The Jan. 6 select committee this week publicly pointed to two communications as potential evidence of Trump-world’s efforts to influence witness statements — without revealing their origin. Both were added to the panel by Cassidy Hutchinson, according to a person familiar with the last of her four statements.
Both slides the panel revealed at the end of the live hearing with Hutchinson reflected conversations she described to the committee in its latest behind-closed-door statement, this person said. Hutchinson told the committee at the time that, on the eve of her March 7 statement, an intermediary for former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows had contacted her to say her former boss valued her loyalty.
†[A person] let me know you have your statement tomorrow,” read a slide the Jan. 6 commission broadcast at the end of Hutchinson’s hearing, which Vice-Chairman Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) labeled as pressure on a key witness. “He wants me to let you know that he’s thinking of you. He knows that you are loyal and that you will do the right thing if you go for your statement.’
Meadows is the person whose name was redacted on that slide. The contents of that final impeachment were described to POLITICO, who were unable to independently confirm the identity of the intermediary or that Meadows had ordered a message to Hutchinson before her second impeachment.
The other slide the Capitol Riot Committee unveiled this week at the end of its hearing with Hutchinson quoted an unnamed witness, now known as Trump’s former White House aide, who described multiple phone calls she received from allies of the former president.
“What they said to me is that as long as I remain a team player, they know I’m on the right team,” the slide said. “I’m doing the right thing. I protect who I have to protect, you know, I stay in good graces in Trump World. And they reminded me a few times that Trump reads transcripts.”
Ben Williamson, a spokesperson for Meadows, made the following statement to POLITICO: “No one from Meadows’ camp, self or otherwise, has ever attempted to intimidate or shape Ms Hutchinson’s testimony to the committee. Any phone call or The message she describes is profoundly misleading at best.”
A Hutchinson lawyer did not respond to a request for comment.
A Jan 6 commission spokesman declined to comment.
Cheney suggested during Tuesday’s blockbuster hearing with Hutchinson that the broadcast messages were attempts by Trump allies to dissuade key witnesses from coming forward. Neither the sender nor the recipient of the messages were revealed at the time.
“I think most Americans know that trying to influence witnesses to testify falsely raises very serious concerns,” Cheney said after presenting the messages. “We will discuss these issues as a committee and carefully consider our next steps.”
In a post-hearing interview, Representative Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) described the messages as potentially indicative of witness tampering.
“The Vice-President has released two different episodes of possible witness manipulation for obvious reasons. We don’t want any further harassment from the same people,” Raskin told The Washington Post† “But we want this to be a warning to the people who are doing it that they can’t do it. It is a crime and this committee takes it very seriously.”
Hutchinson’s testimony on Tuesday has shed important new light on former President Donald Trump’s actions in the run-up to the Capitol siege and led to important new clues for the select committee’s investigation. During her time in the Trump White House, she worked directly under Meadows and was sometimes referred to as “the chief’s chief.”