The dubious “Trump reaching for the steering wheel on January 6” video

Via Mediaite, there’s a tacit belief in the Internet era that the evidence to settle any dispute is out there, waiting to be found if you’re willing to search hard enough.

Even an unsolvable dispute like a he said/she said between Cassidy Hutchinson and Tony Ornato about what Trump was doing in the presidential SUV on January 6.

Obviously no one apart from those who were in the vehicle will ever know if he tried to grab the steering wheel or lunged at an agent who tried to intervene. Yet the silliness below has more than a million views on Twitter today, a testament to the power of motivated reasoning:

“Someone’s going to have to produce better images that this, it just looks like a bunch of blobs to me,” said Liz Mair. It looks like blobs to me too. The most I can say is that a hand — maybe Trump’s hand, maybe not — reaches up and forward at one point for reasons unknown.

This clip, which sheds no additional light, is approaching 700,000 views as I write this:

Why would he have grabbed the wheel to keep them from leaving if he wanted to go to the Capitol? He would have demanded they drive there or, if he wanted to throw caution to the wind, he would have refused to get in the SUV in the first place and would have begun walking.

Even so, the likes of Keith Olbermann are impressed with the footage. They want it to be true and so it is. It’s like a left-wing version of the infamous surveillance video supposedly showing Georgia poll workers unboxing illegal ballots in the dead of night.

There’s another tacit belief that colors politics in the Internet age, that every dispute with the other side must be litigated to the fullest — even when doing so is harmful to your own cause. Liberals will never prove that Trump got aggressive in the SUV and every minute they insist on fighting on that turf draws attention away from Hutchinson’s more damning claim that Trump knew the crowd at the rally had weapons. Worse, Hutchinson’s testimony depends on the credibility of Ornato, who, to my amazement, was apparently deemed less than credible by the committee based on testimony he gave earlier this year. For instance, Ornato told them at the time that there was nothing more Trump could have done to dissuade the rioters once the attack was under way, a claim many other witnesses disputed.

Why the hell did they have Hutchinson testify to a sensational allegation made by Ornato when the committee itself seems to think Ornato is untrustworthy?

I struggle to understand why they had her mention the SUV incident in the first place if it was based on an unreliable source and they have no way to corroborate it.

Unless … they do have a way?

Then-President Donald Trump angrily demanded to go to the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, and berated his protective detail when he didn’t get his way, according to two Secret Service sources who say they heard about the incident from multiple agents, including the driver of the presidential SUV where it occurred…

While the details from those who heard the accounts differ, the Secret Service sources say they were told an angry confrontation did occur. And their accounts align with significant parts of Hutchinson’s testimony, which has been attacked as hearsay by Trump and his allies who also have tried to discredit her overall testimony…

He had sort of lunged forward — it was unclear from the conversations I had that he actually made physical contact, but he might have. I don’t know,” the source said. “Nobody said Trump assaulted him; they said he tried to lunge over the seat — for what reason, nobody had any idea.”

The employee said he’d heard about the incident multiple times as far back as February 2021 from other agents, including some who were part of the presidential protective detail during that time period but none of whom were involved in the incident.

The source also said that Secret Service agents would tell stories of Trump throwing things in anger, which supports Hutchinson claiming that Trump threw a plate with food on it during his meeting with Bill Barr in December 2020 about election fraud.

It’s not just CNN that’s heard rumors of an “altercation” between Trump and the Secret Service on January 6, allegedly. They’ve been circulating for awhile:

All of this is nice and interesting as a boost to Hutchinson’s credibility, but the prize remains whether anyone can corroborate that Trump knew there were weapons at the rally before the insurrection. Does the committee have anything to support that? Stay tuned.

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