Members of the House Jan. 6 committee said Sunday that more witnesses have come forward after the blockbuster testimony of White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson last week — as Rep. Liz Cheney acknowledged that the panel could make a criminal referral to the Justice Department against former President Donald Trump.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) called Hutchinson’s appearance before the House select committee last Tuesday “inspiring for a lot of people.”
“This happens every day. Every day, we get new people that come forward and say, hey, I didn’t think maybe this piece of the story that I knew was important, but now that you guys are talking … I do see this plays in here,” Kinzinger said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Host Dana Bash asked if Americans would be hearing from new witnesses.
“Yes. There will be — there is. There will be way more information. And stay tuned,” Kinzinger confirmed.
The committee abruptly announced a hearing last Tuesday to hear testimony from Hutchinson, a top aide to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.
Among her explosive claims, Hutchinson told lawmakers that an irate Trump tried to grab the steering wheel of his limousine after Secret Service agents told him they couldn’t take him to the Capitol on Jan. 6, and then lunged at the throat of one of his agents.
She also said Trump told the Secret Service to allow his supporters into the “Stop the Steal” rally earlier that day on the Ellipsis, even though he knew some of them had weapons, in an effort to make the crowd larger.
“They’re not here to hurt me. Take the f—ing mags [magnetometers] away. Let my people in. They can march to the Capitol from here,” she recalled the 45th president saying.
Cheney, the top Republican on the committee, told ABC News’ “This Week” that it’s possible the committee would deliver a criminal referral to the Justice Department against Trump.
“Ultimately, the Justice Department will decide that. I think we may well as a committee have a view on that and if you just think about it from the perspective of what kind of man knows that a mob is armed and sends the mob to attack the Capitol,” Cheney, of Wyoming, said in the interview broadcast Sunday.
When host Jonathan Karl questioned Cheney, the committee’s vice chair, on whether a criminal referral is possible, she responded, “Yes.”
Cheney, who’s locked in a competitive race against a challenger in Wyoming’s Republican House primary next month, said people need to be seen as being held accountable for what happened on Jan. 6.
“I think it’s a much graver constitutional threat if a president can engage in these kinds of activities and, you know, the majority of the president’s party looks away or we as a country decide, you know, we’re not actually going to take our constitutional obligations seriously. I think that’s a much more serious threat,” she said.
Both Cheney and Kinzinger also backed Hutchinson against allegations that she made up the claims about Trump.
Initial reports citing unidentified sources said the Secret Service disputed the claims about Trump in the limo. Other reports, however, said Secret Service agents heard of a confrontation in the motorcade that day.
“The committee is not going to stand by and watch her character be assassinated by anonymous sources and by men who are claiming executive privilege. And so we look forward very much to additional testimony under oath on a whole range of issues,” Cheney said.
Asked whether the panel had information to corroborate Hutchinson’s testimony, Cheney said it “has significant evidence about a whole range of issues including the president’s intense anger.”
Kinzinger noted that while Trump and his allies have disputed her testimony about the ex-president reaching for the steering wheel, no one has said he didn’t want to go to the Capitol or that he didn’t know about his supporters being armed.
He said those calling Hutchinson a liar should testify under oath as she did.
“But we certainly would say that Cassidy Hutchinson has testified under oath. We find her credible,” Kinzinger said. “And anybody that wants to cast disparagements on that was firsthand present should come and also testify under oath, and not through ’anonymous sources’ - quote unquote - and not potentially being an anonymous source.”