On Tuesday, the Jan. 6 committee hearing featured testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson, former Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows’ aide. It was damning. Hutchinson went on the record reiterating what she had told investigators previously, detailing the many things she saw and heard before and during Jan. 6, 2021. Her testimony touched on Trump’s insistence that he join the riot at the Capitol, his knowledge of armed MAGA audience members, the bizarre disappearing act Meadows performed, and the fact that leading up to the “Stop the Steal” rally, Trump’s own lawyer knew that crimes were most likely being committed.
One of the more explosive moments in Hutchinson’s testimony concerned her recounting of what Trump’s former lead Secret Service agent turned political adviser Anthony Ornato told her about Donald Trump’s actions, alleging he attacked his chief security official, Robert “Bobby” Engel, when Engel would not allow him to lead the rioters at the Capitol grounds. This reportedly took place after Trump left the Stop of Steal rally on Jan. 6, 2021. Since that time, the right-wing-o-sphere and traditional news outlets have put out not-exactly-verified rumors that Ornato denies ever recounting these events to Meadow’s top aide. Of course, Ornato and Engel have also not appeared under oath to put their money where their mouths are. Whether these two come forward and say Hutchinson has perjured herself or simply say they do not recall remains to be seen.
On Thursday, Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California, who is on the Jan. 6 committee, suggested that Trump’s fundraising may be connected not simply to crimes of scam artistry, but crimes of coercion of witnesses. It seems that Ornato and Engel may be hiding in the shadows finding out where exactly that money is before they go on the record.