\However stunning the recent revelations coming from the January 6 Committee hearings may be, they are in the past. They are not clear and present dangers, compared with other Trump crimes going on in real time. It has been revealed that Donald Trump has attempted to contact one or more of the Committee’s witnesses. While the committee investigates Trump’s past crimes, he’s committing real-time offenses right under our noses.
On Tuesday, Republican Committee vice-chair Liz Cheney delivered the revelation at the conclusion of the committee’s seventh public hearing on the Capitol attack. According to Ms. Cheney, Trump tried to call an unnamed witness after the committee’s sixth hearing last month. The witness declined the call. It begs the question of how many other witnesses has Trump called who have not elected to come forward about it?
The witness in question informed their lawyer about Trump’s attempted contact. The lawyer then told the January 6 committee about the call, and investigators passed the information along to the Department of Justice.
Cheney disclosed that other witnesses said they had been contacted by Trump or Trump allies urging them to stay loyal to Trump when speaking to investigators. One witness told the committee: “What they said to me is, as long as I continue to be a team player, they know that I’m on the right team. I’m doing the right thing, I’m protecting who I need to protect. … They have reminded me a couple of times that Trump does read transcripts and just to keep that in mind as I proceed through my depositions and interviews with the committee.”
That Trump reads transcripts is the only part that is unbelievable. Far more believable would be that Trump has someone read the transcripts for him and then reports back any salient details to Trump.
Ms. Cheney says these revelations of witness tampering are significant and disturbing. “I think most Americans know that attempting to influence witnesses to testify untruthfully presents very serious concerns,” Cheney said last month. “We will be discussing these issues as a committee, carefully considering our next steps.”
I don’t mean to recommend mischief or anything, but I have a fantasy. I imagine some future committee witness being contacted by Trump but, instead of telling his or her lawyer, they arrange to speak to Trump while recording the call. Now that would make for interesting play for one of the remaining future January 6 hearings. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.