Washington, DC – This morning, Wyoming Congresswoman and Vice Chair of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol Liz Cheney (R-WY) joined both ABC’s “This Week” and CBS’s “Face the Nation” to discuss the progress of the Select Committee as we approach the first anniversary of the attack on the U.S. Capitol.
See below for video of her full interviews, along with their transcripts:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: We’re joined now by the Vice Chair of the Committee, Congresswoman Liz Cheney. Congresswoman Cheney, thank you for joining us again this morning. Happy New Year to you.
REP. LIZ CHENEY:You too, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Now, you were alarmed by this from the very start, from the moments — from the first moments on January 6th when this started to unfold. You’ve cut a lonely path in your party. Have you been surprised by anything you’ve found over the last year?
REP. CHENEY: Well, I’ve certainly been surprised by many things. I think that in the piece that you played by Jon Karl just a few moments ago, he touched on the fact that we know now — we are learning much more about what former President Trump was doing while the violent assault was under way. The Committee has firsthand testimony now that he was sitting in the dining room next to the Oval Office watching the attack on television as the assault on the Capitol occurred. We know, as you know well, that the briefing room at the White House is just a mere few steps from the Oval Office. The president could have at any moment walked those very few steps into the briefing room, gone on live television, and told his supporters who were assaulting the Capitol to stop. He could have told them to stand down. He could have told them to go home, and he failed to do so. It’s hard to imagine a more significant and more serious dereliction of duty than that.
STEPHANOPOULOS:Is his failure to make that statement criminal negligence?
REP. CHENEY: You know, I think that there are a number of, as the Chairman said, potential criminal statutes at issue here, but I think that there’s absolutely no question that it was a dereliction of duty. And I think one of the things the Committee needs to look at is — as we’re looking at a legislative purpose — is whether we need enhanced penalties for that kind of dereliction of duty. But I think it’s also important for the American people to understand how dangerous Donald Trump was. We know as he was sitting there in the dining room next to the Oval Office, members of his staff were pleading with him to go on television, to tell people to stop. We know Leader McCarthy was pleading with him to do that. We know members of his family, we know his daughter — We have firsthand testimony that his daughter Ivanka went in at least twice to ask him to “please stop this violence.” Any man who would not do so, any man who would provoke a violent assault on the Capitol to stop the counting of electoral votes, any man who would watch television as police officers were being beaten, as his supporters were invading the Capitol of the United States is clearly unfit for future office, clearly can never be anywhere near the Oval Office ever again.
STEPHANOPOULOS:Hillary Clinton said a couple of weeks ago that if he runs and wins, that could “be the end of our democracy.” Do you share that fear?
REP. CHENEY: I do. I think it is critically important given everything we know about the lines that he was willing to cross. He crossed lines no American president has ever crossed before. You know, we entrust the survival of our Republic into the hands of the chief executive, and when a president refuses to tell the mob to stop, when he refuses to defend any of the coordinate branches of government, he cannot be trusted. And we watched what this president did throughout the election, the lies that he told, the extent to which he went to war with the rule of law. He completely ignored the rulings of over 60 courts, including judges he had appointed, and refused to send help, refused to tell people to stand down for multiple hours while that attack was underway.
STEPHANOPOULOS:You’re about as stalwart as a Republican as I’ve ever met. You come from a long line of Republicans — as well as your father served in the White House, your mother served in administrations as well. How do you explain, given your belief, your views and your background, why a majority of Republicans today would re-elect Donald Trump?
REP. CHENEY:Look, I think that we’re in a situation as a nation where I certainly have very strong disagreements with policies of the Biden Administration. I think that the policies that President Biden has adopted are the wrong ones for this country. I think we need conservative, principled leadership, but the Republican Party has to make a choice. We can either be loyal to our Constitution or loyal to Donald Trump, but we cannot be both. And the nation needs a Republican Party that is based on substance and values and principles, and we’ve got to get back to that if we want to get this nation back on track. But fundamentally, at the end of the day, we can’t be a party that’s based on lies. We’ve got to be based on a foundation of truth and fidelity to the rule of law, and, in my view, the most conservative of conservative principles is fidelity to the Constitution.
STEPHANOPOULOS:As we approach this anniversary, partisan views seem to be hardening. Do you have any evidence — do you have hope that your report can actually change some minds?
REP. CHENEY:You know, this Committee gives me hope, George. I think the way that the Select Committee is working is nonpartisan. It is very much one that brings together a group of us who have very different policy views, but who come together when the issues have to do with the defense of the Constitution. So, that does give me hope. And I also think the American people are looking for serious leadership. They’re looking for people, certainly on both sides of the aisle, who are going to dedicate themselves to policy and substance and engage in the debates that we need for the health of the nation and get away from the kind of vitriol that we are seeing too frequently, too often, frankly on both sides, but as Republicans, we have a particular duty to reject insurrection, to reject what happened on January 6th, and to make sure that Donald Trump is not our nominee and that he’s never anywhere close to the reins of power every again.
STEPHANOPOULOS:Congresswoman Cheney, thanks for your time this morning.
REP. CHENEY:Thank you, George.
MARGARET BRENNAN:Welcome back to Face the Nation. We now turn to the congressional committee investigating January 6th. Republican Liz Cheney of Wyoming is the Vice Chair of the Committee, and she joins us now from Capitol Hill. Good morning to you.
REP. LIZ CHENEY:Good morning, Margaret. Thank you for having me.
BRENNAN:We know Democrats are planning a vigil. We know the former president is planning a news conference. Are you concerned about the country being at risk of political violence this week and in the years ahead?
