Presidential Protection or Abduction: Why Secret Service Wrong for all the Right Reasons on Jan. 6

Below is my column in the Hill on the surprising claim this week that the Secret Service ignored direct and repeated demands of former President Donald Trump to go to Capitol Hill on January 6th. It is an allegation that raises some interesting questions. On one hand, the Secret Service is trained to take immediate action to protect a president. On the other hand, it cannot effectively control the presidency by controlling a president like a modern Praetorian Guard. In the end, if this account is true, the security team was likely wrong in refusing the order of the President to be taken to Capitol Hill.

Here is the column:

The sixth hearing of the House Select Committee on the Jan. 6 riot finally fulfilled the media’s billing as “must-see TV.” Indeed, at points, the testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson, a former top aide to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, sounded like a cable-series episode of “When Presidents Attack.” She alleged that an enraged Donald Trump threw his lunch against a White House wall, an allegation Trump denies.

But the hearing’s grabber came when Hutchinson testified that she was told that Trump became physical with his Secret Service security team, trying to force them to drive him to Capitol Hill as the riot unfolded.

Hutchinson’s testimony offers an explanation for a long-standing mystery: Why did Trump repeatedly say he would go to Capitol Hill with his supporters but then decided to return to the White House? Hutchinson’s surprising answer: He didn’t decide.

According to her second-hand account from people in the presidential limo, known as “The Beast,” Trump intended to do exactly what he promised and ordered the Secret Service to take him to the Capitol. But Tony Ornato, White House deputy chief of staff for operations, and Bobby Engel, who headed Trump’s security detail, reportedly refused.

Hutchinson said Ornato asked her, “Did you f-ing hear what happened in The Beast?’” She then repeated Ornato’s account:

“So once the president had gotten into the vehicle with Bobby, he thought that they were going up to the Capitol, and when Bobby had relayed to him, ‘We’re not, you don’t have the assets to do it, it’s not secure, we’re going back to the West Wing,’ the president had a very strong, very angry response to that … [Trump] said something to the effect of, ‘I’m the f-ing president, take me up to the Capitol now.’ To which Bobby responded, ‘Sir, we have to go back to the West Wing.’ The president reached up towards the front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel. Mr. Engel grabbed his arm and said ‘Sir, you need to take your hand off the steering wheel, we’re going back to the West Wing. We’re not going to the Capitol.’ … [Trump] then used his free hand to lunge towards Bobby Engel, and when Mr. Ornato had recounted this story to me, he had motioned toward his clavicles.”

Stunning though the allegation was, several media reports cite “a source close to the Secret Service” as denying the claim of a physical altercation and offering to have Engel or another official testify to that under oath.

Even if true, that still leaves the main allegation — that the Secret Service effectively made the President of the United States a captive and refused his repeated, direct orders on where to take him.

If true, the security team’s motivation certainly was commendable. It probably prevented Jan. 6 from getting much, much worse. Though the riot had not yet started when Trump allegedly issued his demand, both he and Vice President Mike Pence could have been in the midst of the uncontrolled violence, with uncertain communications and security.

The episode is likely to bedevil scholars for years, like much else in Trump’s presidency. For starters, what was the authority of the security team to refuse a direct order from a sitting president to go to Congress?

The Secret Service has always been a unique organization, but it remains, first and foremost, a law enforcement agency. During the Clinton impeachment, I represented former attorneys general in opposing a “Secret Service privilege” that would have recognized enhanced powers and privilege for agents.

The Secret Service has always assumed discretion in seizing a president to protect him from immediate harm. Its agents are trained to take control of a president or other protected persons in a moment of peril. They do not ask permission; they grab a president and, if necessary, carry him to safety.

This was not a case of an imminent threat, however. It was based, presumably, on a decision that the Capitol was not adequately secured. It was not unlike a president demanding to get out of The Beast to work a rope line or to make an unscheduled stop at a building. Theoretically, he has the authority to do that, not only as the head of the Executive Branch but as a citizen.

After 9/11, then-Vice President Dick Cheney recounted how involuntary these moments can become: “My agent all of a sudden materialized right beside me and said, ‘Sir, we have to leave now.’ He grabbed me and propelled me out of my office, down the hall, and into the underground shelter in the White House.” That was in the midst of a terrorist attack, of course, and Cheney perhaps could have countermanded the order.

Presidents are known to drive agents crazy with impromptu stops to shake hands with onlookers. Then-Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev sent Russian and American security scrambling with a sudden stop to greet citizens in the middle of Connecticut Avenue and L Street NW during a 1987 state visit.

