In her testimony to the House select committee on the US Capitol riot, former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified that former president Donald Trump lunged at a Secret Service agent and tried to take control of the steering wheel of the vehicle after he was told he would not be joining his supporters at the Capitol.
But in interviews with Insider, former Secret Service agents had a hard time imagining the episode.
“Trump’s not a little guy, right? And the space to actually be able to lunge towards the wheel is not that big,” one former agent told Insider. “I don’t mean to sound disparaging to the former president, but just his girth would prevent him from actually getting to the steering wheel.”
Ms Hutchinson was not in the vehicle when Mr Trump allegedly tried to grab the steering wheel and lunged at special agent Bobby Engel, but testified that she heard an account of the incident from White House deputy chief of staff for operations Tony Ornato shortly after it happened.
The agents, speaking with knowledge of the SUV the president often rides in known as “The Beast”, cast doubt on the logistics of the alleged attack.
Mr Trump, who is now 76-years-old, is 6’3” and reportedly weighed more than 240 pounds while he was in the White House. He strongly denied Ms Hutchinson’s claim that he attempted to assault Mr Engel and grab the steering wheel of the vehicle in anger. He added that Ms Hutchinson is “living in fantasyland” and is a “social climber”.
“This lady yesterday, is something wrong with her? Is there something wrong?” Mr Trump said in an interview.
Ms Hutchinson, who was praised for her composure during her testimony, was an aide to Sen Ted Cruz of Texas and Rep Steve Scalise of Louisiana before joining the White House and served as a top aide to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. She described Mr Meadows as ineffectual as the events of January 6 transpired.
In a statement, Ms Hutchinson’s attornies said she “stands by all of the testimony she provided yesterday, under oath, to the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol.”
Secret Service agents interviewed by Insider largely stopped short of calling Ms Hutchinson’s account of Mr Trump’s behavior in an impossibility. Still, they were clear about their skepticism.
“You have to slightly be a contortionist to get from the back cabin to the front cabin and the president’s not a contortionist,” Bill Pickle, a former deputy assistant director of the Secret Service, said.