The committee’s vice chairwoman, GOP Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, said at Tuesday’s hearing that two witnesses — whom she did not name — told the committee they had heard from people connected to former President Donald Trump’s world who may have been trying to intimidate them. Sources tell CNN Hutchinson is one of those witnesses.
“We commonly ask witnesses connected to Mr. Trump’s administration or campaign whether they have been contacted by any of their former colleagues, or anyone else, who attempted to influence or impact their testimony,” Cheney said during the hearing, before showing snippets of how witnesses responded to that question.
In both examples, the committee showed testimony where witnesses were told that the former President was paying attention to the fact that they had been called by the committee and that hoped they would remain committed to Trump.
Hutchinson’s security was a grave concern of the committee leading up to their hearing. It was part of why they kept her identity secret leading up to the meeting.
Hutchinson, an aide to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, testified for nearly two hours Tuesday and in taped closed-door testimony about how Meadows and Trump had been repeatedly warned about security concerns leading up to and on the day of the January 6, 2021, rally and riot. Hutchinson also testified on how Trump repeatedly sought to go to the Capitol on January 6.
Members of the committee have suggested that the two examples they presented were only a fraction of the evidence they have related to possible witness intimidation.
Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California, a member of the committee, told CNN that the behavior is part of a pattern of conduct by the former President.
“Certainly we’ve seen a history of the former President trying to influence witnesses or intimidate them,” Schiff said.
A spokesperson for the select committee declined to comment on the committee’s claims about possible witness intimidation.
At Tuesday’s hearing, Cheney said the committee had evidence of a “particular practice that raises significant concern.”
One witness, Cheney said, described phone calls from people interested in that witness’s testimony. Cheney said the unnamed witness told the committee: “What they said to me is, as long as I continue to be a team player, they know I’m on the right 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.”
The second example Cheney gave is a call a witness received saying, “Quote ‘a person let me know you have your deposition tomorrow. He wants me to let you know 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.'”
“It’s very serious,” Cheney said. “It really goes to the heart of our legal system. And it’s something the committee will certainly be reviewing.”
She added, “It gives us a real insight into how people around the former President are operating, into the extent to which they believe that they can affect the testimony of witnesses before the committee, and it’s something we take very seriously, and it’s something that people should be aware of — it’s a very serious issue, and I would imagine the Department of Justice would be very interest in and would take that very seriously as well.”
This story has been updated with additional developments Thursday.