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Jan. 6 hearing Trump tried to contact committee witness, an effort referred to Justice Department, Cheney says

The Jan. 6, 2021 House committee held its latest public hearing on July 12, focusing on how President Donald Trump summoned far-right militant groups to D.C. (Video: Mahlia Posey/The Washington Post, Photo: Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post)

Former president Donald Trump recently attempted to contact an unnamed witness in the House select committee investigation of the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot — an effort that the panel has since referred to the Justice Department, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), vice chairwoman of the panel, said Tuesday.

“Let me say one more time: We will take any effort to influence witness testimony very seriously,” Cheney said.

The revelation came toward the end of a hearing in which the committee zeroed in on the violent rhetoric and planning that flowed from a tweet by Trump weeks before Jan. 6 promising a “wild” protest. Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.), one of the panel members leading Tuesday’s hearing, said what transpired was “openly homicidal.”

Here’s what to know

  • The committee heard live testimony from Jason Van Tatenhove, who previously served as national spokesman for the Oath Keepers, a group that participated in the riot. Van Tatenhove said the organization is a “dangerous militia” that attracted “white nationalists” and “straight-up racists.”
  • Stephen Ayres, a rioter who illegally entered the Capitol on Jan. 6, also testified. He said he was inspired to come to Washington by Trump’s social media posts. “I was hanging on every word he was saying,” Ayres said.
  • In recorded testimony, several White House advisers, including former White House counsel Pat Cipollone, said they had pushed Trump to concede the election long before Jan. 6.
  • In a recorded conversation played Tuesday, Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.) warned that Trump supporters would “go nuts” at the Capitol on Jan. 6 and said congressional leadership should “come up with a safety plan for members.”
  • The panel presented evidence that there was advance planning for Trump to go to the Capitol on Jan. 6 after his speech on the Ellipse near the White House.
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Here's what to know:

The committee heard live testimony from Jason Van Tatenhove, who previously served as national spokesman for the Oath Keepers, a group that participated in the riot. Van Tatenhove said the organization is a “dangerous militia” that attracted “white nationalists” and “straight-up racists.”
Stephen Ayres, a rioter who illegally entered the Capitol on Jan. 6, also testified. He said he was inspired to come to Washington by Trump’s social media posts. “I was hanging on every word he was saying,” Ayres said.
In recorded testimony, several White House advisers, including former White House counsel Pat Cipollone, said they had pushed Trump to concede the election long before Jan. 6.
In a recorded conversation played Tuesday, Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.) warned that Trump supporters would “go nuts” at the Capitol on Jan. 6 and said congressional leadership should “come up with a safety plan for members.”
The panel presented evidence that there was advance planning for Trump to go to the Capitol on Jan. 6 after his speech on the Ellipse near the White House.

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The Jan. 6 insurrection

Congressional hearings: The House committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol held a series of high-profile hearings to share its findings with the U.S. public. In what was likely its final hearing, the committee issued a surprise subpoena seeking testimony from former president Donald Trump. Here’s a guide to the biggest hearing moments so far.

Will there be charges? The committee could make criminal referrals of former president Donald Trump over his role in the attack, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said in an interview.

What we know about what Trump did on Jan. 6: New details emerged when Hutchinson testified before the committee and shared what she saw and heard on Jan. 6.

The riot: On Jan. 6, 2021, a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to stop the certification of the 2020 election results. Five people died on that day or in the immediate aftermath, and 140 police officers were assaulted.

Inside the siege: During the rampage, rioters came perilously close to penetrating the inner sanctums of the building while lawmakers were still there, including former vice president Mike Pence. The Washington Post examined text messages, photos and videos to create a video timeline of what happened on Jan. 6.

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