According to sources speaking to CNN, then-President Donald Trump demanded to go to the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 ahead of the riot and berated Secret Service agents when they refused his request.
The sources say circulating rumors about the incident were similar to the testimony given to the Jan. 6 committee from former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, who said she heard a story about how Trump allegedly lunged at a Secret Service agent and tried to grab hold the steering wheel of the presidential vehicle.
The details reportedly differ, but the sources say they were told that an angry confrontation did occur. The source, a longtime Secret Service employee, said the agents described Trump as "demanding" and that he said something similar to: "I'm the f**king President of the United States, you can't tell me what to do."
"He had sort of lunged forward -- it was unclear from the conversations I had that he actually made physical contact, but he might have. I don't know," the source said. "Nobody said Trump assaulted him; they said he tried to lunge over the seat -- for what reason, nobody had any idea."
The source says the story has been circulating since February of last year. Other stories about Trump breaking and throwing things during fits of anger circulated as well.
In a blockbuster appearance before the House committee investigating last year's attack on the US Capitol, Hutchinson delivered what opponents hope will be the evidence needed to run Trump out of town.
"This is the smoking gun," Sol Wisenberg, a former deputy to Bill Clinton impeachment investigator Ken Starr, told The New York Times of Hutchinson's testimony.
"There isn't any question this establishes a prima facie case for his criminal culpability on seditious conspiracy charges."
Trump and his allies have sought to discredit her testimony.
The New Jersey native had honed her interest in the business of government, studying for a political science degree in Virginia before interning for senior Republicans in Congress.
Hutchinson took a role at the White House's legislative affairs office and was promoted to be the principal aide to Meadows in March 2020, allocated a desk just a few steps from the Oval Office.
Working daily with lawmakers and White House officials at all levels, she was "in a position to know a great deal about the happenings in the White House," committee chair Liz Cheney said in her introduction.
Trump took to his Truth Social app, to fire off a 12-post rant dismissing Hutchinson as low-level and calling her a "total phony."
But several of her former colleagues vouched for her, arguing she was perfectly placed to report on activity at the very top.
Alyssa Farah Griffin, the White House director of strategic communications in Trump's final year in office, told CNN that Hutchinson was on a first-name basis with most members of congressional leadership.
"She would text with them. So she's seen everything," Farah Griffin said. "She's been in so many rooms."
With additional reporting by AFP
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