The Jan. 6 committee apparently suspects that the Trump loyalist who sought to pressure bombshell witness Cassidy Hutchinson into keeping quiet was not only acting as an intermediary for White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
The panel reportedly wants to interview the unnamed “associate” of Meadows as a “fact witness” to what the former President Trump and his chief of staff were doing and thinking on Jan. 6.
The revelation, first reported by The Guardian, suggests the committee believes the Meadows pal was also trying to protect him or herself when the person warned Hutchinson to remain “loyal” to her ex-bosses.
That could make the potential case of witness tampering much more clear-cut against the intermediary, a charge Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) spotlit in a stern closing statement in Tuesday’s explosive hearing.
It could also give the panel more leverage over the Meadows pal to come clean about what he or she knows about the attack on the Capitol — or face the music.
Hutchinson told committee members that she got several messages from Trump loyalists before she gave depositions to the panel about what she saw and heard inside the Trump White House.
The warning from the unnamed intermediary came the night before one of her depositions and explicitly warned Hutchinson to stay “loyal” and “do the right thing.”
“(Meadows) 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,” read the message to Hutchinson.
The message was displayed with Meadows’ name redacted, along with a warning by Cheney. If law-enforcement officials can confirm the message, it could fit the definition of witness tampering.
Prosecutors often use the threat of criminal charges to win the cooperation of potential witnesses like the Meadows associate.
Hutchinson’s bombshell appearance was announced at the last minute, a decision that may have been spurred by the pressure campaign against her.
She delivered riveting testimony that Trump was aware that his supporters were armed when he urged them to march on the Capitol on Jan. 6 to block Congress from certifying President Biden’s election win.
Hutchinson also repeated what she said was a claim by Trump’s Secret Service aides that he angrily tried to order them to take him to the Capitol and sought to physically assault one when they refused.