The Jan 6 Committee reported that Donald Trump and his allies attempted to intimidate witnesses appearing before the January 6th Committee.
Witness tampering is a crime punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison.
What is Witness Tampering?
Witness tampering is a federal offense that carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, even if the witness doesn’t cave.
Often associated with mob boss tactics, the crime involves someone under investigation attempting to coach, intimidate, or threaten a witness.
Trump Attempts Witness Tampering
At the end of the seventh January 6th Committee hearing, Vice Chair Liz Cheney announced that the Committee has proof that former President Trump attempted witness tampering.
“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. “That person declined to answer or respond to President Trump's call and instead alerted their lawyer to the call. Their lawyer alerted us, and this committee has supplied that information to the Department of Justice.”
Cheney added: “Let me say one more time, we will take any effort to influence witness testimony very seriously.”
The Committee is expected to provide more details and evidence on the specifics around witness tampering in future hearings.
Previous Witness Tampering
This isn’t the first time the Committee shared evidence of witness tampering.
After the sixth hearing, Cheney announced that at least two witnesses told the Committee that people close to Trump attempted to intimidate them before they testified.
One witness, who Cheney did not name, said they received a phone call: “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.”
Another witness received a call saying, “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.”
Cassidy Hutchinson, former assistant to Trump’s Chief of Staff, was one of the people subjected to witness intimidation, according to the Committee. Reports say that it was an associate of Mark Meadows that pressured her before her testimony.
Witness tampering is serious. The January 6th Committee says it will continue to refer incidents of it to the Department of Justice for further action.