When this week’s January 6th Committee public hearing began with Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony against Donald Trump and Mark Meadows, and ended with evidence that unnamed people had tampered with unnamed witnesses, it seemed to imply that someone in Trump world had tampered with Hutchinson.
Sure enough, multiple major news outlets including The Guardian and Politico are now reporting that an unnamed associate of Meadows did indeed attempt to coerce Hutchinson out of testifying. They’re still not revealing the name of the Meadows associate, but the clear implication is that the committee knows the person’s identity.
Politico is also reporting that Meadows is the name redacted in the public hearing slide show. This means that the Meadows associate in question was claiming to have been acting on Meadows’ behalf.
There are few bigger breaks in an investigative probe than when someone tries to tamper with a witness, gets caught, and the witness ends up testifying anyway. This means investigators end up getting the testimony and they can use the threat of criminal consequences to try to compel the tamperer to also become a cooperating witness against the rest of the co-conspirators. In this instance, the tamperer could end up testifying that it was indeed Meadows who instructed him to tamper with Hutchinson.
We’ll see who the Meadows associate ends up being, and we’ll see if the threat of a criminal referral for felony witness tampering ends up being enough to pressure that associate into flipping on Meadows and Trump. But the mere fact that the alleged tamperer got caught in the act, and the tampering ultimately failed, means that the January 6th Committee has won this particular battle on two fronts. If you’re going to tamper with a witness to try to keep them quiet, you need it to succeed, and you need to not get caught.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report