Simi Valley, CA – Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney (R-WY) joined ABC News’ “This Week” for an interview from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library to discuss the the recent testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson, the work of the January 6th Select Committee, and the future of the Republican Party.
Watch the full interview here and see a transcript below:
JONATHAN KARL: You’ve been clear since really January 6th itself that he bears responsibility, Have these hearings demonstrated that Donald Trump needs to be prosecuted?
REP. LIZ CHENEY: 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 and further incites that mob when his own vice president is under threat, when the Congress is under threat. It’s just very chilling and I think certainly we will, you know, continue to present to the American people what we found.
KARL: So, the Committee will or will not make a criminal referral?
REP. CHENEY: We’ll make a decision as a Committee about it.
KARL: So, it’s possible there will be a criminal referral?
REP. CHENEY: Yes.
KARL: Which would be effectively the Committee saying that he should be prosecuted and this the evidence that we’ve–
REP. CHENEY: The Justice Department doesn’t have to wait for the Committee to make a criminal referral. There could be more than one criminal referral.
KARL: Are you worried about what that means for the country, to see a former president prosecuted, a former president and who is a likely candidate, who may in fact be running for president against Biden? It would be Biden’s Justice Department that would be prosecuting.
REP. CHENEY: I have greater concern about what it would mean if people weren’t held accountable for what’s happened here. 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, much more serious threat.
KARL: Cassidy Hutchinson, I saw you went and gave her a hug after she testified.
CASSIDY HUTCHINSON (CLIP): It was unpatriotic. It was un-American. We were watching the Capitol building get defaced over a lie.
KARL: Why did she go where so few have gone before?
REP. CHENEY: What Cassidy Hutchinson did was an example of bravery and courage and patriotism in the face of real pressure.
HUTCHINSON (CLIP): The president said something to the effect of, “I’m the f–ing president. Take me up to the Capitol now.” To which Bobby responded, “Sir, we have to go back to the West Wing.” The president reached up towards the front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel.
KARL: People have outright said that she’s not telling the truth, that Cassidy Hutchinson is not telling the truth about what happened in the presidential motorcade.
REP. CHENEY: 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.
KARL: Do you have any evidence other than Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony to corroborate what she said happened in that presidential motorcade?
REP. CHENEY: The Committee has significant evidence about a whole range of issues, including the president’s intense anger. And I think you will see–
KARL: Anger at not being able to go to the Capitol?
REP. CHENEY: Yes, exactly. At that moment. And so, but let me just leave it there. I think you will continue to see in coming days and weeks additional detail about the president’s activities and behavior on that day.
KARL: So you told me last year, this is direct quote, “I will do everything I can–”
REP. CHENEY (CLIP): To make sure he’s not the nominee. And, you know, everything necessary to make sure that he doesn’t get anywhere close to the Oval Office again.
KARL: Have these hearings gotten you closer to that goal, making him toxic and not a viable candidate?
REP. CHENEY: That’s not the goal of the hearings.
KARL: But you said it was your priority.
REP. CHENEY: I think it’s important but I don’t want you to convey the impression that somehow the hearings are political.
REP. CHENEY: Because the goal of the hearings is to make sure that the American people understand what happened, to help inform legislation, legislative changes that we might need to make. But I think it’s also the case that there’s not a single thing that I have learned as we have been involved in this investigation that has made me less concerned. And I think there’s no question, I mean, a man as dangerous as Donald Trump can absolutely never be anywhere near the Oval Office ever again.
KARL: You said recently, “The country is now in a battle we must win against a former president trying to unravel our Constitutional Republic.” What will it mean for that battle if you lose the Republican primary in Wyoming?
REP. CHENEY: Well, I don’t intend to lose the Republican primary in Wyoming.
KARL: How important is it that you win, for that larger battle?
REP. CHENEY: I think it’s important because I will be the best representative the people of Wyoming can have. The single most important thing is protecting the nation from Donald Trump. And I think that that matters to us as Americans more than anything else and that’s why my work on the Committee is so important and why it’s so important to not just brush this past. I think it’s very important that people know the truth and that there are consequences.
KARL: Can the Republican Party survive, in the way you’ve known it, if Donald Trump is again chosen?
REP. CHENEY: It can’t survive if he’s our nominee.
REP. CHENEY: No. I think that he can’t be the party nominee, and I don’t think the party would survive that. I believe in the party and I believe in what the party can be and what the party can stand for, and I’m not ready to give that up. Those of us who believe in Republican principles and ideals have a responsibility to try to lead the party back to what it can be and to reject so much of the toxin and the vitriol.
DONALD TRUMP (CLIP): We will stop the steal. We won this election, and we won it by a landslide. This was not a close election.
REP. CHENEY: That millions of people, millions of Republicans, have been betrayed by Donald Trump. And that is a really painful thing for people to recognize and to admit but it’s absolutely the case, and they’ve been betrayed by him, by the big lie and by what he continues to do and say to tear apart our country and tear apart our party and I think we have to reject that.
KARL: So, do you run for president? I mean, do you see yourself running for president as a way to prevent what you say would be a destruction of the party and ultimately damaging our country?
REP. CHENEY:I haven’t made a decision about that yet. And I’m obviously very focused on my re-election, I’m very focused on the January 6th Committee, I’m very focused on my obligations to do the job that I have now, and I’ll make a decision about ‘24 down the road. But I think about it less in terms of a decision about running for office and more in terms of, you know, as an American and as somebody who’s in a position of public trust now, how do I make sure that I’m doing everything I can to do the right thing, to do what I know is right for the country and to protect our Constitution.