Secret Service Official at Heart of Jan. 6 Hearing Retires

Frank Fang
By Frank Fang
August 30USshare
Secret Service Official at Heart of Jan. 6 Hearing Retires
A video of Cassidy Hutchinson, former White House aide, is shown on a screen during the seventh hearing held by the Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6th breach of the U.S. Capitol in the Cannon House Office Building in Washington on July 12, 2022. (Doug Mills/Pool/Getty Images)

Tony Ornato, who was former President Donald Trump’s deputy chief of staff for operations during the Jan. 6 Capitol breach, has retired from the U.S. Secret Service.

Ornato took on the White House post in December 2019, when the former president made the appointment saying that he was comfortable with Ornato since he had worked with the Secret Service official for three years. After President Joe Biden took office in 2021, he took on the position of assistant director of the Secret Service’s Office of Training.

His retirement now poses the question of whether he is still available to testify before the Jan. 6 committee, considering that his name came up when Cassidy Hutchinson, a former top aide to Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows, testified before the committee in late June.

“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,” Ornato said in a statement, according to Politico. “I long-planned to retire and have been planning this transition for more than a year.”

Ornato added that his retirement enables him “to pursue a career in the private sector.”

Anthony Guglielmi, the Secret Service’s communication chief, confirmed Ornato’s retirement to the outlet.

As for Ornato’s presence before the Jan. 6 committee, Guglielmi said he “continuously made Tony Ornato available,” while pointing out that Ornato is now a private citizen and not a federal employee.

During her testimony before the committee in June, Hutchinson alleged that Trump had disputes with the Secret Service on Jan. 6, 2021. She recalled hearing from Ornato that Trump allegedly “used his free hand to lunge” at Bobby Engel, the top agent on Trump’s Service detail, when the former president was told that he could not be taken to the Capitol after his speech at the Ellipse.

Hutchinson also alleged that Trump tried to seize the steering wheel from the driver of his presidential vehicle.

Trump has dismissed Hutchinson’s testimony, calling it a “fake story.”

“Her Fake story that I tried to grab the steering wheel of the White House Limousine in order to steer it to the Capitol Building is ‘sick’ and fraudulent, very much like the Unselect Committee itself. Wouldn’t even have been possible to do such a ridiculous thing,” Trump wrote on his Truth Social account in June.

Trump took to Truth Social again after the Jan. 6 committee’s decision to subpoena former White House counsel Pasquale “Pat” Cipollone.

“Now that fake storyteller Cassidy Hutchinson has been totally discredited and marginalized for making up the most ridiculous ever story that I tried to commandeer control of a moving White House Limo, and even went for a choke hold on the other very strong Secret Service Agent sitting in the front seat, in addition to her other lies, the Unselect Committee is asking to interview the former White House counsel for dirt, even though that would set a terrible precedent for future Presidents. NO!,” Trump wrote.

Ornato is not the only Secret Service official to retire in recent months.

Secret Service Director James Murray announced his retirement in July. His successor is Kimberly Cheatle, who served 27 years in the Secret Service, according to a White House press release.

From The Epoch Times

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