Moreover, the dispute could simply hinge on different people’s definition of “lunged.” Hutchinson never said she witnessed the incident herself—merely that she was repeating Ornato’s account—and so it would be impossible for her to relate in granular detail what actually happened.
Well, according to further reporting from CNN, other Secret Service sources have now come forward to affirm that what Hutchinson testified to is essentially true, and nothing in this new reporting refutes anything in Hutchinson’s account:
While the details from those who heard the accounts differ, the Secret Service sources say they were told an angry confrontation did occur. And their accounts align with significant parts of Hutchinson’s testimony, which has been attacked as hearsay by Trump and his allies who also have tried to discredit her overall testimony.
Like Hutchinson, one source, a longtime Secret Service employee, told CNN that the agents relaying the story described Trump as “demanding” and that the former President said something similar to: “I’m the f**king President of the United States, you can’t tell me what to do.” The source said he originally heard that kind of language was used shortly after the incident.
So the dispute is really about whether Trump is just an everyday feral ape behind closed doors or more of a radioactive mutant feral ape.
“He had sort of lunged forward — it was unclear from the conversations I had that he actually made physical contact, but he might have. I don’t know,” the source said. “Nobody said Trump assaulted him; they said he tried to lunge over the seat — for what reason, nobody had any idea.”
The source also told CNN that he’d heard about the incident from other agents “multiple times,” including from some who’d been on Trump’s protective detail.
In other words, the incident Hutchinson related—or something very much like it—happened.
Of course, it only makes sense to believe Hutchinson over Engel and Ornato. The latter two are Trump flunkies. They have every reason to lie, or at least to engage in a disingenuous stunt to plant a seed of doubt in the public’s mind. What reason would Hutchinson have to make up stories? She was full-bore MAGA until the very end.
Moreover, Hutchinson was subpoenaed—so her choices were to risk a contempt of Congress charge, perjure herself, or tell the truth. Ornato and Engel presumably have an incentive to protect Trump with their bullshit—perhaps by saying they’ll testify under oath to refute Hutchinson’s testimony while knowing full well they never will—while at this point Hutchinson’s biggest incentive for giving truthful testimony is staying out of prison.
In short, we have several reasons now to doubt whether Ornato and Engel are acting in good faith and every reason to believe Hutchinson is. What reason would she have to lie about picayune details that don’t really matter that much when viewed in the context of a bigger picture—i.e., that Trump wanted to go to the Capitol and was irate when told he couldn’t—that’s not in dispute?
Sadly, this appears to be just another right-wing sideshow meant to distract us from Trump’s glaring unfitness for office. If only we could find the courage as a nation to say, with a united voice, that stealing free and fair elections through violence and intimidation is a bad thing. But hey, we’ll get there. After all, our democracy is only two-and-a-half centuries old, give or take.