Hutchinson fallout: Raskin acknowledges hearsay, witness stands by account, Secret Service ghosted?
Much of Hutchison’s testimony was from what she had overheard as a White House aide or from second-hand accounts of incidents
The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook
The fallout over testimony before the House Jan. 6 committee’s star witness Cassidy Hutchinson on Tuesday continues with the Secret Service responding to her allegations about an agent-related incident on the day of the Capitol riot – as a top committee member confirms the testimony is hearsay and Hutchinson's attorneys say their client stands by her testimony.
The Secret Service says the committee didn’t contact the agency in the days before Hutchinson alleged during the televised hearing that former President Donald Trump tried to grab the steering wheel of a presidential vehicle, according to news reports.
(The committee did not respond to a request for comment from Fox News. However, the committee reportedly had at some point interviewed the agents involved in the alleged incident as part of its overall investigation into the Jan. 6, 2021, riot.)
Hutchinson, an aide for Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows, was not in the vehicle.
Trump, she alleged, grabbed the wheel because he was told he couldn’t go from the rally at which he spoke on Jan. 6, outside of the White House, to Capitol Hill to join rally-goers who were marching to the Capitol Building to protest the certification of the 2020 presidential election results.
Much of Hutchison’s testimony was from what she had overheard as a White House aide or from second-hand accounts of incidents.
She testified that Secret Service agent Anthony Ornato told her about the presidential limousine incident. Hutchinson also said she was told that agent Robert Engel, who led Trump’s Secret Service detail, grabbed the president’s wrist when he reached for the steering wheel.
In an interview that night on CNN, committee member Democrat Rep. Jamie Raskin, who is also a Harvard Law School graduate, was asked whether the committee has corroborating evidence about the incident and whether it had interviewed Engle or Ornato about the alleged incident, according to the Daily Wire.
"The story that she told is the evidence that I’m aware of, at least within her story, and I’ve not seen anything to contradict it," Raskin answered. "And then, of course, it’s corroborated by everything else we know about Donald Trump’s eagerness to not just incite this march (from the rally outside the White House to the Capitol) and assemble the march and form the march and exhort the people in the march but also to participate in it, he wanted to go into it."
CNN’s Jake Tapper followed by saying, "Your committee interviewed Tony Ornato and Engel, who supposedly told her this story, and I don’t doubt her. I’m sure Ornato told her the story. But your committee interviewed them. Did you ask about this story?"
Raskin replied: "I was not involved in either of those interviews. So I can’t say and I don’t have any knowledge of that. I will just say I’m not aware of anything that contradicts the account."
"As of now, it is hearsay," Tapper said.
Raskin replied: "Oh, sure. We’re not in a court of law, and we’re not charging anybody with any particular offense."
On Wednesday, Hutchinson’s attorneys Jody Hunt and William Jordan said in a statement to The Hill newspaper: "Ms. Hutchinson stands by all of the testimony she provided yesterday, under oath, to the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol."
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