So Trump reportedly decided he wanted to lead the protests to the Capitol and didn’t care about the security uncertainties — and he actually had a right to do so. Presidents can elect to put themselves in harm’s way. For example, Jimmy Carter pledged to stay at his desk to be incinerated in any nuclear war.

What if Trump got out and called a taxi or, even worse, a police officer? The Secret Service has no authority to put a president into effective custody against his will. In criminal procedure, a person is in custody when a reasonable person would have concluded that they are not free to go. In Trump’s case, he reportedly said he did not want to go back to the White House but was taken there anyway.

Was Trump effectively under arrest or in a custodial hold? Probably not, but it certainly is intriguing. The president could have gotten out of the limo; there is no report that Ornato locked the doors or turned a presidential protective mission into a presidential kidnapping.

It is unclear, though, what the Secret Service would have done if the president got out and tried to join his supporters in marching to the Capitol. The agents absolutely were correct that by doing so he would have put himself in danger — but the Secret Service cannot control the presidency by limiting the movement of a president. Otherwise, it can look like a modern Roman Praetorian Guard accused of dictating outcomes or events.

This act of disobedience may have saved the country from an even greater crisis, one in which the president and vice president stood on opposing sides of a protest line or, worse yet, in the middle of a full-fledged riot. The fact that Trump knew some of his followers were armed, according to Hutchinson’s testimony, only makes that prospect more nightmarish.

As usual, the Secret Service did not ask permission (as opposed to later forgiveness) in taking action in a president’s best interests. As a result, we did have a type of captive president, if only briefly. And it is worth contemplating the implications of that. After all, Trump was correct, if crude: He was “the f-ing president.”

In the end, the security team was correct on the merits but probably wrong on the law. This was not an unlawful order, and a president must be able to control his own travel. In other words, the agents were wrong for all the right reasons.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanTurley.

343 thoughts on “Presidential Protection or Abduction: Why Secret Service Wrong for all the Right Reasons on Jan. 6”

  1. If they had done what Trump asked (which you say was before the riot started) the Pres, if anyone, was more likely to keep things peaceful. If he was intending to go to the Capitol, he was probably not planinning to be surrounded by a riot. That makes no sense. Too bad this is just a Soviet show hearing and so no one can argue this point. I bet they don’t even call as witnesses the Secret Service Agents who deny this happened. Corruption by Congress andFBI and Biden keeps us from getting the whole story.

    1. The riot started before Trump ended his speech, so it wasn’t before the riot started.

      He reportedly was fine with his supporters carrying weapons because he didn’t think they’d use the weapons on him. If true, that suggests he’d be happy to be surrounded by a riot aimed at others.

      1. Very obvious, the Secret Service were also in on the INSURRECTION that was about to take place.
        Kept the Instigator in Chief, AWAY………BY FORCE.

        1. If you have actual evidence, not conjecture, you should present it. Without evidence, you sound like a conspiracy theorist.

  2. Love how Turley deliberately ignores the fact that the Secret Service agents in question immediately and categorically denied the allegations.

    1. Same here. Getting JFK dems to excoriate their party is like shaking generational Catholics from the church, even in the form of simple criticism. It is absolutely baffling when the evidence, particularly for a lawyer as storied as he, is staring one right in the face. It’s like a literal blood oath, and it is unreal. Can we please wake up before there are bullets flying?

    2. They didn’t.

      They’ve made no public statements.

      An anonymous source claiming to know them made a claim about them.

      None of this was under oath.

      All the Secret Service itself has said is “The United States Secret Service has been cooperating with the Select Committee since its inception in spring 2021, and will continue to do so, including by responding on the record to the Committee regarding the new allegations surfaced in today’s testimony.”

      Secret Service spokesman Anthony Gugliemi also told NBC News that the Secret Service has communicated to the Department of Homeland Security that any and all personnel requested by the Jan. 6 committee are available to testify under oath, responding to Tuesday’s allegations.

      Let’s see what they say under oath.

  3. The demand to call the secret service to the stand should be overwhelming by our leftist bloggers. Instead we hear everything but a demand for the secret service to testify as to the veracity of Huthinson’s testimony. Our leftist bloggers are not interested in any testimony that might ruin their outrage of the day. When the Jan 6 committee refuses to hear first hand testimony rather than hearsay will our leftist friends be calling for a more logical course of action? I ask a rhetorical question but you already know the answer. They will say damn the truth, it has nothing to do with the outcome we designed from the very beginning.

