'This Week' Transcript 12-10-23: Secretary of State Antony Blinken & Former Rep. Liz Cheney

This is a rush transcript of "This Week" airing Sunday, December 10.

ByABC News
December 10, 2023, 9:31 AM

Secretary of State Antony Blinken & Former Rep. Liz Cheney were on "This Week" Sunday, December 10. This is a rush transcript and may be updated.

ANNOUNCER: "This Week with George Stephanopoulos” starts right now.


MARTHA RADDATZ, ABC “THIS WEEK” CO-ANCHOR (voice-over): Primary pitch.

NIKKI HALEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have to end the chaos.


RADDATZ: But five weeks until voting starts, one thing hasn't changed.

CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There is no bigger issue in this race than Donald Trump.

RADDATZ: We're on the road talking to swing state voters.

STEPHANIE JARBECK, PENNSYLVANIA VOTER: People are concerned of a Biden-Trump repeat ticket.

RADDATZ: Rick Klein breaks down how the GOP field sees a road beyond Trump. And our powerhouse round table weighs in.

Intense assault.

The U.S. vetoes a ceasefire at the U.N.

ANTONIO GUTERRES, U.N. ATTORNEY-GENERAL: The eyes of history are watching.

RADDATZ: While raising alarms over civilian deaths in Gaza.

ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S, SECRETARY OF STATE: It remains imperative that Israel put premium on civilian protection.

RADDATZ: And Senate Republicans’ blockade for Israel and Ukraine over border security.

The latest this morning with Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

And --

FORMER REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): The party itself has faced a choice, and they chose Trump over the Constitution.

RADDATZ: Jonathan Karl sits down with former Wyoming congresswoman and outspoken Trump critic, Liz Cheney, on the future of the Republican Party.


ANNOUNCER: From ABC News, it’s “This Week”.

Here now, Martha Raddatz.

RADDATZ (on camera): Good morning, and welcome to "This Week".

In a matter of weeks, five to be exact, the 2024 election season officially kicks off with the Iowa caucuses, the start of an election that could have profound implications for the future of the country, the issues that shape us as a nation, and democracy itself.

As we come on the air this morning, the Texas Supreme Court has put on hold a judge's decision to allow an abortion for a young woman whose fetus has a genetic condition, nearly always fatal, and according to doctors is endangering the mother's own health and future fertility. This while Congress debates whether to provide more aid for Ukraine, and its fight against Russian occupation, and across the country, protests against Israel's bombardment of Gaza intensify.

Abortion, Ukraine, and Israel are all topics that presidential candidates must be prepared to talk about.

And to that end, this week, four of the remaining Republican candidates were on a debate stage in Alabama vying to defeat the one who once again failed to show, Donald Trump. The former president still holds a commanding lead in the polls. So is there a realistic path forward for those Republican rivals?

We'll talk to ABC's political director Rick Klein about that in a moment.

But first, we traveled to battleground Pennsylvania, key to Joe Biden's victory in 2020, and Donald Trump's in 2016, to see what Republican voters themselves think.


RADDATZ (voice-over): It is a state that defines battleground -- pockets of big city blue where Democrats prevail and deep red stretches where conservatives rule.

Here in beautiful York County, Pennsylvania, farm country, Republicans can generally count on a victory. There are 65,000 more registered Republicans than Democrats, and most of them are white.

CJ Weigle, the former chair of the York County Young Republicans, has spent his life here in this county of nearly half a million. At 28, he's voted in only two presidential elections, both times for Trump.

But this time around, he's looking elsewhere.

CJ WEIGLE, FORMER CHAIR, YORK COUNTY YOUNG REPUBLICANS: And there's a candidate I think that possesses a unique perspective, and a positive attitude moving forward, and I’m looking to see her do very well.



RADDATZ: It's Nikki Haley.

WEIGLE: It is. That’s correct.

RADDATZ: Weigle thinks Nikki Haley is presidential, and that it's time for a new party leader. He knows Haley trails far behind Trump in the polls, but says he's optimistic the tide could turn, and if it doesn't, Weigle says he may not back his party.