REP. CHENEY: Look, I think that if what he has been saying since he left office is any indication, former President Trump is likely, again this week, to make the same false claims about the election that he knows to be false, and the same false claims about the election that he knows caused violence on January 6th. I think that it is, indeed, very concerning, given what we know happened in the lead up to the 6th, and what the Committee is finding out about the events of that day. I think it is not surprising, but, again, he knows these claims caused violence. We’ve seen, now, people who were in the Capitol, people who have been arrested because of their activities on that day — They themselves have told us in court filings, they’ve told us on social media, we’ve seen it on videos, that they were here because Donald Trump told them to be here. He is doing this press conference on the 6th. Again, if he makes those same claims, he is doing it with complete understanding and knowledge of what those claims have caused in the past.
BRENNAN: You’ve raised in the past the possibility of criminal culpability for the president. Is that the consensus view of the Committee?
REP. CHENEY:Look, the Committee is obviously going to follow the facts wherever they lead. We’ve made tremendous progress. We have had now — If you just think about, for example, what we know now about what the former president was doing on the 6th while the attack was under way. The Committee has firsthand testimony that President Trump was sitting in the dining room next to the Oval Office, watching on television, as the Capitol was assaulted, as the violence occurred. We know that that is clearly a supreme dereliction of duty. One of the things the Committee is looking at from the perspective of our legislative purpose is whether we need enhanced penalties for that kind of dereliction of duty, but we have certainly never seen anything like that as a nation before.
BRENNAN:One of the things we’ve seen in CBS polling is that there is just a hard percentage of the population that believes what the former president is claiming. Eight million people believe in violence to restore him to office. Seven out of ten Republicans still believe President Biden is illegitimate. 66% believe there was widespread voter fraud. So, these numbers are pretty hard here. Why hasn’t this conviction abated within your party?
REP. CHENEY:Look, I think that we’re in a situation where people have got to understand the danger of President Trump and the danger that he posed on that day. You know, if you think, Margaret, he could have simply walked a few feet to the White House briefing room. He could have gone immediately on live television and asked his supporters to stop what was happening, ask them to go home. He failed to do that. He, instead, we know, had the motivation at the same time the violent assault was happening, he’s watching television, he was also calling at least one Senator urging delay of the electoral vote. So, this is a man who has demonstrated that he is at war with the rule of law. He has demonstrated that he’s willing to blow through every guardrail of democracy. And he can never be anywhere near the Oval Office again. He has demonstrated a complete lack of fitness for office. I think one of the really important things that our Committee has to do is lay these facts out for the American people so that they really have a sense of the truth of what happened that day, and so they inform us in terms of our legislative activity going forward.
BRENNAN:That assumes facts can actually persuade. What happens with this Committee if Republicans take the majority in 2022? Have you asked Kevin McCarthy to keep it?
REP. CHENEY:Look, you know, Leader McCarthy has said a variety of things. He has both acted to obstruct the operations of the Committee, but he has also, on a couple of occasions, said that he is willing to come talk to the Committee. I think that the American people again, and particularly the Republican Party – we as Republicans have a choice to make. I’m a conservative Republican. I believe strongly in the policies of low taxes and limited government and a strong national defense. I think the country needs a strong Republican Party going forward, but our party has to choose. We can either be loyal to Donald Trump or we can be loyal to the Constitution, but we cannot be both. And right now there are far too many Republicans who are trying to enable the former president, embrace the former president, look the other way and hope that the former president goes away, trying to obstruct the activities of this Committee, but we won’t be deterred.
BRENNAN: In a number of state capitals around the country, in 19 different states, election laws are being changed, and in some, there is concern that Republican-controlled legislatures could be able to change certification of an election if they don’t like the outcome of it. This is undermining confidence among some in the public about the integrity of our elections. Would you ask your fellow Republicans in states around the country to stop trying to do that?
REP. CHENEY:Absolutely. I think that, again, you know, as a nation, we’ve got to be founded on the rule of law. We’ve got to be founded on fidelity to the Constitution. And when you look at what former President Trump continues to do to this day in terms of trying to undermine our belief in our democratic process, in terms of trying to undermine the rule of law, in terms of trying to find local officials who will help him do that. One of the really important lessons we learned on January 6th was how important it was that we had a few individuals who stood up. We had individuals at the Department of Justice before January 6th who stood up to the president, who said, “Absolutely not, we will not claim that this election was stolen,” who told him the truth. And we had local officials in the Republican Party who did the same.
BRENNAN:We have congressional races in 2022. You, yourself, are running out in Wyoming. We know the former president endorsed your primary opponent, he’s promised to help campaign against you, you have one of his biggest donors, Peter Thiel, a billionaire, throwing money behind your primary opponent. This is a direct challenge here. Given how red your state is, how do you expect to win that primary?
REP. CHENEY:Look, I am absolutely honored and privileged to be able to represent the people of Wyoming in Congress. I absolutely anticipate that we will have a very energetic and hard fought campaign this year. But at the end of the day, I am also incredibly privileged to be able to stand up and defend the Constitution of the United States. And I’m confident that the people of Wyoming will not choose loyalty to one man, one man as dangerous as Donald Trump is. You know, imagine a man who while the violent assault was underway, while he was watching television, watching it unfold, not telling his supporters to stop and go home, instead was sending out a tweet saying that Mike Pence was a coward. This is a man who is simply too dangerous ever to play a role again in our democracy. And I look forward to the opportunity to continue to help the American people see the facts about what happened, and to continue to make the case at home about the kind of representation that we need in Washington for the people of Wyoming.
BRENNAN: Would you be willing to run against him in 2024?
REP. CHENEY: I’m very focused on my re-election and on the work of the Select Committee, and I can tell you that the single most important thing, though, is to ensure that Donald Trump is not the Republican nominee and that he certainly is not anywhere close to the Oval Office ever again.
BRENNAN:Congresswoman Cheney, thank you for your time today.