    1. Hutchinson made clear she didn’t have first-hand knowledge of the event because she wasn’t there. After noticing her colleage was in distress, she asked and she was told this by someone who WAS there, and if they come forward and deny what she said, that does not make her out to be a liar. He said–she said–doesn’t prove either is a liar, and certainly doesn’t undermine the rest of her testimony that is devastating: that Trump KNEW his disciples were armed, and wanted them to be armed. She has first-hand knowledge of this. Knowing Trump’s massive ego and his promise to lead the disciples, it makes sense that he would try to grab the steering wheel. But, you Trump disciples already are calling her a liar.

      1. Natacha,

        We here all know what a complete Liar you are, but let me ask, after Rep Schiff had his HollyWeird buddies cook up this script your preaching & Hutchinson read it under oath to the public, did Hutchinson give Liz Chaney, Nazi Pelosi & Hunter Biden Golden Showers at Trump Tower? Or in Russia?

        1. Did you know that until right before she testified that Hutchinson was represented by an attorney paid for by the Trump PAC, and that she decided, on her own, to get independent counsel? She was concerned about attempts to intimidate her by telling her Trump was watching her, and that he hoped she would “do the right thing”. She is a patriotic American and deicded to take the courageous path of speaking truth to power. She will pay a price, but at the end, will be more satisfied than if she had knuckled under to pressure from the ReTrumplicans. As to the rest of your comment, you prove what an archetypical pig most Trumpers are. When the facts get in the way, insult someone in the crudest fashion possible. This is more a reflection about what an intellectual loser you are than about me.

          1. Natacha,

            Your Maoist/Marxist Comrades have already ran multiple times these types of Schiff’s Hollyweard Scripts against the US Public & Trump & they’ve Failed every time.

            This is the USA, the people Demand Due Process & the USC/Bill of Rights be respected. Your are Not!

            You’re just an American Hating Piece of Trash if you’re not push for that!!!!

            And Americans demand the release of all the peaceful J6 Trump ralliers, invited in, now being held in the
            DC Gulags falsely charged!

            Below is the video of what Really Happened in the Beast!

            ******************

            What Really Happened Inside The BEAST: Actual Video

            49,239 views

            ·

            Jun 30, 2022
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            In order to corroborate social climber Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony to the J6 Committee, actual video has been released showing what happened inside the BEAST when Trump was told NO!

            Special thanks to @CarpeDonktum and @NautPoso for their tireless efforts in obtaining this actual video.

            https://banned.video/watch?id=62bdf4bd70b9165771456b90

          2. There is an unconfirmed rumour circulating that Julian Assange’s assistants have the ‘skinny’ on Ms. Hutchinson, who crafted her testimony, her affiliations and what they suggest, dating back to high school and college days, boyfriends/girlfriends, the usual collection of human lifestyle data…..we shall see soon enough.

            1. Hi Richard,

              I do not wish to see the young lady defamed or discredited any more than has already been done. Tabloid style smears are the realm of the left and there is no reason to stoop to that low level. She will have to live with the notoriety of her appearance before the J6 committee for the rest of her life and that is enough.

              Even now she has probably realized that she was nothing but a pawn for the Committee to use and then to cast aside once she has become ‘spoiled goods’. It is sad to observe how casually the J6 committee will use someone like this as cannon fodder.

      2. An investigation interested in the facts, would have the person(s) present, testify. Having a low level grunt do the dirty work defines the committee.

          1. Anomaly,

            Yes, both agents already testified but their testimony did not include the story told by Hutchinson.

            Did you not know know this?

      3. That she lied about Trump grabbing at the wheel (a physical impossibility in that SUV), and about the note she claims she wrote, discredits her testimony. If she’s willing to lie about some things, one has to question it all. Disinformation is what this Stalin-style inquisition is all about: suppress the truth and twist the facts to tell their desired storyline, no matter how ridiculous. E.g. they claim the protesters were “armed” yet no firearms were found on anyone inside the Capitol. The few who were violent were mild compared to the BLM rioters. They didn’t cover the place with obscene graffiti nor burn anything down. They didn’t even destroy any police vehicles, which is very much the thing to do at a BLM Riot.

        1. She didn’t claim that Trump did any of what she described.

          She claimed that it’s what Tony Ornato told her. If he told her what she testified, then her testimony was honest, even if he wasn’t accurately describing what occurred.