So the possibility is you might not vote? Or you would just look for a third-party candidate?

WEIGLE: I think I’d probably vote for a third-party candidate.

RADDATZ: Stephanie Jarbeck is an independent who leans Republican. She's interested in both Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis even though she can't vote in the closed Republican primary.

You voted for Trump in 2016. You voted for Donald Trump in 2020. You're hesitating this time. Why is that?

STEPHANIE JARBECK, PENNSYLVANIA VOTER: I’m hesitating because of his age. That's a big one for me. And some of the things that Donald Trump has said over the years here, you know, don't sit well with me. I think he did a good job while he was in there. But I think the time has passed. I think we need new blood in there. I think we need new ideas, new visions.

RADDATZ: And if Trump secures the nomination...

JARBECK: If it's Donald Trump and on the other side Joe Biden, and possibly if we have that third-party person come in, it's going to be, for me, a very hard choice.

RADDATZ: One issue on Jarbeck's mind, abortion.

JARBECK: I agree that every woman has the choice, but I do believe there should be limitations. I don't believe that you should be able to go to 38 weeks, unless something is medically wrong for the mother or the child, and that you should be able to abort that child.

RADDATZ: And yet you're interested in Ron DeSantis. So that is not a major issue for you?

JARBECK: That's where I -- for him, I would say that's a sticking point for me. In any situation, no one should be able to tell you what you believe is right for you.

RADDATZ: But despite Jarbeck and Weigle's interest in other candidates, there are many York County residents who remain unabashed supporters of the former president, people like Jamie Wetzel, who aren't bothered by his Trump's criminal trials or his dictator rhetoric.

Nothing's changed your mind about him?


RADDATZ: He's got all sorts of charges against him. That doesn't matter? He says the election was stolen. That doesn't matter?

WETZEL: Yeah, no, it doesn't make a difference to me. I don't necessarily believe them all. I don't believe he's a threat to democracy. I like people who are in an authoritative position to have some authority.

RADDATZ: Adam Pastelak would also stand by Trump in a Biden rematch.

So if it came to that, it -- it would be Trump for you?

ADAM PASTELAK, PENNSYLVANIA VOTER: A hundred percent, yeah. Anybody but Biden.

RADDATZ: And that's what the voters think.

But let's go back to our original question. Is there really a path for these candidates trying to defeat Donald Trump?

And for that, we turn to ABC News political director Rick Klein with the breakdown. And Rick, first, is there any sign that these debates actually moved the needle?

RICK KLEIN, ABC NEWS POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yeah, Martha. our polling with our partners at FiveThirtyEight, Ipsos and The Washington Post did show some clear winners and losers out of this debate and several of the debates. The last debate, 30 percent of people thought that Ron DeSantis had the best performance. Another 23 percent said the same about Nikki Haley.

But here's the thing. None of them saw their vote share increase substantially. Donald Trump, as strong as ever in all of the polls. And that really has been the story of the entire debate season.

Take a look at this. Go back to August, before any of the Republican debates happened. Donald Trump was in the low 50s. Four debates later, after having not attended any of those debates, he's in the high 50s, the other candidates all stuck there in either the low double-digits or mired in the single digits, without a lot of motion for any of them, despite the fact that a bunch of candidates dropped out. This field winnowed a lot faster than most people thought it would.

RADDATZ: It did winnow. So what -- what is the realistic path for the candidates, at this point, of actually defeating Trump for the nomination?

KLEIN: I'll tell you, Martha. It really is daunting. But it starts with the early states.

So these are the candidates -- these are the states that the candidates are spending the most time in. This is where they're hoping to catch fire to take on Donald Trump. Starting in Iowa, as you mentioned, just five weeks from tomorrow, those caucuses, that's Ron DeSantis's best opportunity. He has the support of the governor there, a key evangelical leader. If he's able to win there, maybe he starts to get a one-on-one shot against -- against Trump.

Ron DeSantis knows that Nikki Haley, though, is hot on his heels. He knows that if he's able to -- if he isn't able to win Iowa or come very close, Nikki Haley could catch fire. If she does very well in Iowa, she can carry that through New Hampshire all the way to her home state of South Carolina at the end of February.

