GOP report contradicts Jan. 6 committee's witness alleging Trump tried to grab SUV steering wheel

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House Republicans released a report this week they say undermines claims made by a former Trump aide that former President Trump tried to take control of a Secret Service vehicle on Jan. 6, 2021. 

Georgia Republican Rep. Barry Loudermilk, chair of the oversight subcommittee of the House Administration Committee, released an 81-page report Monday, which investigated “the security failures of January 6th which House Democrats failed to investigate in the 117th Congress.”

“THE SELECT COMMITTEE WAS DESIGNED TO PROMOTE A POLITICAL NARRATIVE – Pelosi made the unprecedented decision to refuse to appoint minority members chosen by the minority to the Select Committee. They hired Hollywood producers to assist with their primetime hearings. They refused to adopt rules, allowing them to operate without limits, to project their predetermined narrative to the world,” the report’s initial findings detail. 

Within the report’s findings, the oversight subcommittee reported that unreleased testimony from four former White House employees who were present for Trump’s Jan. 6, 2021, speech contradicts claims by former Trump aide Cassidy Hutchinson.

HOUSE GOP REPORT ALLEGES JAN 6 COMMITTEE ‘DELETED RECORDS AND HID EVIDENCE’

Hutchinson motions toward neck

Cassidy Hutchinson, a top aide to Mark Meadows when he was White House chief of staff in the Trump administration, retells a story involving President Trump as the House Jan. 6 select committee holds a public hearing on Capitol Hill on June 28, 2022. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

“Reps. Thompson and Cheney promoted Cassidy Hutchinson‘s sensational revised testimony and hid witness testimony from White House and Secret Service employees with firsthand knowledge that directly contradicted Hutchinson‘s version of events. Hutchinson conducted three transcribed interviews with the Select Committee before substantially revising her story in her fourth transcribed interview. Despite knowing how significantly her testimony changed, the Select Committee promoted it as fact,” the report detailed, adding that Hutchinson was promoted as a “star witness.”

JAN 6 COMMITTEE ALLEGEDLY SUPPRESSED TESTIMONY SHOWING TRUMP ADMIN PUSHED FOR NATIONAL GUARD PRESENCE: REPORT

Hutchinson, who worked as an aide to Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, had claimed before the select committee that on Jan. 6, 2021, she was told Trump allegedly became “irate” and attempted to join supporters at the Capitol ahead of them breaching the government building. The incident reportedly unfolded after Trump delivered a speech at the Ellipse, which is a park just south of the White House fence. 

Trump at Jan. 6 rally

President Donald Trump speaks at a rally on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

“​​The president said something to the effect of, ‘I’m the effing president, take me up to the Capitol now,’” she recounted to the committee in 2022 of what she was told. 

She alleged she was told Trump attempted to grab the steering wheel of a Secret Service SUV before the driver reportedly told Trump to remove his hand and that they were headed to the White House, not the Capitol. 

LIZ CHENEY CALLS SPEAKER JOHNSON ‘DANGEROUS’ FOR HELPING TRUMP ‘UNDERMINE OUR REPUBLIC’

Loudermilk in an oversight hearing

Rep. Barry Loudermilk chairs a House subcommittee hearing on July 19, 2023. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images )

Loudermilk’s report, however, found that Hutchinson’s testimony was “directly refuted” by Anthony Ornato, who served as White House deputy chief of staff for pperations under Trump after decades in the Secret Service. 

“In Ornato’s November 29, 2022, transcribed interview, he directly refuted Hutchinson’s testimony that she allegedly heard the story about what happened in the Beast. Ornato testified that the first time he had ever heard the story Hutchinson claims Ornato told her on January 6, was during Hutchinson’s public testimony,” the report details. Hutchinson had told the committee that she heard the anecdote from Ornato. 

A Secret Service agent who was driving the SUV also refuted the anecdote, according to the report. The report stated that the driver of the SUV on Jan. 6 testified that Trump “never grabbed the steering wheel.” 

“The driver testified that he specifically refuted the version of events as recounted by Hutchinson. The driver of the SUV testified that he ‘did not see him reach [redacted]. [President Trump] never grabbed the steering wheel. I didn’t see him, you know, lunge to try to get into the front seat at all.’”

Loudermilk’s report determined that the Jan. 6 committee “hid the driver’s full testimony and only favorably mentioned his testimony in its Final Report, it did not release the full transcript.” 