        2. And as any of us have heard while viewing television shows in which the Prosecutor is grilling a witness: ‘were you lying then or are you lying now? — which is it?’
          So Ms. Hutchinson, which is it. And as any learned student of the law would tell us, it is axiomatic that once a witness knowingly supplies untruthful testimony, it taints all of his or her testimony.

          1. It hasn’t been established that any of her testimony was untruthful.

            It certainly hasn’t been contradicted by anyone under oath.

            1. Ha, Ha. This guy keeps pushing the worst ideas. Exaggerated hearsay is now his tune, and he believes that when anyone hears exaggerated hearsay it’s true unless proven false. He probably believes Orson Wells’ War of the Worlds happened.

    2. I wonder what the SS will be saying in a few months about Hunter/Joe Biden, Pelosi, Schumer, McConnell, McCarthy, Hillary etc., & their under handed dealings with China, Russia, Ukraine, etc., in a few months?

      Looks Goopy with all those underaged kids they’ve been around.

      Ashley Biden’s Diary pictures online, if you wish.

  4. This might be of interest to some of you: there is no Wikipedia article about Ahmad Al Aliwi Al-Issa, the Boulder King Soopers shooter. An event as important as this,
    one would think that there would be. And his name has no hyperlinks, either, in this article:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2021_Boulder_shooting

    Does Wikipedia do damage control for Muslims?

    1. No, according to WP’s guidelines, “A person who is known only in connection with a criminal event or trial should not normally be the subject of a separate Wikipedia article if there is an existing article that could incorporate the available encyclopedic material relating to that person”: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Notability_(people)#Crime_victims_and_perpetrators

      That is true for right-wing people known solely for committing a crime, left-wing people known solely for committing a crime, etc.

    2. I don’t know why he doesn’t have a page, but Timothy James McVeigh does. Leftists and Islamists stick together to destroy America even though Islamists are against women’s rights, gays, and abortion. When one is a Marxist or a follower of Marxist Revolutionary ideas, one throws the cards and hopes they land right.

      As we can see, the Biden administration threw the cards, and we have inflation, high gas prices, a lack of baby formula, and food scarcity. Add to that all sorts of industrial products and other things stuck in the supply chain.

      The left and Democrats threw the cards to enrich themselves while impoverishing hard-working American families.

      ATS will continue to talk from his alternative orifice.

  5. “This act of disobedience may have saved the country from an even greater crisis…”

    In that case, seems the agents were right for all the wrong reasons, Jonathan.

  6. The information about J6 has barely begun to emerge. Why are federal agencies refusing to release thousands of hours of video from that day? Why are federal agencies refusing to indicate whether and how many of their agents and informants were embedded with the protesters on J6 and the days leading up to J6? Why have the deaths of the protesters who died on J6 not been reviewed by independent investigators who have no connection with the federal government? Why did some members of the Capitol Police force welcome protestors into the Capitol on J6? Why has Nancy Pelosi not been questioned under oath as to why she did not have National Guardsmen protecting the Capitol on J6?

    1. THIS is the issue..! Why did not Pelosi follow the request of the President and get National Guardsmen..? She also did not sign the request to get additional security for the Justices after the leak of Roe v Wade, and, we saw how the Justices were threatened not only themselves but their family as well. THIS is what should be investigated. The government coup was never ever by the President but by those who wanted him to disappear. Democrats alliance with billionaires and foreign countries who have no interest in us as people or our nation is the real issue that should be investigated and government officials should be punished. J6 is just a lot of lies perpetrated to keep Pres. Trump out and them in to further their agenda.

    2. You’re just repeating the slop you h eard on Fox. Federal agencies do not have all of the video from that day, and some of the video just released came from independent, private sources. There’s no evidence that any “agents and informants were embedded” with the protesters. There was a British video journalist who was embedded with the Proud Boys and he did testify on the first day and showed his video. No member of the Capitol Police “welcomed” the insurrectionists. Nancy Pelosi has NO authority over the Capitol Police or National Guard. All lies. There wouldn’t have been any need for the National Guard or anyone else but for Trump lying about losing an election. If you are a patriot, that should concern you.

      Here’s a bigger question: why did Trump stir up his fans to riot over his election loss? He KNEW he lost because everyone except Giuliani told him so. He was told by several secretaries of state that they wouldn’t gin up fake votes for him and he lost over 60 lawsuits. 38 audits prove he lost, so why did he keep lying and trying to stir people up, and why did his campaign meet with the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers at the Willard Hotel to plan the insurrection? What was there to “protest”–the fact that he lost and he can’t deal with the truth? And why Jan 6th, other than an intentional effort to take over the Capitol and prevent Biden’s genuine victory from being certified as a desperate measure to try to hang onto power illegitimately? Why do you believe lies instead of the overwhelming truth that your hero is dangerous and anything but a patriot?

