Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, gave stunning testimony Tuesday to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.
After President Donald Trump’s speech at the Ellipse that day, he lunged at a Secret Service agent who refused to take him to the Capitol, she testified. She was told of the incident by Anthony Ornato, a senior Secret Service official, minutes after it happened in the presence of the agent Trump allegedly attacked, who appeared to be shaken up, she testified.
The Twitter account for Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee immediately dismissed Hutchinson’s testimony as hearsay.
But if the agent in question, Robert Engel, were called to testify and confirmed the story, it could no longer be called hearsay.
So can a Secret Service agent be subpoenaed?
Well, there’s precedent. In 1998, three agents protecting President Bill Clinton were compelled to testify before a grand jury about the president’s affair with a young intern as he was being investigated by independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr.
The Clinton administration fought the move for months — a fight that made it all the way to the Supreme Court. Just four minutes before the scheduled testimony, then-Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist declined to stop it.
Moments later, behind closed doors on July 18, 1998, a Starr deputy questioned then-agents Gary J. Byrne and John Muskett, plus retired agent Robert Ferguson. Days later, Clinton’s security lead, Larry Cockell, was also compelled to testify. Though the testimony was not public, it was ultimately published as part of the Starr report.