The Jan. 6 committee was founded in July 2021 to investigate the breach of the U.S. Capitol earlier that year by supporters of Trump ahead of President Biden officially taking office on Jan. 20. The Jan. 6 committee’s investigation was carried out when Democrats held control of the House. 

The committee concluded its 18-month investigation last year, when Republicans regained control of the House, and sent referrals to the Justice Department recommending Trump be criminally prosecuted for his involvement in the lead-up to supporters breaching the Capitol. 

Bennie Thompson in hearing

Rep. Bennie Thompson before a House Homeland Security Committee hearing at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 10, 2024. (Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)

The committee’s former chair, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and vice chair, Republican now-former Rep. Liz Cheney, both slammed Loudermilk’s 81-page report on social media soon after it was published. In addition to alleging Hutchinson’s testimony was debunked, the report argued the Jan. 6 committee “deleted” records and hired “Hollywood producers” to promote a political narrative.

LIZ CHENEY CALLS SPEAKER JOHNSON ‘DANGEROUS’ FOR HELPING TRUMP ‘UNDERMINE OUR REPUBLIC’

“Loudermilk is merely trying to deflect from Donald Trump’s responsibility for the violence of January 6th and his own refusal to answer the Select Committee’s questions,” Thompson’s statement said, adding that the report is “dishonest.” 

Bennie Thompson, Liz Cheney

Liz Cheney speaks as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol holds its final meeting on Capitol Hill, Dec. 19, 2022. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

“If your response to Trump’s assault on our democracy is to lie & cover up what he did, attack the brave men & women who came forward with the truth, and defend the criminals who violently assaulted the Capitol, you need to rethink whose side you’re on. Hint: It’s not America’s,” Cheney tweeted Tuesday.

Hutchinson’s attorney, William H. Jordan, wrote a letter to Loudermilk earlier this year defending Hutchinson as an honest witness who “courageously stepped forward” to speak with the committee. 

“Let me be clear: since Ms. Hutchinson changed counsel, she has and will continue to tell the truth. While other individuals – often men who occupied more senior roles – would not speak with the Select Committee, Ms. Hutchinson and many other witnesses courageously stepped forward. Yet she now finds herself being questioned by you and your Subcommittee regarding her testimony and on matters that may also be the subject of ongoing criminal proceedings against Mr. Trump,” the letter reads.

LIZ CHENEY ADDRESSES CRITICISM OF HER CRITIQUES OF TRUMP AND BIDEN

“Ms. Hutchinson will not succumb to a pressure campaign from those who seek to silence her and influence her testimony, even when done in the name of ‘oversight.’”

Rep. Loudermilk pointing

Rep. Barry Loudermilk arrives for the House Republican Conference caucus meeting at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington on April 27, 2022. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Last week, Loudermilk released a separate testimony transcript from Ornato that had been “withheld” and reportedly shows the Trump administration reached out to the Washington, D.C., mayor’s office ahead of Jan. 6, asking her to request as much protection for the city as she needed in anticipation of crowds. The testimony reportedly undermines the committee’s report that they did not have evidence showing the Trump White House requested National Guard assistance for Jan. 6. 

REP LOUDERMILK BLASTS JANUARY 6 COMMITTEE FOR TARGETING HIM: ‘THERE IS A WAR ON THE TRUTH IN THIS COUNTRY’

Cheney spokesman Jeremy Adler called the report “flatly false” in comments to Fox Digital on Sunday and that “no transcripts were destroyed.” 

“The Committee adhered to its obligations to allow the Secret Service to protect sensitive security information for interviews of its agents before preserving that testimony in the archives,” Adler said in a statement.

Protesters outside of the Capitol

Trump supporters occupy the West Front of the Capitol and the inauguration stands on Jan. 6, 2021. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

A 2022 letter, sent by Cheney and Thompson to the general counsel of the Department of Homeland Security, detailed that it adhered to rules surrounding sensitive testimony from Secret Service agents, and preserved such testimony in archives that were then placed into the control of the National Archives. 

TRUMP SAYS FILES DELETED BY JAN 6 COMMITTEE ‘EXONERATED ME COMPLETELY’

Loudermilk said the report’s release Monday is “just the beginning” as his committee works “to uncover the facts about January 6.”

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“The American people deserve the entire truth about what caused the violent breach at the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021. It is unfortunate the Select Committee succumbed to their political inclinations and chased false narratives instead of providing the important work of a genuine investigation. In my committee’s investigation, it is my objective to uncover the facts about January 6, without political bias or spin. My report today is just the beginning,” Loudermilk said in a statement Monday.