  7. Gutfeld came out with a great one. The January 6th commission makes the Hindenburg look like a fender bender.

  8. Josh Wingrove, Bloomberg’s WH correspondent: “Trump left the Jan. 6 rally in the SUV version of the Beast, fwiw, as opposed to the limo.”

  9. Didn’t read the above. One thing I don’t need is to listen to anybody blather on about how great this or that agency is and how they were super cool on J6. How many FBI agents encouraged these folks to go into the Capitol? Why were the doors opened? Why wasn’t the National Guard used? Why is Ray Epps a free man? Why not release 14,000 hours of video? Why are people in jail interminably? Let’s talk real about J6.

    1. Why don’t you already know the answers to your questions, most of which have been discussed elsewhere?

      1. Maybe he knows and politely informs you that you don’t have the slightest idea of what happened on J6. He seems to know, but you do not. You fail in the truth department and promote hearsay, neglecting any other evidence. Here are two sites providing proof of what you wish to hide.

        1) One shows the killing of Roseanne Boyland, the killing of Ashli Babbitt, the death of two other protestors likely caused by the police, and the disregard of the police over those trying to save Boyland’s life while the police sprayed teargas in the tunnel while moving forward and crushing people. It also talks a bit about the imprisonment of 15 protestors most likely to know what happened at the West Tunnel along and their confinement in solitary. Further, it explains how at least one person was denied the ability to see his attorney repeatedly. This is all on video, so it is tangible, not the fantasies that run in your head.

        https://rumble.com/v17h6qx-the-truth-of-january-6th.html
        Start at 10:30 for the death of Roseanne Boyland and 8:00 if you are curious how those heavy bomb-proof doors got open.
        2) “[EXCLUSIVE] J6 Detainee Says Pretrial Solitary Confinement Is ‘Inhumane,’ ‘UnAmerican’
        Jacob Lang has been sitting in the D.C. jail without a trial date for almost a year. Arrested and charged in the riots at the Capitol on January 6th, 2020 Lang and 40 others have been awaiting justice while living in conditions that are deplorable.”

        A filed lawsuit appears to confirm police brutality. The state is preventing him from coming to trial before a jury.

        The jailers cut off his interview mid-sentence, and from then on he couldn’t make phone calls.
        The powers in control (Pelosi) know how badly and illegally they have acted and are trying to put time between J6 protestor’s complaints, and when those complaints are finally revealed. It will soon approach 2 years and information not available before is slowly seeping out.

        https://pjmedia.com/news-and-politics/megan-fox/2022/01/10/watch-jan-6-prisoner-jacob-lang-solitary-confinement-is-the-state-of-medical-tyranny-in-america-n1548449

  10. Yup. What was saddest to me is that so many people just assumed the Secret Service has the authority to tell POTUS where to go and when. I find many people under 40 don’t even realize how our fed govt is constituted and what its powers are, no less what POTUS powers are. Like Trump is free to risk his life in that way if he chooses to. If the Secret Service sees a guy with a gun, they can react to that imminent threat. Fyi, this isolation from the public is what gives a more and more imperial vibe to our fed govt. The roadblocks and barriers and massive fences etc. all lend to the image that the govt is afraid of the people. And has a life of its own somehow.

  11. She says the Secret Service agent said “Did you f-ing hear what happened in The Beast?”. The Beast is the name given to the Presidential Limo. Trump did not depart the rally in the Beast. He departed the rally in an SUV. I’m pretty sure the agent knows the difference between the Beast and an SUV but does she? She’s a liar. Peter Alexander, NBC News Chief White House Correspondent, tweeted days ago…”A source close to the Secret Service tells me both Bobby Engel, the lead agent, and the presidential limousine/SUV driver are prepared to testify under oath that neither man was assaulted and that Mr. Trump never lunged for the steering wheel.” Will the J6 committee allow them to testify on National TV? I doubt it. The narrative the committee wanted to spread is already out and the media is lapping it up.

    1. According to you, what name is used for the Presidential SUV?

      “She’s a liar.”

      You haven’t presented any testimony under oath that contradicts her. “A source close to the Secret Service” isn’t even an eye witness (and probably not even a Secret Service employee — certainly not an official statement from the Secret Service), much less an eye witness testifying under oath.

