A Secret Service official who testified before a contentious congressional committee on January 6 is quitting the service.
Assistant director of the agency responsible for the president’s safety, Tony Ornato, has resigned.
Monday, Ornato confirmed his resignation in a statement to CNN.
“I did retire today to pursue a career in the private sector. I retired from the U.S. Secret Service after more than 25 years of faithful service to my country, including serving the past five presidents,” the statement said.
“I long-planned to retire and have been planning this transition for more than a year.”
Ornato was catapulted into the public limelight after a former adviser to Chief of Staff for President Donald Trump’s White House, Mark Meadows, mentioned him in her statement before the House committee probing the January 6, 2021 Capitol invasion.
According to NBC News, the staffer, Cassidy Hutchinson, said that Ornato informed her that Trump grew “irate” during the day’s events.
Conservatives have disparaged Hutchinson’s evidence, which suggested that Ornato informed her that Trump reached aggressively for the steering wheel inside the presidential limousine. After delivering a morning speech on the White House Ellipse, Trump demanded to be driven to the Capitol, according to a former staffer of Mark Meadows.
According to Fox News, a person close to Ornato later refuted the statements Hutchinson had made during the hearing.
According to reports, the Secret Service man was “shocked” to discover himself mentioned as a witness for allegations he denies making.
An further Secret Service source has claimed that an agent in the presidential limousine, Bobby Engel, is prepared to testify against the allegation that Trump reached for the steering wheel.
Neither of the Secret Service agents described Trump lunging over the presidential limousine driver in an attempt to grab the steering wheel in their testimony, according to Fox.
The testimony of the Secret Service agents has not been released to the public. It’s not publicly known if they were asked about any altercation over the vehicle’s steering wheel vehicle and contradicted Hutchinson’s story, or if they were simply never asked about it at all.
NBC reported a source it did not identify saying the men were not asked.
The driver of the presidential limousine reportedly indicated a willingness to testify under oath against Hutchinson’s claims as recently as the end of June.
🚨 A source close to the Secret Service tells me both Bobby Engel, the lead agent, and the presidential limousine/SUV driver are prepared to testify under oath that neither man was assaulted and that Mr. Trump never lunged for the steering wheel.
— Peter Alexander (@PeterAlexander) June 28, 2022
The driver has not been identified.
Ornato’s departure from the Secret Service comes just after a senior FBI agent of the Washington field office was reportedly forced to resign under pressure.
According to agency whistleblowers, Timothy Thibault blocked an FBI inquiry into Hunter Biden’s laptop before the 2020 election.