WASHINGTON (WFLA) – One of the final statements in the seventh Jan. 6 Capitol assault Congressional hearing that was held on Tuesday accused former President Donald Trump of tampering with a witness who has yet to testify.
That was one of the more stunning revelations from the nearly three-hour hearing that was co-chaired by Rep. Stephanie Murphy, who represents the Orlando area in U.S. Congress. The Democrat opened the hearing stating Trump knew the evidence did not support voter fraud weeks before the melee.
“That was the big lie,” Murphy said.
As the hearing came to a close, Wyoming Republican Liz Cheney offered the major allegation.
“After our last hearing, President Trump tried to call a witness in our investigation. A witness you have not yet seen in these hearings,” Rep. Cheney said. “And this committee has supplied that information to the Department of Justice.”
Cheney said “that person declined to answer or respond to President Trump’s call and instead alerted their lawyer.” Trump has yet to respond to Cheney’s claim.
According to some estimates, more than 2,000 made it inside the Capitol on Jan. 6. About 140 officers were injured and five people died during and after the violence, including four participants and one police officer.
Tuesday’s hearing offered an inside look at what was described as an “unhinged” six-hour meeting in the Oval Office. According to testimony, Trump aides and supporters, including Rudy Giuliani, were heard screaming at each other. Witnesses told the committee the arguments almost spawned fist fights.
Giuliani recalled a statement he made to Trump’s attorneys.
“You’re a bunch of (expletive deleted),” the one-time presidential candidate said during testimony.
A short time after the meeting ended, at 1:42 a.m. on Dec. 19, Trump sent a tweet that ended with, “Big protests in D.C. on January 6. Be there. Will be wild!”
“This tweet served as a call to action and for many people a call to arms,” Murphy said on Tuesday.
According to the committee, within hours of the tweet, Trump supporters mobilized with public statements, tweets, text messages and other forms of electronic communication.
Court documents indicate only days after Trump’s tweet, Tampa Bay area business owner and Oath Keeper Graydon Young was among dozens who made plans to travel to D.C.
Former Oath Keeper spokesperson Jason Van Tatenhove’s testimony during Tuesday’s hearing echoed what has been heard from many of the 27 Floridians who have been convicted or pleaded guilty to charges.
“We were sort of swept up in this,” Van Tatenhove said. “This could have been the spark of another civil war.”
Evidence released Tuesday also included a post from Dunnellon Oath Keeper Kelly Meggs, who has pleaded not guilty to seditious conspiracy and other charges and has been named as one of the key Florida organizers of the assault.
The average age for the Florida defendants is 44 with a range from 20-year-old Caleb Berry of Tampa to 72-year-old Pastor James Varnell Cusick Jr. of Melbourne.
Jan. 6 Capitol Riot arrests with ties to Tampa Bay
Cusick is part of one of two sets of father-son defendants. There are four husband-wife couples who were arrested. Polk County’s Olivia Pollock and fugitive Jonathan Pollock are the lone brother-sister duo. The FBI has offered $15,000 for information leading to Jonathan Pollock’s arrest.
The Floridians also held a variety of occupations including a doctor, a nurse and a chiropractor. Four retired police officers, a firefighter and an EMT are among the group from Florida. There are also two actors – Broadway performer James Beeks of Orlando and adult film actor and veteran Steven “Sergeant” Miles.
The eighth and final Jan. 6 Committee hearing is scheduled for next week and a final report is expected to be released in the fall.
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