The House Jan. 6 committee heard testimony from former Trump White House deputy Chief of Staff Tony Ornato on Tuesday.
Ornato is considered a key witness with inside knowledge of events that could give the committee fresh evidence of Trump’s actions before and on January 6, 2021 when the Capitol riots occurred, CNN reported.
In June, former Trump aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified before the panel that Ornato told her that Trump became angered when a member of his Secret Service detail said they could not drive to the Capitol, lunging at him and saying something like “I’m the effing president. Take me up to the Capitol now.”
“The president reached up towards the front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel. Mr. Engel grabbed his arm, said ‘Sir; you need to take your hand off the steering wheel. We’re going back to the West Wing. We’re not going to the Capitol.’ Mr. Trump then used his free hand to lunge towards Bobby Engel,” Hutchinson told the committee.
She said that Ornato relayed the story to her, telling her that Trump was “irate” the next day at the White House over the event.
Ornato has so far not denied Hutchinson’s testimony on the record. His appearance is the first time he has spoken to the committee since Hutchinson’s testimony.
Members of the committee wanted to bring Ornato back to question him further about the claim.
“We’re in a position in the very near future to call the witnesses from the Secret Service back in for a few additional questions,” committee member Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) told CNN in October.
The panel has interviewed a number of Secret Service officials over the last few weeks, sources told ABC News. The officials did not necessarily confirm that Trump lunged at the limo’s steering wheel, they did agree that Trump was in a rage and insisted on being driven to the Capitol.