Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) appears to be dismissing former White House aide Tony Ornato’s denial of a dramatic story that was shared during a Jan. 6 committee hearing.
The Illinois Congressman’s comments are a continuation of a saga that kicked off on Tuesday when former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified before the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Her testimony included a story she said Ornato told her about former President Donald Trump’s behavior in a presidential vehicle.
Ornato has since denied that he told Hutchinson the story.
However, another former administration official, Alyssa Farah Griffin, shared a tweet that noted Ornato previously denied having a conversation that was documented in a book.
She wrote, “Tony Ornato lied about me too. During the protests at Lafayette sq in 2020, I told [then-White House Chief of Staff] Mark Meadows [and] Ornato they needed to warn press staged there before clearing the square.”
“Meadows replied: ‘we aren’t doing that.’ Tony later lied [and] said the exchange never happened. He knows it did,” Griffin added.
Tony Ornato lied about me too. During the protests at Lafayette sq in 2020, I told Mark Meadows & Ornato they needed to warn press staged there before clearing the square. Meadows replied: “we aren’t doing that.” Tony later lied &said the exchange never happened. He knows it did. https://t.co/qeT0pUxGMC
— Alyssa Farah Griffin 🇺🇸 (@Alyssafarah) June 29, 2022
Kinzinger, who is a member of the Jan. 6 committee, re-tweeted Griffin and wrote, “There seems to be a major thread here… Tony Ornato likes to lie.”
There seems to be a major thread here… Tony Ornato likes to lie. https://t.co/0c2itYqf5J
— Adam Kinzinger🇺🇦🇺🇸✌️ (@AdamKinzinger) June 30, 2022
On Tuesday, Hutchinson testified that Ornato told her Trump was upset the Secret Service did not take him to the Capitol on Jan. 6 and that the president tried to grab the steering wheel and assault an agent.
“Once the president had gotten into the vehicle with Bobby, he thought that they were going up to the Capitol. And when [Secret Service Special Agent Bobby Engel] had relayed to him, we’re not, we don’t have the assets to do it, it’s not secure. We’re going back to the West Wing. The president had a very strong, very angry response to that,” Hutchinson testified.
She continued, “[Ornato] described him as being irate. The president said something to the effect of, ‘I’m the f*****g president! Take me up to the Capitol now.’ To which Bobby responded, ‘Sir, we have to go back to the West Wing.’”
After her testimony, NBC News’ Peter Alexander reported that the Secret Service agents in the vehicle denied the story and were prepared to testify that the incident did not happen.
🚨 A source close to the Secret Service tells me both Bobby Engel, the lead agent, and the presidential limousine/SUV driver are prepared to testify under oath that neither man was assaulted and that Mr. Trump never lunged for the steering wheel.
— Peter Alexander (@PeterAlexander) June 28, 2022
Ornato also said he was prepared to testify that he did not tell Hutchinson that story.
The Secret Service told Politico that the committee did not reach out to corroborate the story prior to Hutchinson’s testimony.
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