But here's the potential flaw in even that reasoning. After February 24th, after the early states vote, the race goes national, and very fast. This is what things look like after Super Tuesday. The Republican National Committee just finalized their -- their schedule of voting, and those early states that I just mentioned, those first four states, together they award about 5 percent of the total number of delegates.

But at the end of the night on Super Tuesday, with all of this voting across the country, almost 50 percent of the delegates will have been chosen. So that says that a candidate with a national following has a big opportunity to basically clean up early in the process.

And one other note, Martha, Super Tuesday this year is March 5th. That is the day after the start of the criminal trial that Donald Trump is facing in the election interference case.

RADDATZ: And we will all be watching, Rick.

And now we want to expand on this with some leading conservative voices who have been watching the debates and this race carefully, former Justice Department spokesperson under Donald Trump, Sarah Isgur, and ABC News contributor Ramesh Ponnuru, editor of the National Review.

Welcome to you both this morning. I want a very quick take from each of you on the debates this week.


SARAH ISGUR, ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Look, they're performing well, but it's not where the race is. Donald Trump is still light years ahead of everyone in the poll numbers, and the problem for someone like Nikki Haley is, she needs to get the lead by actually wining over Trump's voter, but Trump’s voters are only interested in someone who’s already in the lead.

RADDATZ: Ramesh, what did you think of the debate?

RAMESH PONNURU, NATIONAL REVIEW EDITOR: The first three debates helped Haley really establish herself in this race and kept DeSantis from doing the same thing. He did better this last time, but the fourth debate I think kind of left things where they were.

RADDATZ: So we do have five weeks left. No one has voted yet, but soon enough. So is there anything, Sarah, you think, can change the dynamics of this race?

ISGUR: The problem is even if every candidate drops out except one, this isn't 2016. They actually will need Trump's current voters to start moving over. Maybe a state like New Hampshire, you've got enough independents that that could boost someone, but even if Nikki Haley wins New Hampshire, she’ll then be blamed for taking independents or even Democrats who voted for her.

RADDATZ: And, Ramesh, you wrote this week that DeSantis might actually have a better path to defeating Trump than Nikki Haley. Why?

PONNURU: Because Haley, so far, is getting the votes of people who aren't considering Trump, who have already ruled out Trump in their minds, and as Sarah was saying, a Republican other than Trump, if they want to win, they've got to win some of the voters who were with Trump, who are softly for Trump right now, and maybe could be peeled away.

So far, Haley hasn't shown any ability to do that. That said, DeSantis right now isn't doing a great job of it either.

RADDATZ: So what do they do now? What -- in your view to get that vote, what more could they do?

PONNURU: Well, I think one thing that needs to happen is these other candidates need to criticize the far and away front-runner on a more consistent and tough basis. Haley has been much more eager to criticize DeSantis than he has been to criticize Trump -- she has been, excuse me, to criticize Trump. And when she does criticize him, as she did during the debate, she stands in praise for him. I just don't think that that approach is going to do it.

RADDATZ: And Sarah, we know who has been criticizing Trump consistently, Chris Christie, but that doesn't seem to resonate. He did it really more than ever in this debate.

ISGUR: Yeah, and I thought it was the best debate that Chris Christie has had to date. He was incredibly effective both at pointing out the problems with the Donald Trump candidacy and with the other candidates not taking on Donald Trump. You know, what are we doing here? Running for second place? What are they actually looking for?

And the problem is as you said, that's not what Republican primary voters are. It's not what they're interested in a hearing right now. And even if all these other candidates dropped out, and even if they all consolidated against one person, as Ramesh just pointing out, it's not enough to overcome Trump's lead at this point. They've got to get those Donald Trump voters over.

RADDATZ: I mean, you just keep saying that it doesn't really look like they're doing that. So, a thought from each of you -- is it really just impossible at this point?

ISGUR: I think it's impossible without some external change in what's going on in this race. DeSantis winning Iowa, Haley winning New Hampshire, but then you go into Super Tuesday, that’s going to favor Donald Trump who's already in the lead. I don't know how it's going to change.

