September 29, 2022

January 6 Committee Downgrades Secret Service Story from Seizing the Wheel to ‘Heated Discussion’

The January 6 Committee’s eighth public hearing Thursday produced testimony that there was a “heated discussion” between then-President Donald Trump and the Secret Service during the Capitol riot — not that Trump tried to seize the wheel of the presidential vehicle.

The testimony was a significant step back from claims last month by former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson — based on hearsay — that Trump had tried to wrest control of the vehicle from the Secret Service.

Hutchinson’s claimed were immediately disputed by the Secret Service agents she named, Tony Ornato and Bobby Engel. Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA) cited Ornato claiming in an earlier interview that Trump had been “irate.” She did not mention Hutchinson’s claims.

Rep. Luria then cited another witness, retired D.C. Metro Police Sergeant Mark Robinson, who was not in the vehicle with Trump but was in the motorcade. Sgt. Robinson — who could only offer hearsay evidence — said on video that he heard that the president was “upset” and that there had been a “heated argument or discussion about going to the Capitol.”

Though Robinson, like all witnesses brought forth by the committee after months of closed-door depositions, was cited as a witness against Trump, his testimony actually contradicted Hutchinson’s testimony and undermined the hearing’s credibility.

Though Thursday’s hearing was billed as the committee’s last scheduled public hearing, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) said that it would resume public hearings in September. It has not resolved any of the numerous evidentiary problems that have arisen.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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