The Secret Service agents who reportedly pushed back the bomb statements about former President Donald Trump in a presidential SUV on Jan. 6 were “very close” to him and have even been described as “yes men,” according to one Washington Post news reporter.
In testimony before the committee of January 6 on Tuesday, Former Mark Meadows aide Cassidy Hutchinson said she heard that after the Stop the Steal rally on Jan. 6, Trump tried to grab the wheel of the vehicle and “lunge” at a Secret Service agent in a desperate attempt to to be taken to the Capitol.
Hutchinson testified that Tony Ornato, a Secret Service agent who also served as the White House deputy chief of staff, told her about it after Trump was instead driven back to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, where he apparently threw his lunch against the wall in anger. . †
later on tuesday, The Washington Post reported that three agents who were in Trump’s vehicle dispute that he “attacked or grabbed his security detail leader or grabbed the steering wheel,” according to a current and a former law enforcement official familiar with the agents’ accounts. Various points of sale also reported that Ornato and Bobby Engel, the chief Secret Service agent in the vehicle, are prepared to testify before the committee disputing Hutchinson’s story.
In light of these developments, After reporter Carol Leonnig appeared on MSNBC and offered some background on Ornato and Engel.
The author of a Secret Service book that spans the Trump years, Leonnig told Rachel Maddow that the pair were “very, very close to President Trump.”
“And some people sometimes accused them of being the president and ‘yes’ — especially Tony Ornato — and a lot of people who wanted to do what he wanted and see him happy,” Leonnig said. “And that was frustrating for agents who were more focused on things like security, or being independent, or good planning. So both individuals lose a bit of credibility because of how closely they were viewed as being aligned with Donald Trump. †
Leonnig then described the general political inclination of the Secret Service during this time.
“There was a very large contingent of Donald Trump’s details cheering in person” [Joe] Biden failed. And some of them even took to their personal media accounts to cheer for the uprising and the individuals who rode to the Capitol as patriots. That is problematic’, says Leonnig.
“I’m not saying Tony Ornato or Bobby Engel did,” she noted, “but they are seen as being on a par with Donald Trump, which cuts against them. However, if they testify under oath [that] this is what happened, I think that will be important, because Cassidy Hutchinson can only say what she has heard.”