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House GOP alleges January 6 committee withheld transcripts that undercut some of their most explosive claims

The January 6 committee withheld witness transcripts from the public that undercut some of their most explosive claims about the insurrection, House Republicans alleged in a report released Monday.

Some of the withheld transcripts include testimony from the driver of Trump’s SUV on January 6 and Trump White House officials, who poured cold water on the claim that, while driving home after his rally that day, he physically lunged toward the front of the car to try to force his security detail to take him to the Capitol.

“The testimony of these four White House employees directly contradicts claims made by Cassidy Hutchinson and by the Select Committee in the Final Report,” the new GOP report said, referring to the Trump White House aide-turned-whistleblower. “None of the White House employees corroborated Hutchinson’s sensational story about President Trump lunging for the steering wheel of the Beast.”

Ever since Hutchinson’s blockbuster public testimony in 2022 – where she implicated Trump and other top officials in fomenting the violence – Republicans have attacked her credibility. The SUV incident, which she said only heard about but did not witness, has been heavily disputed since her public testimony. But it is just one of many staggering, and often uncontested, revelations from Hutchinson.

The SUV driver testified to the January 6 panel that, Trump “never grabbed the steering wheel” and that “I didn’t see him, you know, lunge to try to get into the front seat at all,” according to the GOP report.

The driver is not identified in the Republican report. This testimony was not revealed by the now-defunct bipartisan January 6 committee, which was comprised of Democrats and two anti-Trump Republicans.

Hutchinson’s lawyer told GOP Rep. Barry Loudermilk of Georgia, the chairman of the House Administration Oversight Subcommittee, in a letter that she “has and will continue to tell the truth.”

“Let me be clear: since Ms. Hutchinson changed counsel, she has and will continue to tell the truth,” wrote William H. Jordan, Hutchinson’s lawyer, to Loudermilk. “While other individuals — often men who occupied more senior roles — would not speak with the Select Committee, Ms. Hutchinson and many other witnesses courageously stepped forward. Yet she now finds herself being questioned by you and your Subcommittee regarding her testimony and on matters that may also be the subject of ongoing criminal proceedings against Mr. Trump.”

Former chairman of the January 6 select committee, Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, slammed the GOP counter report as “dishonest” and “deceptive.”

Thompson asserted that their investigation “took into account the testimony of all witnesses, including the testimony that was released today” and the conclusion was that Trump was “irate” when his security detail told them he could not march to the Capitol.

“The Select Committee also explained clearly why the committee was obligated to send certain transcripts to the executive branch for review and released detailed letters addressing this matter, Loudermilk’s failure to mention the Select Committee’s December 22, 2022, letter is deceptive. The Select Committee was obligated to take these steps in order to protect sensitive information as well as the privacy of witnesses. These facts are inconvenient to Mr. Loudermilk, so he ignores them as he continues to smear the Select Committee’s work,” he said in a statement.

“Loudermilk is merely trying to deflect from Donald Trump’s responsibility for the violence of January 6th and his own refusal to answer the Select Committee’s questions,” he added.

The House Select Committee’s report on January 6 says that the “driver testified that he did not recall seeing what President Trump was doing and did not recall whether there was movement” during the car ride.

The report also says that Robert Engel, the lead agent in former President Donald Trump’s motorcade that day, “did not characterize the exchange in the vehicle the way Hutchinson described the account she heard … and indicated that he did not recall President Trump gesturing toward him.”

The report says that “the vast majority of witnesses” including multiple Secret Service members as well as a Washington, DC, police officer and national security and military officials “described President Trump’s behavior as ‘irate,’ ‘furious,’ ‘insistent,’ ‘profane’ and ‘heated’” during the drive from the Capitol following his speech at the Ellipse that day.

According to the report, both Engel and the driver of Trump’s SUV testified that “within 30 seconds of getting into the vehicle, the President asked if he could travel to the Capitol.”

“According to the Secret Service agent driving the vehicle, the President was ‘animated and irritated’ about not going to the Capitol,” the report says.

In this section of the report, the committee noted: “It is difficult to fully reconcile the accounts of several of the witnesses who provided information with what we heard from Engel and (then-deputy White House chief of staff Tony Ornato). But the principal factual point here is clear and undisputed: President Trump specifically and repeatedly requested to be taken to the Capitol. He was insistent and angry, and continued to push to travel to the Capitol even after returning to the White House.”

Beyond the dispute over Trump’s potential SUV lunge, some of the newly released transcripts do corroborate other testimony from Hutchinson and others, who said Trump was enraged that bodyguards refused his demands to take him to the Capitol. The January 6 panel argued that Trump’s desire to join the mob at the Capitol demonstrates that he supported their attempts to physically disrupt the congressional certification of the 2020 election.

“The president was insistent on going to the Capitol,” the driver testified, according to the new report.

Another unnamed Trump White House official said he was told that Trump was “irate” on the post-rally drive back to the White House.

According to the subcommittee’s report on Monday, the Department of Homeland Security said in February that they had 12 transcripts of current and past members of the Secret Service but were still reviewing them at the time “because their internal review is not yet complete.”

CNN’s Haley Talbot contributed to this report.

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