According to two people with knowledge of the situation, Cassidy Hutchinson, a former Trump White House aide, got at least one message subtly advising her not to cooperate with the House select committee on January 6.
The sources said that the message in question was the second of two warnings that the committee made public at the conclusion of its tumultuous special hearing on Tuesday, during which Hutchinson testified about a variety of topics, including how Donald Trump ordered a group of people he knew to be armed to march on the Capitol.
“[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,” the message read. The redaction was “Meadows”, the sources said.
The committee vice-chair, Liz Cheney, delivered the message during closing remarks at the extraordinary hearing. She described it as undue pressure on a key witness that might be considered criminal witness tampering or intimidation.
Pete Aguilar, a California Democrat, and another committee member said on Wednesday that he thought the texts amounted to witness tampering. He said, “I think it’s something that should be looked at by our committee and possibly by the Department of Justice.”
Besides the fact that they were a friend of Meadows, Hutchinson was unable to determine who sent him the message. According to the sources, this may be in part because the committee may want to interrogate that person.
This suggests that the sender was a close friend or relative of the former White House chief of staff and may have knowledge of what Meadows and Trump were doing and thinking prior to the attack on the Capitol.
The sources claimed that Hutchinson was also the target of the other message made public by the committee. The phrase that was shown was taken from one of the calls Hutchinson said House investigators he received from Trump supporters.
“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,” the slide read.
“And they 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.”
Beyond the fact that they were associated with Trump, Hutchinson was unable to identify the individuals who called her and presumably warned her not to link her to the previous president. It is assumed that the committee is aware of every individual.
The deputy chair has taken her message of disobedience to Trump to other venues since that hearing, which she gave in response to Cheney’s inquiries.
The Wyoming Republican cited “a domestic threat that we have never faced before” and stated: “Republicans cannot be loyal to Donald Trump and faithful to the constitution” at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. We have to decide.
Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, the other Republican on the January 6 committee, will retire in November rather than take on a candidate favored by Trump. Cheney is battling to retain her position. She took part in a primary debate on Thursday in Sheridan, Wyoming.
Cheney is a staunch conservative and the daughter of Dick Cheney, who served as the state’s congressional representative before serving as the elder Bush’s defense secretary and the younger Bush’s vice president. Nevertheless, polls place Harriet Hageman, who has Trump’s support, about 30 points ahead of the younger Cheney. Democrats have been urged by Cheney to change their registration in order to save her.
Cheney criticized Hageman on stage in Sheridan for his refusal to acknowledge that the 2020 election was not rigged.
Pointing to testimony presented by the January 6 committee, Cheney said: “It is not true that there was sufficient fraud to change the results of the 2020 election. The president’s own attorney general has said that the president’s own deputy attorney general has said that and … President Trump’s campaign manager said that; President Trump’s White House counsel said that; President Trump’s own family said that.”
“We are now embracing a cult of personality. I won’t be part of that, and I will always stand for my oath and stand for the trust,” she added.
Although it appears as Cheney will lose, watchers throughout the country are watching to see if Trump’s hold on his party has loosened.
Trump is still free to run for president again after being exonerated in his impeachment over the Capitol attack when Senate Republicans remained steadfast. He has strongly implied that he will, but observers point out that he has an interest in delaying making it official because doing so allows him to continue to gather millions from supporters.