June 30, 2022

Interesting exchange, as Ali Velshi asked Rep. Zoe Lofgren about something she told Anderson Cooper last night.

Velshi asked about a statement by Liz Cheney about witness tampering at the end of Tuesday's hearing.

"On that issue, you said something tonight in another TV interview that I wanted to ask you about. You said, quote, 'at a prior hearing we talked about the hundreds of millions of dollars that the former president raised, some of that money is being used to pay for lawyers, for witnesses, and it is not clear that that arrangement is one that is without coercion potential for some of those witnesses.' I want to ask you to elaborate on that. What did you mean by that?" he said.

"We know that larger amounts of money have been sent out of the fund that was amassed by the former president and is being used to pay for lawyers to various witnesses. the potential for coercion in that case is pretty obvious. I am not going to comment on which witness those threatening messages were sent to, but if you read them, there is an intent to dissuade a witness from testifying honestly. So this is a concern. And I just want people who were trying to interfere with the witness, who would coerce them or threaten them, to know that is not legal. And we do not intend to just sit by and watch that happen," Lofgren said.

"Let's explore that a little bit," Velshi said. "Are you worried that the backlash that Cassidy Hutchison is now facing by her former colleagues and the supporters of the former president, that that may influence other witnesses and make them hesitant to come forward? When you say you are not going to allow that to happen, what can you actually offer?"

"All I am saying is, certainly Miss Hutchison, although she is young, is pretty wise. She knew, and we knew, that when she testified, Trump loyalists would try to undercut her testimony, attacker, belittle her, and try to discount her testimony under oath. In fact, that is what is happening right now.

"But as to witness intimidation, that is a crime. And individuals who are trying to protect the president are committing a crime. We intend to take the evidence that we get of that, and not just sit on it. People ought to be aware that committing the crime, witness tampering, is a serious matter and it is not going to be ignored," she said.

"As a lawyer, you know a lot about crimes. And I guess there are people involved in January 6th who may have been lawyers who may not have known about things," Velshi said.

"Pat Cipollone is a lawyer, and a lot of information about him came out in yesterday's hearing. you have spoken to him on the committee at some point. But at this point, you are asking, in fact this evening, you have issued a subpoena. You want more information from him under oath. Tell me about that."

"Pretty clearly, if you watch the hearing yesterday with Miss Hutchinson, she was relaying information to people other than the president, and we need to talk to him about it," Lofgren said.

"There have been some informal discussions, but not the wholesale discussion that we need. We respect that there were some elements of the advice he gave directly to the president that may be subject to privilege. So, you know, respecting that will work through those issues. But clearly, some of what he said did not go into that category."

If Trump is paying the legal bills for potential witnesses against him, that is coercive. But a bigger problem is whether a lawyer paid by Trump is going to inform a client when his or her legal defense needs to diverge from Trump's.

Everything Trump touches dies, as someone once said.

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