On Thursday, POLITICO reported that Tony Ornato, a Trump administration official who has disputed several key points made by Cassidy Hutchinson at her surprise January 6 hearing earlier this week, has himself come under sharp scrutiny from the House Select Committee.
“Ornato, a Secret Service official who served a year as a political appointee in Trump’s White House, has reportedly signaled a willingness to contradict a high-profile element of Hutchinson’s testimony: that Ornato told her former President Donald Trump lunged toward the head of his detail on Jan. 6, 2021, in a push to be driven to the Capitol and join his supporters trying to disrupt Congress,” reported Kyle Cheney.
“But several members of the select panel say Ornato, not Hutchinson, is the one with credibility problems — and have moved to publicly preempt any doubts he might raise,” noted the report. “‘There seems to be a major thread here… Tony Ornato likes to lie,’ Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., tweeted Thursday after another former Trump White House official, Alyssa Farah, questioned Ornato’s honesty. Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., another Jan. 6 committee member, said in a Wednesday interview with NBC that Ornato ‘did not have as clear of memories from this period of time’ as Hutchinson did.”
Hutchinson made a number of bold claims about the former president in addition to the Secret Service incident, including that Trump knew his supporters were armed as they marched to the Capitol and demanded they be let in anyway — in violation of all security rules — because “they’re not here to hurt me.”
“Ornato, a veteran Secret Service agent of more than two decades with stints in the presidential protection division under former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, was detailed to the White House by Trump in late 2019 and appointed deputy chief of staff, an unusual arrangement for a law enforcement official,” noted the report. “He has interviewed twice with the select committee — once in January and once in March, according to two people familiar with his appearances.”
Reporters, too, have thrown suspicion on Ornato’s testimony, with Carol Leonnig telling MSNBC that he is “a Trump acolyte.”