DOJ alerted after Trump called unseen Jan. 6 witness, says Cheney

Former President Trump tried to call a witness expected to appear at a future hearing for the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said Tuesday, raising further questions about potential witness tampering.

“After our last hearing, President Trump tried to call a witness in our investigation, a witness you have not yet seen in these hearings,” Cheney said at the conclusion of Tuesday’s hearing. “That person declined to answer or respond to President Trump’s call and instead alerted their lawyer to the call. Their lawyer alerted us, and this committee has supplied that information to the Department of Justice.”

“We will take any effort to influence witness testimony very seriously,” Cheney, the vice chair of the committee, added.

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) told reporters after the hearing that he did not have more details or know personally which witness Cheney was referring to. But he said more broadly the committee was trying to send a message that witness tampering is a crime, and “people should not be approaching witnesses to try to get them to alter their testimony.”

At a hearing late last month with former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, Cheney displayed a text message sent to one undisclosed witness that read, “[A person] let me know you have your deposition tomorrow. He wants me to let you know that he’s thinking about you. He knows you’re loyal, and you’re going to do the right thing when you go in for your deposition.”

Cheney also showed a statement at the previous hearing from a witness in which the witness recalled being told that as long as they remained loyal to Trump and his team, “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.”

One of the witnesses involved in the previous messages is reportedly Hutchinson.

But Cheney’s comments on Tuesday are the first public confirmation that Trump has personally reached out to those who are communicating with the committee.

The committee has kept the identities of witnesses at future hearings under wraps, partly due to increased security concerns.

Mychael Schnell contributed

Updated at 4:57 p.m.

Tags Cassidy Hutchinson Department of Justice Donald Trump Donald Trump Jamie Raskin Jan. 6 panel Liz Cheney

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