Trump called a member of the White House support staff during the Jan. 6 investigation

Former President Donald Trump attempted to call a member of the White House support staff who has been holding talks with the House selection committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 riot, according to people with knowledge of the attempted contact.

Trump’s call was to a member of his support team who has worked in some capacity with former White House staffer Cassidy Hutchinson and can corroborate aspects of her testimony, according to those people, who spoke on condition of anonymity, to identify sensitive individuals to discuss matters. The contact attempt was considered unusual because this employee had not spoken to the former president for a long time.

Trump’s call to the survivor was announced Tuesday by committee vice chair Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) at the end of the committee’s seventh hearing.

“After our last hearing, President Trump attempted to call a witness to our investigation,” Cheney said. “A witness you haven’t seen at these hearings. This person declined to take or respond to President Trump’s call and instead brought the call to the attention of their attorney.”

“Your attorney alerted us, and this committee has passed this information to the Justice Department,” Cheney added, without naming the witness.

CNN first reported on the employee’s role. A Trump spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.) told reporters Wednesday that the Justice Department needed to determine whether Trump’s call amounted to witness tampering. It is illegal to attempt to disrupt a witness’ testimony with threats or promised rewards. Thompson said the committee would not release the person’s name.

“You know, of course we’re worried about the witness. And we will not unnecessarily endanger this witness,” Thompson said.

Hutchinson offered bombastic revelations during her testimony, including that she was at the White House on December 1, 2020 when a servant pointed out “ketchup dripping off the wall” and a “broken china plate on the floor” of the dining room.

She said the valet told her the president was “extremely angry … and threw away his lunch.” The incident followed an interview then-Attorney General William P. Barr gave to the Associated Press, in which he said the Justice Department had seen no evidence of systematic voter fraud.

Hutchinson Testimony: Assessing the Basis for the Aide’s Explosive Claims

Hutchinson also recounted a senior White House official who told her about a fight between Trump and his Secret Service agents over whether he would be taken to the Capitol after his speech to protesters in the Ellipse on Jan. 6, 2021. And she testified that Trump had urged his supporters to march to the Capitol, even though they knew some had come armed with guns.

Following Hutchinson’s public testimony on June 28, Cheney referenced two phone calls from a witness — later revealed to be Hutchinson — who Cheney said had expressed “significant concern.”

“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 protect who I need to protect. You know, I will continue to remain in good favor at Trump World,” Cheney, the committee’s vice chairman, said the witness.

Trump regularly called witnesses involved in the investigation, including former White House officials and campaign advisers, and complained to a number of those people about the committee, two people who heard his comments said.

In recent days, his advisers have tried to defend this practice, saying that many of those involved in the investigation are also critical members of his political circle.

Trump is a prolific phone worker, sometimes making 50 to 100 calls a day to the White House, former administration officials have said. He often used multiple cell phones, bypassing White House protocols and gatekeepers who would have preferred calls to come through a secure switchboard.

How Trump is pressuring witnesses around the world to deny potential wrongdoing

Trump once asked an aide to buy him a cell phone because then-Chief of Staff John F. Kelly was trying to monitor his calls, former administration officials said.

The committee has continued its investigation behind closed doors, even as it prepares for a public hearing next Thursday that will focus on the 187 minutes that a pro-Trump mob attacked the US Capitol before Trump released a video published calling on the rioters to go home.

Former Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne is expected to meet with investigators on Friday. Byrne was present at the December 18, 2020 White House meeting where Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, and Sidney Powell, a pro-Trump attorney, urged Trump to seize voting machines and appoint Powell as special adviser to assist his efforts to overturn the election results.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), a member of the committee, has reiterated his interest in seeking an interview with former Vice President Mike Pence and Trump. He told the Wall Street Journal in an interview that the panel could ultimately decide to try to coerce Pence into testifying by issuing a subpoena from the former vice president.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/07/14/trump-called-member-white-house-support-staff-amid-jan-6-probe/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=wp_politics Trump called a member of the White House support staff during the Jan. 6 investigation

James Brien

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