Secret Service Have Been Gossiping About Trump’s SUV Outburst for a Year: CNN

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BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI

Days after the Secret Service pushed back on the stunning testimony that former President Donald Trump violently freaked out during a Jan. 6 presidential SUV ride, CNN reported on Friday that accounts of Trump lunging at his Secret Service agents have spread around the agency for the past year.

According to two Secret Service sources, stories similar to ex-Trump aide Cassidy Hutchinson’s account—which she testified under oath was told to her by former Trump staffer and current Secret Service official Tony Ornato—circulated among agents in the months following the incident. One source, for instance, relayed that Trump profanely demanded to be driven to the Capitol and even “lunged forward” at one point.

“It was unclear from the conversations I had that he actually made physical contact, but he might have. I don't know,” the source told CNN. “Nobody said Trump assaulted him; they said he tried to lunge over the seat— for what reason, nobody had any idea.”

Another source who spoke to the SUV’s driver, meanwhile, said that while he didn’t hear about any physical altercation, he was told that Trump verbally berated his Secret Service detail after his Jan. 6 speech. According to Hutchinson, Trump yelled at his detail: “I’m the f-ing President. Take me up to the Capitol now!”

While not disputing that Trump demanded agents take him to the Capitol, a Secret Service official said earlier this week that Ornato denied telling Hutchinson the story, and Secret Service agent Bobby Engel—who was in the vehicle—refuted that Trump lunged at an agent or tried to grab the steering wheel.

The agency has also said that Engel and the driver are prepared to testify before the Jan. 6 House committee under oath. The credibility of Engel and Ornato, however, has come under question recently, as they’ve been described as Trump’s “yes men” and at least one former Trump aide has called Ornato a known liar.

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