In an interview with CNN’s Kasie Hunt, Cheney — the GOP vice chairman of the House select committee investigating the events surrounding the Jan. 6, 2021, uprising — said Trump was “guilty of the gravest dereliction of duty any president in our nation’s history” and pointed the finger at a judge who said he likely committed crimes. She said the House committee “will continue to follow the facts. I think the Department of Justice will. But they have to make decisions about prosecutions.”
“Understanding what it means if the facts and the evidence are there, and they decide not to prosecute – how can we then call ourselves a nation of laws? I think that’s a very serious balance,” said Cheney said.
“The question for us is, are we a nation of laws? Are we a country where no one is above the law? And what do the facts and the evidence show?” Cheney said.
She avoided questions about whether Trump being sued by President Joe Biden’s Justice Department would only add to his strength with the Republican Party’s base ahead of the 2024 presidential bid that Trump has repeatedly teased.
“I don’t think it’s appropriate to think about it that way,” said Cheney, who faces a Trump-backed challenger in a primary later this month.
She alluded to Judge David Carter, a California federal judge who ordered right-wing attorney John Eastman to turn over 101 emails dated around January 6, 2021, writing in March that he “finds he is more likely than not President Trump corruptly attempted to obstruct the joint session of Congress on January 6, 2021.”
“I think he is guilty of the most serious dereliction of duty of any president in the history of our country,” Cheney said of Trump. “You had a federal judge in California who said it’s more likely than not that he and John Eastman committed two felonies.”
Cheney’s comments come as the House panel prepares for a busy August. A committee spokesperson also said last week that the committee intended to share 20 transcripts with the Justice Department, a move that comes as the department’s criminal investigation into Jan. 6 heats up.
The House committee is preparing to release its final report ahead of the November midterm elections.
Cheney faces a series of Trump-aligned challengers in his Aug. 16 primary, including Trump-endorsed Harriet Hageman, a former Republican national committee member from Wyoming who has advanced conspiracy theories about the 2020 election. Cheney is the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney. His re-election campaign unveiled an ad on Thursday in which the former vice president slams Trump for his lies about widespread fraud in the 2020 election.
“He tried to steal the last election by using lies and violence to hold on to power after voters rejected him,” the former vice president says in the spot.
“He’s a coward. A real man wouldn’t lie to his supporters. He lost his election and he lost big. I know that, he knows that, and deep down I think most Republicans know that. know,” adds Dick Cheney.
Liz Cheney wouldn’t say if her father urged her to run for president in 2024.
“Listen, Dick Cheney is a huge Liz Cheney supporter,” she said.
She said the former vice president shares “this real sadness, frankly, about what’s happening to our party, and real despair about how it could be that so many Republicans refuse to stand up and tell the truth”.
“And this is a scary time for the nation,” she added.
Cheney says more to come from committee this fall
Liz Cheney, who courted Democratic voters in the Wyoming primary, said she doesn’t view the House committee’s work through the prism of political outcomes.
Cheney said the House panel will continue to present evidence in the coming months and that she expects the committee “to have an opinion” on criminal referrals to the Justice Department.
“There’s a lot more that we haven’t shared in the hearings yet and plan to share in the fall,” she said. “And we will also make decisions about criminal referrals. And ultimately the decision about prosecution is up to the Department of Justice. But I anticipate the committee will have an opinion on that.”
Cheney said during the committee’s investigation, she learned that Trump’s efforts to block the 2020 election results were “a more sophisticated and broader effort than I thought.”
“I think all of us on the committee had the same reaction that there’s so much, there was so much more going on in a number of different areas, whether it’s the pressure on state officials or pressure on the Justice Department.” or efforts to push former Vice President Mike Pence to reject electoral votes from certain states.
“The volume of information has been greater than I expected,” she said.
Cheney praised Pence for rejecting pressure from Trump. She said Pence, who as vice president oversaw the session of Congress in which the electoral votes were officially counted, “was a hero on Jan. 6.”
“It’s very clear that there was tremendous pressure from many different places on him. And he did his duty and he didn’t succumb to that pressure and if he had succumbed to that pressure things would have been very different,” she said. said. “And so I think we owe him gratitude for the way he behaved and for his refusal to do what Donald Trump wanted him to do, which would have been illegal.”
Cheney faces voters on August 16
Cheney said she expects to win her primary in less than two weeks, despite her opponents attacking her role on the committee.
“I don’t expect to lose. I work hard to win every vote, and at the end of the day, I truly believe that the people of Wyoming fundamentally understand how important loyalty to the Constitution is; understand how important it is that we fight for these fundamental principles on which everything else is based,” she said.
However, the congresswoman also made it clear that she isn’t tempering her criticism of Trump at all – even if it costs her the House seat her father held and which she has held since 2017.
“We are in a situation where former President Trump betrayed the patriotism of millions and millions of people across our country, and many people here in Wyoming, and he lied to them,” she said. . “And what I know how to do is tell the truth and make sure people understand the truth about what happened and why it’s so important.”
When asked why she thinks voters believe Trump, Cheney added, “It’s just consistent to lie about what happened in the election, playing on people’s patriotism. And he’s so dangerous that, you know, my opinion is that at the end of the day, if defending the Constitution against the threat he poses means losing a seat in the House, then that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make I don’t intend to lose, but some things are more important than any individual office or political campaign.
Cheney would not discuss his political plans after this month’s primary. But she said she would do “whatever it takes” to prevent Trump from becoming the GOP presidential nominee for a third straight election in 2024.
She said she intended to be “an important part of making sure we protect the nation” from Trump whether or not she wins reelection.
Cheney also urged members of both parties to band together against GOP candidates who have advanced Trump’s lies about voter fraud and are seeking to take control of the election machinery of key states this fall.
In recent months, Republicans have nominated candidates who have embraced Trump’s lies about voter fraud for offices that control the electoral machinery in a range of states, including some of the nation’s most competitive presidential battlegrounds: Arizona, Nevada and Pennsylvania. The party also endorsed an election denier for Michigan’s top campaigner.
“I don’t think anyone should vote for a Holocaust denier,” Cheney said. She called the defeat of these candidates essential to prevent Trump from circumventing the will of American voters if he is named president in 2024.
“I think we have to make sure that we come together and form alliances across party lines, to make sure that the people we elect are not going to dismantle the republic,” she said.
Cheney lambasted Democrats for interfering in the GOP primaries to spur Holocaust deniers who they believe will be less viable general election candidates, as was the case in the primary defeat this week of Republican Rep. Peter Meijer of Michigan, one of 10 Republicans in the House. who voted to impeach Trump after the insurgency. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee pumped more than $300,000 into TV ads to bolster Trump-backed John Gibbs against him.
Cheney said the Democrats’ involvement in the race was “terrible.”
“All of us, again, across party lines, need to make sure that we support people who fundamentally believe in our democratic system,” she said. “And so I think it’s inexplicable and wrong for Democrats to fund election deniers, especially against one of the 10 Republicans who so bravely stood up and did the right thing.”
CLARIFICATION: This title and article have been updated to clarify terms that Cheney believes would challenge the United States as a “nation of law” and to include additional information from the interview.
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