In some of the most astounding testimony produced so far in the public hearings concerning Jan. 6, Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, testified to how everyone involved—from Republican House leader Kevin McCarthy to White House attorney Pat Cipollone—worked to keep Donald Trump from joining in the riot already underway outside the Capitol. In spite of this, Trump reportedly insisted on going, and even attempted to grab the wheel of the presidential limousine and assault security chief Robert Engel in an effort to make the Secret Service take him to the Capitol, where members of the Proud Boys had already led the crowd through police lines.
As he was leaving the rally at the Ellipse, Trump reportedly instructed Engel, the head of his security detail, to take him to the Capitol. When Trump got into the limo, he had reportedly been told by Meadows that they were going to the Capitol, but Engel told him it wasn’t a secure location and they would instead would go back to the White House. Trump had a “strong, very angry” response to this. When Hutchinson returned to the White House, she was told what happened next by White House chief of operations Anthony Ornato.
Hutchinson: “The president said something to the effect of, ‘I’m the f’ing president, take me up to the Capitol now!’ To which Bobby responded, ‘Sir, we have to go back to the West Wing.’ The president reached up to the front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel. Mr. Engel grabbed his arm and 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 toward Bobby Engel. And when Mr. Ornoto told the story to me, he motioned toward his clavicle.”