Mark Meadows’ associate threatened ex-White House aide before her testimony
Hugo Lowell in D.C. and Martin Pengelly in New York – July 1, 2022
The former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson received at least one message tacitly warning her not to cooperate with the House January 6 select committee from an associate of former chief of staff Mark Meadows, according to two sources familiar with the matter.
The message in question was the second of two warnings the committee disclosed at the end of its explosive special hearing on Tuesday, when Hutchinson testified about matters including how Donald Trump directed a crowd he knew was armed to march on the Capitol, the sources said.
“[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 message was presented in closing remarks at the special hearing by the committee vice-chair, Liz Cheney, who characterized the missive as improper pressure on a crucial witness that could constitute illegal witness tampering or intimidation.
On Wednesday, another committee member, the California Democrat Pete Aguilar told CNN he believed the messages constituted witness tampering, adding: “I think that that’s something that should be looked at by our committee and potentially by the Department of Justice.”
The identity of the person who sent Hutchinson the message – beyond the fact they were an associate of Meadows – could not be confirmed. That may be in part because the committee may wish to interview that person, the sources said.
That appears to indicate that the person who sent the message was a close associate of the former White House chief of staff and may be a fact witness to what Trump and Meadows were doing and thinking before and during the Capitol attack.
Neither a spokesman for Meadows nor Hutchinson responded to a request for comment.
The other message disclosed by the committee was also directed at Hutchinson, the sources said. The quote displayed was from one of several calls from Trump allies that Hutchinson described to House investigators.
“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.”
The identity of the people who called Hutchinson, presumably warning her not to implicate the former president, could not be established beyond the fact they were close to Trump. The committee is understood to be aware of all of the people.
Politico, which first reported that the message came from a Meadows associate, also said it came before Hutchinson’s second interview with the committee. Hutchinson changed lawyers before a fourth deposition that preceded her public testimony.
Since that testimony, given in answer to questions from Cheney, the deputy chair has taken her message of defiance to Trump to other stages.
On Thursday, she participated in a primary debate in Sheridan, Wyoming.
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.”
She added: “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 truth.”