Republican Liz Cheney calls Trump 'clearly unfit for future office'

Rep. Liz Cheney said Jan. 6 panel gives her "hope."

January 2, 2022, 11:08 AM

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wy., the top Republican on the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol, said former President Donald Trump is "clearly unfit for future office [and] clearly can never be anywhere near the Oval Office ever again."

"He crossed lines no American president has ever crossed before," she said in an interview with "This Week" anchor George Stephanopoulos on Sunday. "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."

The Wyoming Republican said her party has a "particular duty" to not only reject the events of Jan. 6, but "to make sure that Donald Trump is not our nominee, and that he's never anywhere close to the reins of power ever again."

As Trump publicly weighs whether to seek the White House again in 2024, Cheney said she agreed with Trump's former Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, who said recently that a Trump victory in the next presidential election "could be the end of our democracy."

"Do you share that fear?" Stephanopoulos asked.

"I do," she said.

Rep. Liz Cheney testifies before the House Rules Committee about the January 6th Select Committee recommendation that the House hold Mark Meadows in criminal contempt of Congress at the Capitol building in Washington, Dec. 14, 2021.
Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters

As the one-year anniversary of the Capitol siege nears, the House select committee's sprawling probe is in full swing. In the past six months, the panel has interviewed more than 300 people, issued more than 50 subpoenas and obtained tens of thousands of records.

Cheney said the panel's substantial efforts have already garnered important findings regarding Trump's actions that day.

"The committee has firsthand testimony now that [Trump] was sitting in the dining room next to the Oval Office watching the attack on television," she said.

She went on to add, "We have firsthand testimony that his daughter Ivanka went in at least twice to ask him to please stop this violence."

"He could have told them to stand down. He could have told them to go home – and he failed to do so," Cheney continued. "It's hard to imagine a more significant and more serious dereliction of duty than that."

"Is his failure to make that statement criminal negligence?" Stephanopoulos asked.

Cheney replied that there are several "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 we're looking at a legislative purpose is whether we need enhanced penalties for that kind of dereliction of duty," she said.

Cheney, one of two Republicans on the congressional panel probing Jan. 6, said Sunday that "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."

Despite her pessimism about the state of her party, Cheney said she remains in high spirits about the work her committee has done.

"This committee gives me hope," she said. "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."

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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