      Also, with respect to her truthfulness or lack of it, the issue actually isn’t whether what she described occurred, but whether Tony Ornato told her what she recounted; after all, she didn’t claim it occurred, she only claimed that that’s what he told her. He apparently has a history of denying things he’s said: https://twitter.com/Alyssafarah/status/1542247899383402498

      1. You seem to lack logic when providing your opinion. You call one person a “liar’ who has some of the highest clearance, while you take third-hand hearsay as the gospel.

        You have a screw loose.

        1. “You call one person a “liar’ …”

          I didn’t call anyone a liar in my 11:02 comment. The sole occurrence of the word “liar” in that comment is where I quoted Sergeant Major’s assertion “She’s a liar.”

          You’re the one with a screw loose if you imagine that I made claims I didn’t make.

          Also, since you apparently didn’t know, Alyssa Farah Griffin was White House Director of Strategic Communications and Assistant to the President in the Trump administration. Is that who you’re saying had “some of the highest clearance”? (sarc)

          1. “I didn’t call anyone a liar”

            You call disagreement a lie. You call hearsay evidence.

            1. “You call disagreement a lie.”

              The word “lie” didn’t appear in my 11:02 AM comment either.

              You’re delusional.

              1. One only has to look at what you have said previously and your inferences. One need not waste too much time with a known liar.

                1. One only has to read your comments to know you’re looking in the mirror when you insult.

  12. The Secret Service has been caught in lies before, and they will do it again to protect their charge. The fact the J6 committee allowed Hutchinson to say what she said only reinforces that they already knew what the answer was. The Secret Service number 1 job is to protect the POTUS, and not to let them do as they please in dangerous situations. Frankly, I wish they would have let him go to the Capital, then the whole world would have seen for themselves that Trump was the Coup d’etat leader all along.

    1. If Trump had organized a coup d’etat, it would have great coup d’etat. Maybe the best ever.

  13. Meanwhile Americans are strapped financially to buy groceries, clothing and school supplies for children, gasoline/transportation, affordable housing considering rent for housing across the nation has exploded, they are postponing medical treatments, suffering untold numbers of mental health symptoms, and live in constant fear with Democrats pearl clutching and violent crime fueled in no smart part by blacks. The Democrats control the White House, Congress and the news media. Their inaction on addressing Americans real concerns are reprehensible.

    CNN interviewed Joe Biden’s Director of National Economic Council, Brian Deese

    CNN: What do you say to those families who say, listen, we can’t afford to pay $4.85 a gallon for months, if not years. This is not sustainable.”

    Deese: This is about the future of the Liberal World Order, and we have to stand firm.

    1. Like all Democrats, he said nothing, addressed nothing, explained nothing. It’s Democrats agenda and they couldn’t care less for any of us.

      1. “. . . he said nothing . . .”

        Actually, he said *everything* about the radical Left’s agenda.

        “[T]he future of the Liberal World Order”:

        That “future” is total government control over the individual’s life — over his economic life and over the opinions he is allowed to hold and to express.

        “[W]e have to stand firm.”

        That means: “Yes, Americans are suffering. But that deprivation is for a good cause — our desire for absolute power. That suffering is not a bug; it’s a feature. You will continue to make sacrifices, and shut up — or else.”

  14. Currentsitguy says:

    “…from a committee hell bent and pushing a predetermined narrative.”

    Turley positively disputes your characterization:

    “Many of us support the effort to bring greater transparency to what occurred on Jan. 6th and these hearings have offered a great deal of important new information. Indeed, it has proven gut-wrenching in the accounts of lawyers and staff trying to combat baseless theories and to protect the constitutional process.”

    http://jonathanturley.org/2022/06/30/key-witnesses-challenge-bombshell-allegations-of-key-witness-before-the-1-6-committee/

    Turley must be suffering TDS, huh?

  15. I am one of your greatest fans. I find your commentary both thoughtful and insightful, I was therefore dismayed at how you and others seem to accept the testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson as fact when by her own admission she had no direct personal knowledge of the tale she was spinning and was just parroting what she had been told. I was suspicious from the beginning because Presidents do not normally ride on the front seat and, regardless of the vehicle used, you simply cannot “lunge” for the steering wheel from the rear. The point has been made that she had no motive to lie. To a young person, being wined and dined by famous politicians creates its own motivation. I suspect she will now earn serious money with speaking engagements.

