After he exited the stage, President Trump entered the Presidential SUV and forcefully expressed his intention that Bobby Engel, the head of his Secret Service detail, direct the motorcade to the Capitol. The Committee has now obtained evidence from several sources about a “furious interaction” in the SUV. The vast majority of witnesses who have testified before the Select Committee about this topic, including multiple members of the Secret Service, a member of the Metropolitan police, and national security officials in the White House, described President Trump’s behavior as “irate,” “furious,” “insistent,” “profane” and “heated.” Hutchinson heard about the exchange second-hand and related what she heard in our June 28, 2022, hearing from Ornato (as did another witness, a White House employee with national security responsibilities, who shared that Ornato also recounted to him President Trump’s “irate” behavior in the Presidential vehicle.) Other members of the White House staff and Secret Service also heard about the exchange after the fact. The White House employee with national security responsibilities gave this testimony:
Committee Staff: But it sounds like you recall some rumor or some discussion around the West Wing about the President’s anger about being told that he couldn’t go to the Capitol. Is that right?
Employee: So Mr. Ornato said that he was angry that he couldn’t go right away. In the days following that, I do remember, you know, again, hearing again how angry the President was when, you know, they were in the limo. But beyond specifics of that, that’s pretty much the extent of the cooler talk.449
The Committee has regarded both Hutchinson and the corroborating testimony by the White House employee with national security responsibilities as earnest and has no reason to conclude that either had a reason to invent their accounts. A Secret Service agent who worked on one of the details in the White House and was present in the Ellipse motorcade had this comment:
Committee Staff: Ms. Hutchinson has suggested to the committee that you sympathized with her after her testimony, and believed her account. Is that accurate?
Special Agent: I have no – yeah, that’s accurate. I have no reason – I mean, we – we became friends. We worked – I worked every day with her for 6 months. Yeah, she became a friend of mine. We had a good working relationship. I have no reason – she’s never done me wrong. She’s never lied that I know of.450
The Committee’s principal concern was that the President actually intended to participate personally in the January 6th efforts at the Capitol, leading the attempt to overturn the election either from inside the House Chamber, from a stage outside the Capitol, or otherwise. The Committee regarded those facts as important because they are relevant to President Trump’s intent on January 6th. There is no question from all the evidence assembled that President Trump did have that intent.451
As it became clear that Donald Trump desired to travel to the Capitol on January 6th, a White House Security Official in the White House complex became very concerned about his intentions:
To be completely honest, we were all in a state of shock. . . . it just – one, I think the actual physical feasibility of doing it, and then also we all knew what that implicated and what that meant, that this was no longer a rally, that this was going to move to something else if he physically walked to the Capitol. I – I don’t know if you want to use the word “insurrection,” “coup,” whatever. We all knew that this would move from a normal, democratic, you know, public event into something else.452
President Trump continued to push to travel to the Capitol even after his return to the White House, despite knowing that a riot was underway. Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, spoke with President Trump about his desire to go to the Capitol after he returned to the White House from the Ellipse. “So to the best of my recollection, I recall him being – wanting to – saying that he wanted to physically walk and be a part of the march and then saying that he would ride the Beast if he needed to, ride in the Presidential limo.”453
Later in the afternoon, Mark Meadows relayed to Cassidy Hutchinson that President Trump was still upset that he would not be able to go to the Capitol that day. As he told Hutchinson, “the President wasn’t happy that Bobby [Engel] didn’t pull it off for him and that Mark didn’t work hard enough to get the movement on the books.”454
Pro-tip: search for furious interaction, and you’ll find it on p. 54