Donald Trump tried to contact a witness who was talking to the Jan. 6 House committee about its investigation of the former president and the 2021 attack at the Capitol, raising concerns of attempts to tamper with a witness, the committee’s vice chair, Rep. Liz Cheney, said at the end of Tuesday’s hearing.
Cheney said the witness, whom she did not identify, was someone whose testimony had not yet been shown at the public hearings.
"That person declined to answer or respond to President Trump’s call, and instead alerted their lawyer to the call,” Cheney of Wyoming said. “Their lawyer alerted us, and this committee has supplied that information to the Department of Justice.”
"Let me say one more time: We will take any efforts to influence witness testimony very seriously," she said.
The disclosure by Cheney was not the first time the panel has raised concerns about witnesses being contacted by Trump's team in ways that could reflect or at least create the appearance of inappropriate influence. It divulged examples last week of other times witnesses have received outreach from Trump allies, some suggesting he was aware they were talking to the committee, ahead of testimony before the panel.
At the end of a hearing on June 28, after White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified, Cheney read two examples of possible attempts to influence witnesses.
One instance was a phone call that a Jan. 6 witness described. Cheney read: “What they said to me is as long as I continue to be a team player, they know that I’m on the 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,” the witness said.
Cheney said the committee routinely asks its witnesses if they have been contacted by former Trump administration or campaign officials “who attempted to influence or impact their testimony.”
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"Most people know that attempting to influence witnesses to testify untruthfully presents very serious concerns. We will be discussing these issues as a committee and carefully considering our next steps," Cheney said.
In the second instance, the witness said he or she was told someone “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.”