Jan. 6 panel raises concerns about possible Trumpworld witness tampering
The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection warned on Tuesday about efforts to pressure witnesses into providing false or untruthful testimony, pointing to possible examples of intimidation campaigns that raise "significant concern."
Why it matters: The warning came after a former top aide to then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows gave damning testimony tying former President Trump directly to the attack.
What they're saying: "The easy course is to hide from the spotlight and to deny what happened," Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), vice chair of the panel, said at the committee's sixth hearing before sharing: "we have evidence of one particular practice that raises significant concern."
- "Our committee commonly asks witnesses connected to Mr. Trump's administration or campaign whether they've been contacted by any of their former colleagues or anyone else who attempted to influence or impact their testimony."
She then read aloud one example in which a witness described phone calls from people interested in their testimony.
- "What they said to me is, as long as I continue to be a team player, they know I'm on the right team ... I'm protecting who I need to protect, you know, I'll continue to stay in good graces in Trump World. And they have reminded me a couple of times that Trump does read transcripts and just to keep that in mind as I proceeded through my depositions and interviews with the committee."
- In another example, someone called a witness and said an unnamed person "wants me to let you know that they are thinking about you. He knows you're loyal, and you're going to do the right thing when you go in for your deposition."
- "I think most Americans know that attempting to influence witnesses to testify untruthfully presents very serious concerns," Cheney said. "We will be discussing these issues as a committee, carefully considering our next steps."
The big picture: Hutchinson, who was Meadows' most trusted aide, has been a crucial witness for the committee.
- She testified Tuesday that the White House shrugged off concern about violence leading up to Jan. 6 and that then-White House counsel Pat Cipollone warned there could be criminal charges if Trump joined the march to the Capitol.
- Hutchinson also gave detailed accounts of Trump's rage incidents.
- Trump responded Tuesday by claiming: "I hardly know who this person, Cassidy Hutchinson, is, other than I heard very negative things about her (a total phony and 'leaker')."