    1. She made clear that she did not witness first-hand Trump’s effort to grab the steering wheel. The rest of her testimony was first-hand, and the point about the steering wheel is minor compared to the other revelations of which she DID have first-hand knowledge: that Trump KNEW the faithful were armed, that he demanded that the magnetometers be taken away so they could carry arms, that he intended to go to the Capitol, and that his ego was bruised by the fact that the crowd wasn’t as big as he wanted. Focusing just on the part about what happened in the limo because it wasn’t first-hand is disingenuous and even if someone actually comes foreward, under oath, to dsipute it, that amounts only to he said–she said, not that she lied or that the rest of her testimony isn’t credible. We also know that Bill Barr told Trump that there was no proof of widespread election fraud, so it’s not much of a stretch to believe that he threw a tantrum and smashed his dish against the wall of the dining room. We know he behaves like a petulant child when he doesn’t get his way.

  16. How does a passenger in the rear of a limo try to grab the wheel when the driver is behind an internal bulletproof screen?

      1. You don’t know for sure, but how does it matter. My SUV is smaller than the President’s and I can’t reach the steering wheel.

        You seem to have the brains of an ape, so maybe your arms are longer. Is that why you are making such a mistake?

  17. Has anyone ever thought about another great figure, Winston Churchill? Churchill didn’t shy away from danger, and his protectors had problems constraining him during bombings and when he decided to fly to France. The Nazis were closing in on Paris at the time.

    Great leaders, like Trump and Churchill, lead. It seems many need to reassess their understanding of leadership.

    1. I should have added that such interactions between the POTUS and his detail should never be made public for security reasons. It is also a stretch for Congress to get into the private affairs affecting only the Executive branch. Congress has crossed over the line extending its power where it doesn’t belong.

      Pelosi refuses to release the videos at the Capitol Building or the Testimony of Byrd, a presumed murderer. Security was used as a reason which was unadulterated BS. These videos affect the nation and hundreds of people. The murder of a citizen by a government official acting under orders that travel up to the top, Pelosi, is material for the DOJ and executive branch along with the American people, as has been demonstrated repeatedly whenever a police officer shoots and kills a person.

      The dichotomy seen in the release of information demonstrates that J6 is political and not for legislative purposes. It should not exist in its present fashion.

      One doesn’t use third-hand information to pass legislation. Even worse is the third-hand information from Hutchinson, which, on its face, is wrong or a lie.

      If Congress wants to investigate executive branch procedures, it should have a firm legal basis. There was none, and this particular line of questioning was dangerous to the nation and the separation of powers.

    2. Paraphrasing Lloyd Bentsen: I served with Winston Churchill. I knew Winston Churchill. Winston Churchill was a friend of mine. Trump is no Winston Churchill.

      1. Trump is not Churchill but he is a strong intelligent leader.

        Contrast that with you and Biden.

        1. Trump is many things, but intelligent and a good leader aren’t among them. They had to dumb down the presidential daily briefings because he either didn’t care or couldn’t grasp the import of what was given to him. He drove this country to the brink of diaster both economically and vis a vis public health by his absolute lack of leadership skills.

          1. What bothered you the most about Trump.
            The lack of wars
            record low unemployment
            accords between Israel and Muslim Nations
            Highest real growth in real wages since the 60’s
            Strongest NATO since its inception
            Lowest unemployment for minorities
            Net energy exporter

            Which of these basket of deplorable most twisted your knickers?

  18. I believe the proper villains would be famous if the Secret Service had followed orders.

  19. In the end, if this account is true,…

    A charitable post.

    After a brutal term of Supreme Court losses, a box office flop for the Jan. 6 commission and their disastrous choice of President, it’s kind of you to devote a post to comfort your liberal base. They live in this imagineering world and should be quite comfortable fantasizing whatever alternative reality comes to mind.

    Happy Independence Day!

    1. Olly says:

      “it’s kind of you to devote a post to comfort your liberal base.”

      Yeah, right, all 5 of us liberals here! This blog is 98% infested with Trumpists. Turley is speaking the truth to you and your ilk. He’s not criticizing Andrew McCarthy’s alleging criminal conduct on the part of Trump.

      The tables are turning.

