Jan. 6 Witness Anthony Arnado is at the center of a battle over credibility

In late 2019, President Donald J. Anthony M. is the Secret Service agent in charge of Trump’s security detail. Ornado resigned from his post. Then, Mr. The culture of civil strife that Trump has fostered throughout his tenure has sent the president’s top advisers frantically searching for a nominee. A key role to fill: Deputy White House staff for operations.

The title doesn’t fully capture the importance of the job, which includes ensuring continuity of government and overseeing the logistics of the president’s movements outside the White House, defense and military offices. With few options available and leaving the role, Dan Walsh and first lady Melania Trump’s chief of staff, Lindsay Reynolds, a well-known Mr. Mr. To Trump.

According to three former White House officials, Mr. Ornado didn’t like the job. At the time he was happily working at Secret Service headquarters. Like many agents, he worked across party lines in previous administrations, first protecting President George W. Bush’s daughter Barbara, then serving on President Barack Obama’s detail. However, it is highly unusual for an official from a non-political organization to serve in a top position in the White House.

But Mr. When Trump called to tell him he was hiring, he believed he had no choice, according to the officials. Mr. For the rest of Trump’s presidency, Mr. Arnaud was at the center of the West Wing, occupying an office down the hall from the Oval Office and adjacent to the office of Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and elder brother. Consultant.

Now, Mr. Arnado is at a center Dispute over events Jan. 6, 2021 during riots at the Capitol. He has witnessed major developments, a legitimate battle over credibility or, in the eyes of some critics, a mudslinging effort. Devastating account Mr. Actions by Trump and his aides were presented to the House Jan. 6 committee this week Cassidy HutchinsonAnother former White House aide.

In her public testimony, Ms. Hutchinson said that Mr. After Trump’s speech, Mr. He said he learned from Ornato.

He testified that Mr. Arnado told him that Mr. Trump had tried to persuade the Secret Service to take him to the Capitol to join his supporters. In his rejoinder, Mr. Ornado said Mr Trump tried to grab the steering wheel of the armored vehicle.

Hutchinson and Mr. Ornato said the president was “in the lungs” of his top Secret Service agent, Robert Engel. Mr. Engel, Mrs. Hutchinson testified that Mr. As Arnado recounted the story to him, Mr. Arnato’s account is not fixed.

Secret Service officers Mr. Arnado, Mr. Engel and the driver of the vehicle said they were willing to testify that no such incident occurred. (Prior to Ms. Hutchinson’s appearance this week, the panel had already interviewed Mr. Arnato and Mr. Engel.)

Mr. Officials did not deny that Trump angrily demanded to be taken to the Capitol. On the day of the riot, Trump administration officials told the New York Times that the president was angry while he was at the rally.

A Secret Service official, who asked that his name not be used to describe the potential witness, acknowledged a conversation with Ms. Hutchinson but said it played out differently than she described.

Jan. 6 Officers of the Committee, Mr. Seeking to bolster Hutchinson’s credibility, they Mr. They did not release the transcripts in question, citing inconsistencies in Arnato’s testimony. A former colleague, Alyssa Farah Griffin, He accused on Twitter They lied about an encounter they had during a 2020 protest outside the White House in Lafayette Square. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, Republican of Illinois, and member of the committee, He wrote on the social network“There seems to be a major thread here… Tony Arnado likes to lie.”

But Keith Kellogg, a former national security adviser to Vice President Mike Pence, like other former officials, Mr.

“I think the guy is a straight shooter,” said Mr. Former White House chief of staff John F. Trump has publicly broken with Trump. Kelly said, and Mr. Arnado with Mr. Profile of Trump. “There was never a second thought in my mind that wherever we went, we did the job the Secret Service was supposed to do and did it well.”

A former senior Trump administration official, Mr. He recalled asking Trump to allow him to attend a major public event with a day’s notice, and Mr.

In the first few years of Trump’s presidency, two former senior officials, Mr. Mr. Arnado, known as “Limo Doc” for the chief staff or one of his trusted assistants, Mr. Trump expects people to act, or the leader should know.

As the current Assistant Director of the Office of Training in the Secret Service, Mr. Ornado is based at Secret Service headquarters, though people close to the agency said he often visits a training facility in rural Maryland to talk with prospective agents. He has held various leadership positions at the agency, including the New York field office.

While there, he was responsible for all security operations, including the key task of ensuring the safety of officials at the UN General Assembly.

A native of a town outside New Haven, Conn., Mr. Ornado’s family owned a restaurant in town for a generation for local police officers and firefighters. In 2000 at the New Haven Secret Service office Mr. Bush ran for president. Mr. When Bush won, Mr. Ornado joined his daughter’s security team. He is Mr. Was under Obama, and was promoted a few times.

Mr. Trump at the White House. Those who worked with Ornado said they never saw the former president discuss his political views, even when seeking his views, because Mr.

But some officials were uncomfortable with the decision to name a member of the Secret Service, which has long sought to maintain nonpartisanship, as White House deputy chief of staff.

Rand Pearce, a former secretary of homeland security in the Obama administration, “had never heard of it.” Very embarrassing stuffPeople generally don’t think their silence is political so they protect their image.

“All I can say is, it’s extraordinarily unusual,” he said.

Luke Broadwater Contributed report.

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