House Jan. 6 Committee vice chair Liz Cheney (R-WY) made it clear that she and her committee will not be steamrolled by Trump or any of his allies’ efforts to try to interfere with the panel’s investigation or to try to intimidate witnesses. Today was the second time she’s publicly revealed that Trump and people close to him are clearly watching the hearings — and might be getting spooked.
“After our last hearing, President Trump tried to call a witness in our investigation — a witness you have not yet seen in these hearings. That person declined to answer or respond to President Trump’s call and, instead, alerted their lawyer to the call,” Cheney said today, rounding out her closing remarks once again with bombshell revelations about what could qualify as witness tampering allegedly happening behind the scenes.
“Their lawyer alerted us, and this committee has supplied that information to the Department of Justice,” she added. “Let me say one more time: We will take any effort to influence witness testimony very seriously.”
It was similar to a revelation Cheney made after ex-Mark Meadows aide Cassidy Hutchinson’s explosive public testimony before the panel last month. At the time Cheney revealed that the committee had been made aware of alleged efforts by Trump’s allies to pressure witnesses. Toward the end of the Hutchinson hearing, Cheney shared text descriptions on a slide — descriptions from witnesses who told the committee they’d been contacted by Trump allies ahead of their planned testimony.
“[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,” the unnamed caller allegedly said, according to Cheney’s description of the witness intimidation.
Another slide read: “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 doing the right thing. 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.”
According to multiple reports, both of these remarks came from Hutchinson. Politico reported shortly after Hutchinson’s testimony that Meadows was the redacted “person” in the first slide.
Cheney warned last month that the committee was taking any witness intimidation or pressuring attempts very seriously. Obviously this time, she acted on that, making it known that the matter had been referred to the DOJ.
The behavior, if accurate to how Cheney described it, is serious. It’s also becoming increasingly clear that protecting the panel’s witnesses is a matter that holds some personal significance for the congresswoman, who bucked her party to speak out against Trump’s incitement of the insurrection from the start — a move that cost her her party leadership position and has risked her reelection prospects.
So protecting those who have stuck their neck out for the sake of the truth or who have defied and lost former allies for the betterment of the nation — that probably hits pretty close to home for Cheney.
The Best Of TPM Today
Here’s what you should read this evening:
Catch up on our live coverage of today’s hearing here: Today’s Jan. 6 Hearing: How Trump Summoned The Violent Mob, Including Extremists
More from Josh Kovensky: The White House Meeting That Drove ‘Team Sane’ Insane
More from Matt Shuham: How Trump Edited His Jan. 6 Rally Speech To Target Pence
Something to keep an eye on: Trump Rally In North Carolina Rescheduled As Ex-POTUS Is Set To Testify Under Oath
Yesterday’s Most Read Story
The Backstory On Fox News Guest Jeffrey Tucker — David Kurtz
What We Are Reading
With Rising Book Bans, Librarians Have Come Under Attack — Elizabeth A. Harris and Alexandra Alter
The Trump Enablers Truly in Contempt of Congress — Molly Jong Fast