An “irate” former President Donald Trump lunged for the steering wheel of his presidential limousine and grabbed for the throat of his top Secret Service agent when his security detail refused to drive him to the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, a former White House aide testified Tuesday.
Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide 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 while he was being driven away from his “Stop the Steal” rally on Jan. 6, 2021.
Ms. Hutchinson wasn’t in the limo, but testified that another White House aide told her about the incident. She said when Mr. Engel refused the president’s request to accompany a pro-Trump mob to the Capitol, Mr. Trump tried to grab the wheel of the vehicle and eventually lunged at Mr. Engel in anger.
“I’m the f—-ing president. Take me up to the Capitol now,” Ms. Hutchinson said she heard Mr. Trump say.
Mr. Engel responded by requesting Mr. Trump take his hand off the wheel, asserting that they were headed 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 top officials, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, virtually begged White House aides in the days leading up to Jan. 6 not to allow the president to visit the Capitol for the Electoral College vote certification. Mr. Cipollone warned that if Mr. Trump did so, it would risk criminal charges such as obstruction of justice, inciting a riot or defrauding the Electoral College count, Ms. Hutchinson said.
Ms. Hutchinson‘s testimony also laid out other moments where Mr. Trump let his anger manifest in a physical nature.
The former staffer said Mr. Trump threw his lunch against the wall at the White House after news reports quoted then-Attorney General Bill Barr saying there was no significant voter fraud in the 2020 election.
She also alleged the president threw dishes or flipped the tablecloth in the White House dining room when he was upset.
Ms. Hutchinson is the sole witness for Tuesday’s snap hearing by the committee, which is wrapping up the rest of its hearings in July ahead of the August congressional recess.
Republicans have pushed back on the revelations by Ms. Hutchinson as “hearsay,” and questioned the legitimacy of the hearing and committee.
“Why isn’t the January 6th committee informing the American people about how many times President Trump asked for the National Guard to be at the Capitol on Jan 6th?” tweeted Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Georgia Republican. “Why was [President] Trump‘s NG requests denied with all the known intelligence reports leading up to the 6th???”