WaPo Report Notes Jan. 6th Committee Seemingly Suspects Donald Trump Of Possible “Witness Tampering” In Capitol Riot Investigation

It's about time they caught on.

622 points

As I’m sure you’ve noticed over the last year, several notable Republicans seemed to experience what I would call a rather sudden change of heart with regard to the now-former President Donald Trump and his involvement/lack of legitimate response to the infamous Capitol riot that was perpetrated by his very own supporters.

Many key GOP lawmakers and officials denounced and criticized Donald Trump at the time of the riot for his apparent unwillingness to call off his rabid supporters who were actively, violently storming one of this nation’s most sacred buildings. They took to their Twitters and released their public statements lambasting the then-outgoing president for not doing more to call of his people and protect the integrity of this nation’s Capitol building as well as its democratic process.

However, it didn’t take long at all for those very same Republicans to begin to whistle an entirely different tune with regard to their Dear Leader.

And now it seems the January 6th House Select Committee suspects their sudden changes of heart may have had a lot to do with some witness tampering on Trump’s end, according to a new report from The Washington Post. 

Up until this point, it has seemed that the panel’s largest focus was whether the one-term, twice-impeached ex-president personally attempted to obstruct Congress’ official proceeding to certify Joe Biden’s Electoral College votes. However, the Committee sent a letter to Rep. Kevin McCarthy, in which they requested his testimony in their investigation — but also seemed to suggest that he may have been one of the witnesses that Donald Trump tampered with.

The panel noted in their letter to McCarthy that the minority leader’s view of Donald Trump’s role in the violent insurrection “shifted over time, eventually becoming much more favorable to the former president,” per the WaPo report.

“Soon after Jan. 6, McCarthy blamed Trump for his tardy response to the attack on the Capitol and even suggested a historic censure of Trump,” the publication notes. “A few months later, though, McCarthy was talking as if Trump’s response once the riot began was sufficient.”

The Post goes on to write that the House Committee’s letter to McCarthy “suggestively” highlighted the fact that the minority leader’s change in tune directly followed a January 26th visit with Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort. In their letter, the panel eventually specifically questions whether that meeting with the ex-president played any part in McCarthy’s sudden role reversal.

“Your public statements regarding January 6th have changed markedly since you met with Trump,” committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson pointed out in the letter to McCarthy. “At that meeting, or at any other time, did President Trump or his representatives discuss or suggest what you should say publicly, during the impeachment trial (if called as a witness), or in any later investigation about your conversations with him on January 6th?”

Back in April, McCarthy denied any such conversation with Donald Trump during an appearance on Fox News. However, he did also note that had such a conversation existed, it would be considered witness tampering.

Rep. Liz Cheney, as the vice-chair of the committee, would go on to confirm just weeks later that McCarthy’s Mar-a-Lago visit with Donald Trump raised questions around the possibility of witness tampering, though she didn’t offer any further details at the time.

The report goes on to note that Trump has a long-standing history of borderline witness tampering, and Kevin McCarthy was far from the only Republican “to adjust his Jan. 6 commentary in a more Trump-friendly direction.”

“Perhaps, like the others, McCarthy simply decided Trump was there to stay and that it was time to adjust accordingly,” the report reads. “Either way, it’s a notable suggestion from the Jan. 6 committee, and one that like Cheney’s comments last month suggests a specific investigative target — a target that, if actually substantiated, would involve the potential for a criminal referral to the Justice Department.”

You can read the full report here.

Featured image via Kevin McCarthy/House.gov

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