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The Jan. 6 select committee publicly pointed to two communications this week as potential evidence of Trump-world efforts to sway testimony — without revealing their origin. Both were detailed at the panel by Cassidy Hutchinson, according to a person familiar with the last of his four depositions.
The two slides the panel revealed at the end of her live hearing with Hutchinson reflected conversations she described to the committee in her last closed-door deposition, that person said. Hutchinson told the committee at the time that on the eve of her March 7 deposition, an intermediary for former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows contacted her to say her former boss appreciated her loyalty.
“[A person] let me know you have your deposition tomorrow,” read a slide the Jan. 6 committee released at the end of Hutchinson’s hearing, which Vice President Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) called pressure on a key witness. “He wants me to let you know he’s thinking of you.” He knows you are loyal and will do the right thing when you show up for your deposition.
Meadows is the person whose name was redacted in this slide. The contents of this final deposition were described to POLITICO, which could not independently corroborate the identity of the intermediary or that Meadows ordered that a message be delivered to Hutchinson before his second deposition.
The other slide the Capitol Riot Committee released at the end of its hearing with Hutchinson this week quotes an unnamed witness, now known to be Trump’s former White House aide herself, describing several calls phone calls she received from allies of the former president.
“What they told me is that as long as I continue to be a team player, they know I’m on the right team,” the slide reads. “I do what it takes. I protect who I need to protect, you know, I will continue to stay in Trump World’s good graces. And they repeatedly reminded me that Trump reads the transcripts.
Ben Williamson, spokesman for Meadows, told POLITICO: “No one in the Meadows camp, himself or otherwise, has ever attempted to intimidate or shape Ms. Hutchinson’s testimony before the committee. Any phone call or message she describes is profoundly misleading at best.”
A lawyer for Hutchinson did not respond to a request for comment.
A spokesperson for the Jan. 6 committee declined to comment.
Cheney, during Tuesday’s blockbuster hearing with Hutchinson, suggested the broadcast messages were efforts 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 presents very serious concerns,” Cheney said after presenting the messages. “We will discuss these issues in committee and carefully consider our next steps.”
In a post-hearing interview, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) described the messages as possibly indicating witness tampering.
“The Vice President released two different episodes of potential witness tampering, anonymously, for obvious reasons. We don’t want more bullying of the same people,” Raskin told The Washington Post. “But we want this to be a warning to people who do it that they can’t do it. It’s a crime and this committee takes it very seriously.
Hutchinson’s testimony on Tuesday shed significant new light on former President Donald Trump’s actions in the run-up to the Capitol siege and opened up important new avenues 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 boss’s boss.”
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