Anthony Ornato, the Secret Service official turned Trump staffer who has become enmeshed in the House January 6 probe, abruptly retired Monday. The Intercept calls the move, which came two days before his planned interview with Department of Homeland Security investigators who are probing the Capitol riot, "unexpected." Ornato retired as assistant director of the Secret Service in an email to the deputy director sent around 1pm, announcing his retirement the same day. "I did retire today to pursue a career in the private sector," Ornato says in a statement to CNN. "I long-planned to retire and have been planning this transition for more than a year." A Secret Service spokesperson said, "We can confirm that Anthony Ornato retired from the US Secret Service today in good standing after 25 years of devoted service."
Ornato did not name a new employer, but did say he has not taken a job with former President Trump or any of his business entities. Ornato has been seen by the Jan. 6 panel as an integral witness with information about Trump's "movements and intentions," as CNN puts it, in the lead-up to the attack on the US Capitol. Prior to becoming the White House deputy chief of staff, Ornato once headed up Trump's Secret Service detail. He eventually left the White House to return to the Secret Service. It's not clear whether he will meet with the panel again; he has met with them twice so far, but some committee members have aired frustrations around what they see as his lack of credibility. He is scheduled to talk to DHS investigators Wednesday and has indicated he still plans to do so, but as a private citizen, they can't compel him to cooperate. (Read more Secret Service stories.)