Tony Ornato quits Secret Service, 2 days before Jan. 6 inquest: report

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  • Tony Ornato, the Secret Service agent who ran the Donald Trump detail, has retired from the agency.
  • Ornato was central to Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony about Trump’s behavior on January 6, 2021.
  • He was due to be interviewed by DHS investigators on August 31, The Intercept reported.

Tony Ornato, the longtime Secret Service agent who headed former President Donald Trump’s security detail, left the Secret Service on Monday, according to multiple media reports.

His departure came two months after he was identified as a central figure in former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson’s explosive testimony before the House committee investigating the Capitol riot.

Hutchinson shared with the panel what Ornato told her about Trump’s behavior before and during the Jan. 6, 2021, uprising. Among other details, she said Ornato told her how Trump tried to grab the steering wheel. from the vehicle he was traveling and lunged at a Secret Service agent while demanding to be taken to the Capitol.

Ornato told CNN in a statement, “I retired today to pursue a career in the private sector. I have retired from the United States Secret Service after more than 25 years of loyal service to my country, including serving the last five presidents. I have long planned to retire and have been planning this transition for over a year.”

He also told the outlet that he has not taken on any role with Trump or the former president’s organizations.

His retirement comes two days before he is scheduled to be interviewed by Department of Homeland Security investigators as part of an investigation into the Capitol riot, according to The Intercept.

The outlet reported that it obtained several emails sent between Ornato and DHS investigators, in which Ornato agreed to an interview on August 31. The Intercept reported that investigators wanted to speak with Ornato as early as June 29 but that he told them he’d be on vacation and “go around” with them after August 24.

According to The Intercept, Ornato indicated in an email that he still intended to attend the interview. However, investigators can no longer compel him to cooperate as a federal employee with his testimony as he is now a private citizen.

Members of the House Oversight Committee noted a pattern of former officials refusing to be interviewed for investigations into Trump after they resigned. In response, the committee introduced the IG Testimonial Subpoena Authority Act, which would give investigators the power to subpoena people beyond current federal employees. However, the bill has yet to pass the Senate.

CNN previously reported, citing an unnamed source, that Ornato met with the House Jan. 6 Select Committee in January and March — before Hutchinson’s testimony. Questions and answers from these sessions have not been published.

In July, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat on the committee, said the group intended to speak with Ornato again.

It remains unclear whether Ornato will eventually respond to Hutchinson’s claims under oath, but he reportedly privately disputed Hutchinson’s claims regarding conversations they shared about Trump that day.

He has also been accused by former White House officials Olivia Troye and Alyssa Farah Griffin of lying for the former president.

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