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Jan. 6 committee interviewing Secret Service agent in lead car of Trump motorcade on day of riot

The panel also plans to meet with the driver of Trump's presidential vehicle in the near future, three sources familiar with the matter said.
Then-President Donald Trump
Then-President Donald Trump at the Ellipse near the White House on Jan. 6, 2021.Brendan Smialowski / AFP via Getty Images file

WASHINGTON — The House Jan. 6 committee will meet Friday with a Secret Service agent who was in the lead car of former President Donald Trump's motorcade on the day of the riot, three sources familiar with the matter said.

The committee also has plans to meet in the near future with the driver of the SUV that Trump rode in on Jan. 6, 2021, the sources told NBC News.

The two interviews could shed light on the bombshell testimony that Cassidy Hutchinson, a former top aide to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, delivered before the committee during a public hearing this summer.

The lead car was in front of Trump's presidential vehicle on the day of the attack, according to CNN, which first reported the Friday meeting with the agent.

Anthony Guglielmi, the top spokesperson for the Secret Service, testified earlier this week before committee investigators about the testimony that Hutchinson shared under oath.

She said after his rally on Jan. 6, Trump tried to grab the steering wheel inside an armored SUV and lunged toward his security detail when he learned that he would not be taken to the Capitol, where a mob of his supporters were gathering.

Hutchinson said Tony Ornato, the White House deputy chief of staff for operations, told her about the incident. She also said Bobby Engel, who led Trump’s security detail, had not disputed Ornato’s account. Ornato and Engel both testified before the committee prior to Hutchinson’s testimony.

Hutchinson’s testimony came under scrutiny after sources said two witnesses were prepared to testify under oath that the incident never happened.

These interviews are part of the committee's depositions with several key Secret Service figures, including the head of former Vice President Mike Pence’s detail, Tim Giebels; the current agency spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi; former Secret Service Agent John Gutsmiedl; as well as several members of the details assigned to the motorcade carrying Trump to and from the White House on the day of the attack.

The committee subpoenaed the Secret Service for communications in July, shortly after it was revealed that most text messages sent by agents via. their official cellphones on Jan. 5 and 6, 2021, were deleted as part of a pre-planned phone upgrade.

According to two sources familiar with the matter, the Secret Service provided congressional investigators with more than 1 million electronic communications sent by agents in the lead-up to and during the insurrection at the Capitol, NBC News reported in October.

While the communications do not include text messages, they do include emails and other electronic messages, a Secret Service spokesperson said. The communications may shed light on lingering questions, including contact agents may have had with rioters, their efforts to protect then-Vice President Mike Pence and what occurred inside Trump’s car when he allegedly ordered Secret Service agents to take him to the Capitol.