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Trump's rage over election led to dish-throwing, assaulting Secret Service agent, aide says

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 29/06/2022 Merdie Nzanga and Joey Garrison, USA TODAY
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WASHINGTON – Former President Donald Trump wanted to follow his supporters into the House chamber on Jan. 6 and lunged at his head security detail when the driver of the presidential limousine took him in the other direction, according to a House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol

Trump's rage was on full display Tuesday in extraordinary detail at a hearing featuring testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson, a top aide to Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows. 

"We're going back to the West Wing. We're not going to the Capitol," Trump's security detail Robert Engel told Trump inside the presidential limo, according to Hutchinson. She said the president "then used his free hand to lunge towards Bobby Engel."

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The outburst occurred at the White House Ellipse after Trump spoke at a rally before a mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol. Hutchinson was relaying an account told to her by Anthony Ornato, deputy chief of staff, while Engel was also present. 

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Cassidy Hutchinson, a top former aide to Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, describes the actions of former President Donald Trump as she testifies during the sixth hearing held by the Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol. © Pool, Getty Images Cassidy Hutchinson, a top former aide to Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, describes the actions of former President Donald Trump as she testifies during the sixth hearing held by the Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

When Trump entered the limo, the president was under the impression from Meadows that a plan for him to head to the Capitol was "still possible," according to Hutchinson. Engel told him he could not go there because it was not secure. 

"The president had a very strong, very angry response to that," Hutchinson said. "Tony described him as being irate. The president says something to the effect of, 'I'm the f---ing president. Take me up the Capitol now.'"

Sitting in the back of his car in the motorcade, Trump reached forward and tried to grab the steering wheel to move the vehicle toward the Capitol, according to Hutchinson. 

"Mr. Engel grabbed his arm, said, 'Sir, you need to take your hand off the steering wheel.'"

It was then that Trump used his free hand to lunge toward Engel. Hutchinson said Ornato "motioned towards his clavicles" as he told the story. 

The hearing painted the picture of a president who erupted in anger as the reality of his exit from office set in – not just on Jan. 6 but in the weeks leading up to the insurrection.

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Recap: Trump lunged at a security chief on Jan. 6, demanded to go to Capitol, former White House aide tells hearing

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Furious after Attorney General Bill Barr announced December of 2020 that he found no evidence of widespread voter fraud in an interview with The Associated Press, Trump threw his lunch against the wall, according to Hutchinson.

Hutchinson said she saw a broken porcelain plate and "ketchup dripping down the wall" in the White House dining room after the outburst.

"The valet had articulated that the president was furious at the attorney general's AP interview and had thrown his lunch against the wall," Hutchinson said.

Such tantrums were not uncommon by Trump, she said.

"There were several times throughout my tenure with the chief of staff that I was aware of either him throwing dishes or flipping the tablecloth to let all the contents of the table go onto the floor and likely break or go everywhere," Hutchinson said.

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Reach Joey Garrison on Twitter @joeygarrison.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump's rage over election led to dish-throwing, assaulting Secret Service agent, aide says

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