House

Jan. 6 panel expected to interview former Secret Service agent Tony Ornato

FILE – Then-President Donald Trump, center, surrounded by members of the Secret Service, including Tony Ornato, right, walks across the tarmac to begin to greet supporters during his arrival at Palm Beach International Airport, in West Palm Beach, Fla., April 18, 2019. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol is expected to interview former Secret Service agent Tony Ornato on Tuesday.

Lawmakers on the panel sought Ornato’s testimony to corroborate information about former President Trump’s actions on Jan. 6, including explosive testimony that he lunged at his security detail that day.

When he meets with the committee Tuesday, Ornato, who was Trump’s deputy chief of staff on Jan. 6, will be speaking with the House panel for the third time.

Ornato was at the center of explosive testimony from former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, who testified during the House committee’s series of public hearings on Jan. 6 over the summer.

Hutchinson told the panel she heard a story from Ornato that Trump reached for the steering wheel of his car in a bid to go to the U.S. Capitol as pro-Trump rioters stormed the federal building to stop certification of the 2020 election.

Secret Service officials have disputed that account and dismissed the claims of a physical altercation with Trump from Hutchinson, though promised testimony from Engel and Ornato took months to materialize.

Engel met with the panel’s investigators in November, with committee Chair Bennie Thompson telling reporters, “We learned some additional information, and at some point we plan to use it.”

The panel subpoenaed text messages and communications among Secret Service agents on Jan. 6 but were later told the messages were erased as part of a device replacement program.

The House committee has since received more than 1 million pages of documents and communications from the agency, a response that exceeded their initial request for information.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Updated: 1:39 p.m.

Tags 2020 election Boby Engel Cassidy Hutchinson House jan. 6 attack on the capitol Jan. 6 committee Secret Service Tony Ornato Trump Washington DC
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