      1. Yeah, right, all 5 of us liberals Leftists here! This blog is 98% infested with Trumpists. Conservatives>

        Turley has always attracted those interested in constitutional law. He maintains his large base of conservative followers because his worldview is dominated by constitutional law and not politics. I’ve been on here now for 3 different administrations and Turley’s worldview hasn’t changed. While his heart leans left of center, his mind remains firmly fixed on the constitution. To the Leftists on this blog, that’s been problematic. Turley will bend but not break. He’s principled. You love him when he bends and hate him when he won’t break. That’s not principled. Lastly, to conservatives, being a called a Trumpist is not an insult. It’s a childish epithet coming from a frustrated Leftist that has been on a 6 year losing streak.

        1. Olly says:

          “You love him when he bends and hate him when he won’t break.”

          I neither love nor hate Turley. I can’t love or hate anyone whom I have never befriended. I don’t hate you Olly, but I do pity your faith in god and trust in Trump.

          You say:

          “While his heart leans left of center, his mind remains firmly fixed on the constitution. To the Leftists on this blog, that’s been problematic. Turley will bend but not break. He’s principled.”

          I agree with you apart from the comment that Turley’s fixation on the Constitution is problematic to Leftists only. It is also problematic to Trumpists as evidenced by the many Trumpists here who believe in a “Deep State” and criticize Turley for defending the 1/6 committee.

          You say:

          “being a called a Trumpist is not an insult. It’s a childish epithet coming from a frustrated Leftist that has been on a 6 year losing streak.”

          Correct. “Trumpist” is not an insult unless you believe “being a follower of Trump” is insulting. When I want to insult Trumpists, I append “lying” to “Trumpists.”

          6 year losing streak? If Trump is ultimately indicted, prosecuted and convicted, Leftists will have been vindicated at long last.

    2. According to most Americans, the SCOTUS is infested with radical right wing politicans in robes, hell-bent on forcing Americans to live according to the values. They decide how a case will turn out and then twist the facts and laws to fit the predetermined outcome. Most Americans are appalled by what the SCOTUS has done. It kow tows to radical right wing interests and the Koch Brothers, who have pushed to emasculate the EPA. If the EPA can’t regulate greenhouse gases, then who can, and if we don’t, what help is there for the planet? Their recent rulings overturning decades of jurisprudence are widely viewed as a joke, according to most Americans. And, millions of Americans ARE tuning in to the Jan 6th hearings. They are turning against Trump.

      Trump started with a booming economy and turned it into the worst recession since the Great Depression. He allowed a pandemic to get out of control by lying about the seriousness of it on purpose. Schools, factories and businesses shut down for about 2 years, and some never recovered. Trump’s tax breaks for the wealthy resulted in a record national debt that Biden has been paying down. Interest on the debt alone is helping drive inflation. Biden has turned around the disaster he was handed by Trump’s utter failure as a leader. Schools, factories and businesses are open, COVID is under control, unemployment, which stood at 10% is now below 3.5%, and consumer demand is so high that production can’t keep up, which is causing prices to increase. This is due to Trump’s trade war with China, causing shortages of consumer goods and computer chips, plus factory slow downs and shut downs. Putin invaded Ukraine because he believed that Trump’s trash talking of the EU and NATO would alienate them from the US and that an effective defense couldn’t be mounted unless the allies were aligned against him. Biden helped unite the EU and NATO, and Finland and Sweden have been invited to join. Ukraine is holding its own. The pandemic, during which school buses weren’t running, people were either unemployed or working from home and weren’t going on vacations, all of which drove down demand and for which production was cut back, the war in Ukraine and sanctions against Russia, plus the fast economic turn around are causing the global price of gas to skyrocket. Trump is responsible for all of these things, about which Fox can lie all it wants, but THESE ARE FACTS. Your belief that Trump did a good job is the true “alternative reality”.

      1. According to most Americans…

        Wow! That’s sounds like a big number. If it is true, then they should not be alarmed by the West Virginia v the EPA. And why? Because the ruling didn’t say the agency couldn’t have regulatory powers over greenhouse gases. What SCOTUS actually did was tell the agency they did not have the power to draft and impose regulations that weren’t specifically provided to them by statute. Oh no! 😱 That sounds a lot like the Separation of Powers. What does that mean moving forward? So instead of unelected bureaucrats interpreting vague laws to mean whatever they want them to mean, the Legislative body representing all Americans will have to provide specific statutory authority in how the EPA will regulate greenhouse gases. That means the Legislative branch will no longer be able to dodge responsibility when they vote to provide the Executive branch agencies specific guidance. And according to you, if “most Americans” want the EPA to regulate out the fossil fuel industry, then they will vote accordingly.

        Show me a member of the Legislative branch that doesn’t want their Article I power back and I’ll show you a member that lied when they took their oath of office.

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