Trump Allies Allegedly Contacted Witnesses About 'Loyalty' Before Jan. 6 Testimonies: 'Potential Tampering'

The Jan. 6 select committee showed screenshots of messages sent to a witness, which commended their "loyalty" in an apparent attempt to influence their testimony

AUSTIN, TEXAS - MAY 14: Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the American Freedom Tour at the Austin Convention Center on May 14, 2022 in Austin, Texas. The national event gathered conservatives from around the country to defend, empower and help promote conservative agendas nationwide. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)
Donald Trump. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty

Amid the ongoing hearings concerning the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riots, at least one witness told the bipartisan committee investigating the riots that allies of former President Donald Trump reached out to them, seemingly in an attempt to influence their testimony.

The new details are being reported by Politico days after former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson delivered powerful testimony about the actions of Trump on Jan. 6, 2021.

Hutchinson, a former top aide to Trumps chief of staff, Mark Meadows, testified Tuesday, offering a number of striking new revelations about how the day unfolded.

Following her testimony, the committee showed two text messages that they said illustrated a pressure campaign on witnesses deposed for the hearings.

One of the messages, which is partially redacted, reads: "[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."

Another message written by the witness themself, and explained the communications they had been receiving from those in "Trump World."

"What they said to me is as long as I continue to be a team player, they know I'm on the right team," the message read. "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."

Committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney, a Republican, said that the messages raise "significant concern," adding: "I think most Americans know that attempting to influence witnesses to testify untruthfully presents very serious issues."

Rep. Jamie Raskin, who sits on the select committee, told The Washington Post, "The vice chair released two different episodes of potential witness tampering, anonymously, for obvious reasons. We don't want further intimidation of the same people."

He added, "we want this to be a warning to the people who are doing it that they can't do it. It is a crime and this committee is taking it very seriously."

In an interview with ABC News Thursday, Cheney said the committee may make a criminal referral to the Justice Department, recommending that anyone who tried to influence witness testimony be prosecuted.

Politico reports that those messages were both brought to the committee's attention by Hutchinson, who sat for depositions, under oath, on four occasions.

Trump himself has allegedly demanded "loyalty" from those in his inner circle in the past. In his explosive 2018 memoir, former FBI Director James Comey writes that he had multiple phone and in-person meetings with Trump — most of them at the president's request. In one private dinner, Comey writes that the president demanded his loyalty, saying: "I need loyalty. I expect loyalty."

Comey, who says he would not offer the former president any pledge of loyalty, was ultimately fired by Trump in May 2017.

In his book, Comey likens Trump to the Mafia mobsters he once prosecuted, describing him as someone who is "unethical, and untethered to truth and institutional values," as well as "ego driven ... about personal loyalty."

Among the other revelations detailed by Hutchinson Tuesday were that that those close to the president had warned him that the rally preceding the riots "could spiral out of control," but that Trump didn't care, continuing to use fiery language in his speech and calling on his supporters to "march to the Capitol," even saying that that he would march with them.

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Hutchinson further testified that Trump too matters into his own hands when he was told he couldn't travel to the Capitol following his speech, and that he allegedly reached for the steering wheel with one hand and "for the clavicle" of his lead Secret Service agent with another.

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