Jan 6 committee report warns that Trump’s legal team is interfering with witness testimony

Members have previously warned of such actions publicly

John Bowden
Washington DC
Monday 19 December 2022 22:41 GMT
Cheney reveals Trump reported to Department of Justice for calling Jan 6 committee witness

The January 6 committee on Monday confirmed that it had been in contact with both the Justice Department as well as prosecutors in Fulton County, Georgia, regarding efforts by allies of Donald Trump to interfere with witnesses tied to its investigation.

The revelation came in one part of the committee’s final report, released by the lawmakers at the conclusion of Monday’s meeting.

According to the panel, lawmakers have seen evidence to suggest that not only has Donald Trump’s team worked to influence witness testimony, but that lawyers on the payroll of Mr Trump’s Save America PAC may have even been incentivised to protect the ex-president at the expense of their own clients. They noted similar concerns about the investigations being headed up by the Department of Justice and investigators in Georgia.

"Recently, published accounts of the Justice Department’s Mar-a-Lago investigation suggest that the Department is investigating the conduct of counsel for certain witnesses whose fees are being paid by President Trump’s Save America Political Action Committee. The public report implies the Department is concerned that such individuals are seeking to influence the testimony of the witnesses they represent,” the lawmakers wrote.

“This Committee also has these concerns, including that lawyers who are receiving such payments have specific incentives to defend President Trump rather than zealously represent their own clients. The Department of Justice and the Fulton County District Attorney have been provided with certain information related to this topic,” they continued.

Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren detailed some of that attempted interference at Monday’s hearing, explaining that offers of employment had been extended to witnesses in exchange for uncooperative or incomplete testimony.

“We’ve…obtained evidence of evidence to provide or offer employment to witnesses” from lawyers who later went on to say that those witnesses could claim to not recall certain moments or events during their testimony, Congresswoman Lofrgren said.

If members of Mr Trump’s legal team, or Mr Trump himself, attempted to interfere with witnesses in the Justice Department’s grand jury investigation it could leave them exposed to witness tampering or other charges; the Justice Department has been tight-lipped about such matters, so any determination on that issue will likely be made when the special counsel announces his decision on whether the president will face charges related to the two investigations he faces.

Mr Trump and his legal team have not specifically addressed the accusations of witness tampering but have generally denounced the January 6 committee’s accusations as politically motivated.

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