Testimony underscores Trump’s desire to go to Capitol on Jan. 6
Testimony and communications from Secret Service agents and former White House officials shared Thursday showed former President Trump was intent on traveling to the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol cited the evidence to bolster the case that Trump was insistent about going to the complex after delivering a speech outside the White House that day to throngs of supporters.
“So, to the best of my recollection I recall him wanting to, saying that he wanted to physically walk and be a part of the march and saying he would ride the Beast if he needed to. Ride in the presidential limo,” former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told the committee in footage shared at Thursday’s hearing.
Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.) cited an interview with an anonymous former White House official, who was described as an “employee with national security responsibilities,” in which the staffer said talk of Trump’s outrage when he was told he would not be taken to the Capitol was widely discussed within the building.
“In the days following that, I do remember, you know, again hearing again how angry the president was when, you know, they were in the limo,” the official said.
The official also told the panel that he’d heard from Tony Ornato, a former Secret Service agent who worked as a deputy chief of staff for Trump, and Robert Engel, the agent in charge on Jan. 6, that Trump was “irate.”
A Secret Service message obtained by the committee showed agents were concerned about the prospect of a planned presidential movement to the Capitol. Another message showed agents were instructed to don protective gear and prepare for a movement.
At 1:25 p.m. on Jan. 6, Secret Service agents indicated they were preparing for a movement from the White House to the Capitol in approximately two hours. Roughly 30 minutes later, according to messages obtained by the committee, there was no longer any planned movement.
The new evidence serves to bolster previous testimony from ex-White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, who told the committee during a summer hearing that Trump had demanded to be taken to the Capitol and physically grabbed at the steering wheel of the presidential SUV when he was told no.
The committee issued the Secret Service a subpoena in July, after the panel and agency became involved in controversy. News broke at that time that some text messages sent by Secret Service on agents Jan. 6 had been missing.