The Jan. 6 committee is alarmed that Donald Trump or his allies are trying to tamper with the testimonies of witnesses participating in the congressional investigation.
“Most Americans know that attempts to influence witnesses to testify falsely are very serious concerns,” committee vice-chair Liz Cheney said Tuesday.
The committee shared anonymous testimonies on Tuesday, January 6, detailing threats in the form of crowds from unnamed people in the Trump camp.
“What they said to me is that as long as I stay a team player, they know I’m on the team, I’m doing the right thing, I’m protecting who I’m supposed to protect, you know, I’m staying in good graces in Trump World,” the witness told lawmakers.
“They reminded me a few times that Trump reads transcripts and to keep that in mind as I went through my statements and interviews with the committee,” the witness added.
“He knows that you are loyal, and that you will do the right thing if you give your testimony,” another witness recalled being told.
the independent has reached out to Mr Trump for comment.
Tampering with witnesses is illegal under federal law, including with regard to Congressional proceedings, and carries a penalty of up to 20 years in federal prison.
Mr Trump and his allies certainly publicly pressured the January 6 witnesses.
During Tuesday’s hearings, Trump had railed against Cassidy Hutchinson, a former top White House aide who gave shocking testimony to the former president who allegedly attacked staff and willingly welcomed armed supporters to attack the Capitol.
Mr. Trump posted a flood on his Truth Social app, claiming he “barely” knows who Ms. Hutchinson is, and accused the former assistant of spreading a “sick” and “fraudulent” string of stories.
Meanwhile, Mr. Trump’s spokesperson posted to Truth Social that Ms. Hutchinson was a “pathetic” person and a “social swamp climber who made up stories for her (not even) 15 minutes” of fame.
The Jan. 6 committee said it held a surprise final hearing before June on Tuesday, in part because of “genuine concern” for Ms Hutchinson’s safety.
It is not the first time that witness tampering has emerged in the context of the Capitol Riot Commission.
In February, Congresswoman Pete Aguilar of California accused Mr Trump of trying to influence his testimony by offering a pardon if he is reelected as president.
“I think the question is more for my colleagues across the aisle. Where are they? Do they support this? When is enough enough?” Mr Aguilar told CNN†
“When a crowd chants ‘Hang Mike Pence,’ it wasn’t enough,” he continued. “When the former president asked… [Georgia Secretary of State] Brad Raffensperger to find him 11,000 votes, it wasn’t enough. Now he dangles grace, when he returns to office, for individuals. Will that be enough? Or will there be more collective amnesia? I just don’t know where the floor is on that side of the aisle these days.”
The former president has repeatedly spoken of a pardon regarding January 6.
“Another thing we’ll do — and so many people have asked me about it — if I enter and if I win, we’ll treat those people fairly from Jan. 6. We’ll treat them fairly,” Trump said at a January 2022 rally. “And if it takes a pardon, we’ll pardon them. Because they’re being treated so unfairly.”
While he was president, Mr. Trump was also prone to attack those who testify against him.
In 2019, as the first impeachment trial against Mr. Trump was underway, the then-president went after former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch during her testimony, claiming on Twitter: “Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went, things got bad. She started in Somalia, how did that go?”
“It’s very intimidating,” she said in response to the attacks during the hearing. “I can’t say what the president is trying to do, but the effect is intimidating.”
(The White House said at the time that Mr. Trump was not engaging in witness harassment, but rather “shared the president’s opinion, which he is entitled to” in a lawsuit it called a “totally illegal, charade against the president.” .)