National Review editor and Fox News contributor Andrew McCarthy argued in a Tuesday column that former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson’s disputed testimony about former President Donald Trump’s alleged behavior on Jan. 6 could blow up the entire Select Committee.
Hutchinson testified Tuesday that she was informed by Secret Service agent and Deputy White House Chief of Staff Anthony Ornato that Trump put his hands on the steering wheel of the presidential vehicle known as “The Beast” and lunged at special agent in charge Bobby Engel when he attempted to prevent Trump from going to the Capitol during the riot. A Secret Service spokesperson confirmed Wednesday that agents on Trump’s detail are prepared to testify to the committee.
Those agents are expected to dispute Hutchinson’s testimony that Trump grabbed the wheel and assaulted an agent, NBC News’ Peter Alexander reported. Engel previously sat with the Jan. 6 committee for an interview.
A source close to the Secret Service says both men dispute Trump grabbed the steering wheel or assaulted an agent. They do not deny that Trump was irate and demanded they drive to the Capitol. (2/2)
— Peter Alexander (@PeterAlexander) June 29, 2022
“All we can say is that before choosing to elicit Hutchinson’s account in a hyped public hearing, the committee heard Engel’s testimony. Presumably, if Engel gave the committee reason to believe Hutchinson’s hearsay account was wrong, Cheney would not have adduced it,” McCarthy wrote.
“If it turns out that Engel disputed Hutchinson’s story, and that Cheney knew that but adduced that Hutchinson’s story anyway, without confronting Hutchinson with Engel’s contrary version of events, the committee might as well pack up its bags and go home. Going forward, the committee must come clean with all the evidence it has collected on this matter. At the very least, we should hear testimony from Ornato.”
McCarthy further argued that the entirety of Hutchinson’s testimony was extremely damaging to Trump and his operation. She said that Trump was made aware that attendees of his speech on the Ellipse attempted to bring weapons through magnetometers, and that he urged the Secret Service to take them away, since the attendees could “march on the Capitol” after the speech. (RELATED: PHOTOS: The ‘Stop The Steal’ Pro-Trump Rally Turned To Riots In Washington DC)
“All we can responsibly do is ask ourselves whether the evidence presented under these deficient procedures seems coherent and credible. Whether it will ultimately hold up when finally challenged — as it very well may be in, say, an eventual criminal trial — is another story,” he wrote.