Trump’s security detail was ‘aligned’ with him and ‘personally applauds Biden’s failure,’ says Secret Service book author

Flanked by members of the Secret Service, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, center, signs for supporters as stage lights paint the dance floor after a June 16, 2016 performance at Gilley's in Dallas, Texas.  Trump arrived in Texas on Thursday with plans to hold rallies and fundraisers.

A “very large contingent” of former President Donald Trump’s security detail had used their social media accounts to “encourage the uprising” on Jan. 6, said author Carol Leonnig.Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

  • Two Secret Service agents were close to Trump and seen as his enablers, said: Carol Leonnig

  • The agents plan to dispute some of Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony about Trump, Leonnig said.

  • Many in Trump’s detail applauded the Capitol riots, said Leonnig, whose book covers the Secret Service.

Two top members of former President Donald Trump’s personal security service were “very, very close” to Trump and are “considered as being on a par with him,” said Carol Leonnig, a long-time investigative reporter at The Washington Post.

Leonnig is the author of the book “Zero Fail: The Rise and Fall of the Secret Service” and co-author of “I Alone Can Fix It,” which examines Trump’s final year as president.

Leonnig told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Wednesday Nights that many Secret Service agents also rooted in Trump’s detail for President Joe Biden’s failure and used their social media accounts to “encourage the uprising” at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

“There was a very large contingent of Donald Trump’s details, personally encouraging Biden to fail, and some of them even took to their personal media accounts to cheer for the uprising and the individuals who rode to the Capitol as patriots. said Leonig. said. “That’s problematic.”

“I’m not saying Tony Ornato or Bobby Engel did, but they’re seen as being on a par with Donald Trump, which cuts against them,” she added.

“But if they testify under oath, ‘This is what happened,’ I think that will be important because Cassidy Hutchinson can only say what she heard,” Leonning continued.

Ornato and Engel, both Secret Service agents, took center stage in part of a bomb testimonial by Hutchinson, a former top White House aide, on Trump’s behavior in the days leading up to and during the Capitol riots.

Hutchinson said Ornato, who was in charge of White House security, told her that Engel, the head of Trump’s detail, was with Trump on Jan. 6, 2021, in an armored SUV.

According to her testimony, Trump told Engel that he wanted to be taken to the Capitol, but the officer refused to take him there for security reasons.

She said Trump was furious at the refusal and that he reached for the wheel, causing Engel to grab Trump’s arm and tell him to take his hand off the wheel. Hutchinson said Trump then lunged at Engel, though the altercation eventually ended and Trump was taken to the West Wing.

However, multiple outlets have reported that Ornato and Engel are willing to testify before the House Committee investigating the Capitol attack that Trump did not jump behind the wheel.

Many Trump supporters on social media have said that the couple’s statements would “disprove” Hutchinson’s retelling of the incident and, in that vein, her entire testimony.

In particular, the incident involving the wheel was just one of many events Hutchinson described under oath, some of which she witnessed herself.

Leonnig told MSNBC that Ornato was viewed as “so pro-Trump” that he was suspected by one of former Vice President Mike Pence’s top associates as someone who “would try to evict Vice President Pence from the Capitol at a critical moment.” .”

At the time of the riots, Pence was in the Capitol and was set to certify the 2020 electoral votes that would bring Biden to the White House.

“Bobby Engel and Tony Ornato were very, very close to President Trump, and some people sometimes accuse them of being enablers, and yes-men of the president,” Leonnig said. “Especially Tony Ornato.”

She described them as “people who wanted to do what he wanted and please him,” adding that they frustrated other agents who were more focused on “security or being independent or good planning.”

“So both individuals lose a bit of credibility because of how closely they were viewed as being aligned with Donald Trump,” Leonnig added.

Read the original article Business Insider

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