Trump Was Told People at Jan. 6 Rally Had Prohibited Items: Secret Service Agent

Trump Was Told People at Jan. 6 Rally Had Prohibited Items: Secret Service Agent
Police and protesters outside the U.S. Capitol's Rotunda in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. (Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images)

Then-President Donald Trump was told on Jan. 6, 2021, that some people were not being allowed into an area designated for his speech because they had prohibited items, a Secret Service agent says.

“At some point in that day, the president asked some variation of why a group of people—groups of people—weren’t being allowed inside the magnetometers,” the agent testified.

Robert Engel, another agent with President Trump, told the president “that it was because … they had prohibited items of some sort,” the agent said.

Items prohibited by the Secret Service include aerosols, ammunition, coolers, guns, and selfie sticks. Agents screened people at the magnetometers, or metal detectors.

The agent drove President Trump to and from the speech on the Ellipse, and Mr. Engel was in the vehicle with them.

As far as what exactly Mr. Engel said, “I don’t recall him being specific with what they had, beyond ‘prohibited items,’” the agent said. “In terms of his exact words, I don’t recall, but it was a version of, sir, a lot of people have things that we don’t allow through the magnetometers, so they’re just staying outside of the perimeter and watching from outside, essentially.”

The agent did not remember how President Trump responded.

The agent was speaking to the U.S. House of Representatives select committee that investigated the Jan. 6 events before disbanding in late 2022. The Epoch Times reviewed the transcript.

In other testimony, given by Anthony Ornato, another Secret Service agent on duty on Jan. 6, Mr. Ornato said that President Trump saw the crowd outside of the secure area and said he wanted them to come inside. Mr. Ornato said President Trump was angry and “chewed out” officials over the situation.

The officials “explained to him that the mags are wide open; the people outside don’t want to come in. They can see and hear him from where they are, and they don’t want to go through the mags,” Mr. Ornato said. One of the officials, Mr. Ornato added later, said that the people “have tents, they have chairs, they can’t come through the mags with that stuff.” The official said, “So they’re not going to come in, they’re going to stay out there to not lose their belongings.”

Mr. Engel also said some people had body armor and bicycle helmets.

The testimony partially backs up one claim made by Cassidy Hutchinson, who was an aide to the White House chief of staff at the time.

Ms. Hutchinson told the panel in a public hearing that President Trump thought the designated area was not full enough.

“He was angry that we weren’t letting people through the mags with weapons,” Ms. Hutchinson said. “But when we were in the offstage tent, I was in the vicinity of a conversation where I overheard the president say something to the effect of, ‘I don’t … care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me. Take the … mags away. Let my people in, they can march to the Capitol from here.”

The Secret Service told lawmakers, according to the committee, that agents seized 30 blunt weapons, 269 knives or blades, and 29 tasers from 28,000 people who were screened.

A spokesman for President Trump did not respond to a request for comment. An attorney for Ms. Hutchinson did not return an inquiry. The Secret Service did not respond to a request for comment.

Other portions of Ms. Hutchinson’s testimony were countered by the driver and Mr. Ornato, including her claim that President Trump tried grabbing the steering wheel of the vehicle because he wanted to go to the Capitol after his speech and the Secret Service lodged objections.

“The story was false and so ridiculous,” President Trump said on a podcast this week. He said later it was “made up.”

From The Epoch Times

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