the source said, noting that he was in his office at the time and not at the rally.
“There are three people in that vehicle: Bobby Engel, President Trump and the limo driver,” the source said, and both agents are “saying that did not happen.”
Trump has also said that it didn’t happen.
It’s not clear if the Committee has called the agents back to testify again.
In fact, the committee has gotten rather quiet about their due diligence on vetting this story before putting it on national television:
The Jan. 6 Committee Tuesday did not respond to a request for comment from Fox News Digital asking if it has attempted to speak to Ornato or Engel since the hearing. It also did not respond to questions on if it reached out to the Secret Service to verify the allegations, if there may be further subpoenas related to Hutchinson’s claims, or if it’s taken any other actions to verify what she said.
USSS spokesperson Anthony Gugliemi said the agency does not have any information to share when asked if the committee has taken further steps to verify Hutchinson’s claims.
Gugliemi said that the Committee had not reached out to them over the 10 days before Hutchinson’s latest testimony, indicating that the Committee hadn’t reached out to them to corroborate the claim before putting her on before the world.
Committee members Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) appeared on shows on Sunday.
Lofgren told CNN’s “State of the Union” that they didn’t ask witnesses to corroborate other witnesses.
A member of the Jan. 6 committee indicated former White House counsel Pat Cipollone was not directly asked to corroborate or respond to Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony that he had advised former President Donald Trump against going to the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) said on Sunday that Capitol riot investigators do not call witnesses to “corroborate other witnesses” but stressed that Cipollone provided testimony that “does not dispute” what Hutchinson told the committee.
Then Kinzinger was on ABC with George Stephanopoulos. But Stephanopoulos made the point that they didn’t ask Cipollone to corroborate the specifics of Hutchinson’s testimony.
It’s been reported that the committee didn’t ask Mr. Cipollone to corroborate the specifics of Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony. What’s the reasoning behind that?
REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): Well, look, we — it was an eight-hour interview. We went through a lot of stuff. And as Zoe said, he did not contradict anybody.
Look, we’re not — first off, we’re not going to bring somebody in and just sit around and ask them about what other people said, too. We’re getting their information, their front, position. And I think it’s very clear, you’ll see over the next couple of hearings a little of what he said. Certainly you’ll see a lot of that in the report. But at no point was there any contradiction of — of what anybody said. But the rest I’ll have to leave to the presentation for the — for the committee.
If you don’t ask him the question then yes, you’re likely not to get a contradiction. But I’m not sure what they thought this proves any way, even if this part of what she said was true. He, of course, wouldn’t know anything about her other testimony about what happened in the car, since he wasn’t there; he’s not repeating things he didn’t see, like her.
These are the word games the Committee is trying to play with us, and they still haven’t put anything forward to support the Hutchinson claims about what happened in the car. But in terms of what they’re saying about not having witnesses corroborate other witnesses, Kinzinger had no problem attacking Tony Ornato and calling him a liar. So, they are certainly willing to attack their witnesses if they think they aren’t serving their narrative.