Liz Cheney Says Donald Trump Allegedly Tried to Call Unnamed Jan. 6 Witness After June Hearing

The witness didn’t answer the former president’s call — but the Jan. 6 Committee told the Department of Justice about it, Cheney said during Tuesday’s hearing

At the close of Tuesday's hearing about the attack on the U.S. Capitol and efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, Rep. Liz Cheney warned against efforts to "influence testimony" during the Jan. 6 committee's investigation after claiming Donald Trump recently attempted to contact an unnamed witness.

Cheney, a Republican from Wyoming who is the committee's vice chair, said Trump allegedly reached out to the witness after the committee's previous public hearing on June 28, when Cassidy Hutchinson gave shocking testimony about the former president's behavior on and before Jan. 6.

"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 Tuesday. "That person declined to answer or respond to President Trump's call and instead alerted their lawyer to the call. Their lawyer alerted us."

Cheney added that the committee has handed over information about Trump allegedly calling a witness to the U.S. Department of Justice.

She also issued a warning: "Let me say one more time, we will take any effort to influence witness testimony very seriously," Cheney said.

Liz Cheney, donald trump
Liz Cheney (left), Donald Trump. SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty; Brandon Bell/Getty

Trump spokesperson Taylor Budowich cautioned against drawing conclusions about Cheney's statement in a tweet on Tuesday.

"The media has become pawns of the Unselect Committee. Liz Cheney continues to traffic in innuendos and lies that go unchallenged, unconfirmed, but repeated as fact because the narrative is more important than the truth," Budowich wrote on Twitter.

In an appearance on CNN after the hearing, committee member Rep. Jamie Raskin told Jake Tapper it's unclear whether Trump's call amounts to witness tampering or obstruction of justice.

Committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) (C), Vice Chair Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) (L) and Rep. Stephanie Murphy listen as Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) (not pictured) presents evidence during the seventh hearing held by the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol on July 12, 2022 in the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, DC. The bipartisan committee, which has been gathering evidence related to the January 6, 2021 attack at the U.S. Capitol for almost a year, is presenting its findings in a series of televised hearings. On January 6, 2021, supporters of President Donald Trump attacked the U.S. Capitol Building in an attempt to disrupt a congressional vote to confirm the electoral college win for Joe Biden.
Shawn Thew-Pool/Getty

"Well, we'd have to know a lot more about it. The point is that the Committee takes really seriously the ability of witnesses to come in — like Cassidy Hutchinson — and tell us everything they know without fear of reprisal or coercion and so on," Raskin said. "So people who have an interest in what we're doing here should not be calling up witnesses to be influencing them. And that's the message that I think the Vice Chair of the committee wanted to put out."

Raskin also said "there's been a pattern" of cooperating witnesses being contacted during the investigation but it's up to law enforcement to consider whether a crime has been committed.

"The main thing is we want it to stop," Raskin said. "I'll leave it to the Department of Justice to decide where to take it from there. But we just can't have this. It's a ridiculous pattern."

Vice Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., listens at left as Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., speaks as the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol pushes ahead with contempt charges against former Trump advisers Peter Navarro and Dan Scavino in response to their refusal to comply with subpoenas, at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, March 28, 2022. Navarro, President Donald Trump's trade adviser, and Scavino, a White House communications aide under Trump, have been uncooperative in the congressional probe into the deadly 2021 insurrection.
Liz Cheney (left), Jamie Raskin. J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo

Cheney's revelation on Tuesday is the second time the committee has implied the possibility of witness tampering.

Investigators have made it a practice to ask witnesses if they've heard from Trump or his allies ahead of their testimony, according to a statement from the Jan. 6 Committee.

"We commonly ask witnesses connected to Trump whether they have been contacted by anyone attempting to impact testimony," the committee wrote on Twitter June 28, the same day that Hutchinson testified.

In the same tweet, the committee provided two examples of responses it has received when asked such a question.

"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 the good graces in Trump world," one example reads. "And they have reminded me a couple of times that Trump does read transcripts and just keep that in mind as I proceed through my depositions and interviews with the committee."

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"[A person] let me know you have your deposition tomorrow. He wants me to let you know that he's thinking about you," reads another. "He knows you're loyal, and you're going to do the right thing when you go in for your deposition."

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