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A House committee looking into Congress’ investigation of the 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol Building is focusing on one of the Democrat-run panel’s star witnesses, who is also a former member of the Trump administration.
Last week, the House Subcommittee on Oversight Chairman Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.) ordered Cassidy Hutchinson to preserve all communications and documents related to her account of that day and her testimony before the select committee, Just the News reported on Friday.
In particular, Loudermilk is honing in on changes in Hutchinson’s testimony throughout 2022 when she appeared before the committee behind closed doors on at least four occasions.
“On June 28, 2022, you testified during one of the Select Committee’s primetime hearings. During this hearing you asserted that former President Donald Trump attempted to grab the steering wheel from one United States Secret Service employee driving the vehicle and lunged at another,” Loudermilk wrote to Hutchinson.
“However, in your previous three transcribed interviews on February 23, 2022, March 7, 2022, and May 17, 2022, you did not mention this interaction,” he continued.
An examination of Hutchinson’s transcribed interviews throughout that year reveals a significant shift in her narrative of events following the change in her legal representation.
Eventually, Hutchinson submitted an errata sheet to the Jan. 6 Committee by September, a legal document that allows a witness to rectify typographical errors in their prior testimony. In her case, she utilized the sheet to amend details related to her previous testimony concerning this particular incident, among others, which legal experts note substantive changes like these are uncommon.
Testimony from another crucial witness, a former Secret Service employee who served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations during President Trump’s tenure, along with Hutchinson’s own text messages, challenge certain pivotal assertions she made. These discrepancies continue to cast doubt on the credibility of her “corrections,” which could be seen as altering the facts she originally presented under oath, Just the News noted.
The outlet added:
In September 2022, after Hutchinson testified on at least four separate occasions to the Jan. 6 Committee, she filed an errata sheet amending key details of her accounts of events on that day, according to the documentation that Just the News reviewed in November last year.
One key shift occurred in Hutchinson’s account of then-President Trump’s trip in the presidential vehicle back from the Ellipse to the White House following his speech to supporters at his “Stop the Steal” rally. This shift was referenced in Loudermilk’s letter.
During her initial deposition with the committee in February 2022, Hutchinson informed congressional investigators that Trump did not dispute the Secret Service’s evaluation that he couldn’t accompany his supporters to the Capitol on January 6.
“Did you ever find out what happened with that conversation in the Beast between the President and Mr. Engel (a Secret Service official)?” Investigators asked.
“Just that Mr. Engel had relayed the message that him and Mr. Ornato had discussed previously and knowing there was no — there were no developments that would’ve changed the guidance he was given before the rally had begun, that we didn’t have the assets available, and that was just reconveyed to the President,” Hutchinson testified about the conversation, as she said she was told.
In June of that same year, however, Hutchinson presented an entirely different account regarding Trump’s response to the Secret Service assessment after his rally.
In the new version, she said that after the Secret Service official told Trump that they could not go to the Capitol, the then-president became “irate” and “lunged forward into what I believe is the—would be called the cab of the Presidential limo and went to…ran at the steering wheel.”
She continued: “Bobby (Engle—the Secret Service official) had said, ‘Sir, I’m going to need you to take your hand off. We’re going back to the White House. That’s final.’ Mr. Trump again was extremely angry at that response and used his free hand, to my understanding, to then lunge at Bobby Engle.”
It was this particular narrative that Hutchinson modified in her errata sheets to rectify her earlier testimony. This version of events was initially disclosed during Hutchinson’s public, televised testimony before the Jan. 6 Committee in that same month.
These initial allegations by Hutchinson became part of the media narrative and, thus far, have not been amended to acknowledge her subsequent inconsistencies, Just the News noted.
Ornato’s own testimony contradicted Hutchinson’s version of events.
“I don’t recall that conversation taking place, nor do I recall being aware of any details that happened from the motorcade from the Ellipse to the White House,” he testified.