PONNURU: I would say never say never, but it's really a question of, are the voters in these late stages going to start focusing on this race in a different way than they have been before and reaching different conclusions? Sometimes they do surprise people.

RADDATZ: It was actually interesting to me because up in Pennsylvania, there were people who really weren't quite engaged yet, who just, like, later, later, but later's kind of too late.

PONNURU: Right, but, you know, that's the difference in the timelines. People who come to the studio here, they have been focused on this forever and voters haven't.

RADDATZ: Exactly. A very good point. Thanks so much to both of you.

When we come back, Secretary of State Antony Blinken responds to the latest in the Israel-Hamas war, including that U.S. veto of a ceasefire resolution at the U.N.

We're back in just two minutes.



SAMY ZYARA, ABC NEWS REPORTER: I can't imagine what this has been like for you. You have been covering this war for us as you are living through it, covering this as both a journalist and a father. I know this is insurmountable.

DIANE MACEDO, ABC NEWS LIVE ANCHOR: You know, my concern only, you know, how to -- to protect my kids, to be dying. Because when I'm in the hospital and I saw the kids, they are coming -- it's coming to my mind, that's it. Those could be my kids.


RADDATZ: That was our ABC News producer in Gaza, Samy Zyara, speaking with ABC's Diane Macedo about the fears his own family is facing in Gaza while he covers this war.

For the latest on the conflict, we're joined now by Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

We appreciate your time this morning, Mr. Secretary.

You had five Democratic senators send a letter to you, the defense secretary, the president this week, calling for increased accountability for Israel's use of American weapons. And yet your State Department is now pushing through the sale of 13,000 rounds of tank ammunition for Israel, bypassing congressional review generally required for foreign arm sales.

Why are you doing that?

ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Martha, first, we're trying to do everything we can to ensure that civilians are protected, that humanitarian assistance gets in to people who need it in Gaza. We are deeply, deeply aware of the terrible human toll that this conflict is taking on innocent men, women and children. And we're working to minimize that to the greatest extent possible.

When it comes to the weapons that we transfer, there are rules that go along with them. Those rules apply to Israel, as they do to any other country, including the way they're used and the need -- the imperative of respecting international humanitarian law.

In the case of these particular weapons that you -- that you mentioned, Israel is in combat right now with Hamas, a group that viciously attacked it on October 7th, that has said that, given the opportunity, it will repeat October 7th again and again and again, that continues to launch rockets against Israeli civilians. And we want to make sure that Israel has what it needs to defend itself against Hamas.

A small portion of what has been requested is going through on an emergency basis; that is, moving -- moving quickly so that Israel can have what it needs in hand. But virtually everything else is going through the regular order, through Congress. It's very important that Congress's voice be heard in this.

RADDATZ: But -- but let me go back to the law you mentioned. Have you seen anything in the Israel campaign, with thousands and thousands of civilians killed, many, many of those children, that you believe should be investigated or has been investigated?

BLINKEN: We are in almost constant discussions with the Israelis about -- to ensure that they understand what their obligations are, to make sure that we understand how they're using whatever arms we're providing to them, as well as more -- more broadly. I can't evaluate a specific instance in the moment, but I can tell you we're looking at everything.

RADDATZ: If you're continuing to send these weapons without any accounting for how they are used, except talking to the Israelis, what other leverage can you use to make sure they take greater care in this campaign?

BLINKEN: Martha, we're focused on two things. We're focused on what -- what is their intent, and do they have in place -- are they taking necessary measures to make sure that they're acting in adherencewith international humanitarian law international law, but then also, what are the results?

BLINKEN: And as I've said before, there’s a gap between...

RADDATZ: We’ve seen the results.

BLINKEN: ... the intent -- yeah, there’s a gap between the intent and the -- and the results. And that’s the gap that we’re trying to make sure is closed.

Look, this could be over tomorrow. This could be over tomorrow. If Hamas got out of the way of civilians, instead of hiding behind them, if it put down its weapons, if it surrendered. And what there ought to be as well is a call on part -- on behalf of the entire world for Hamas to do just that. That would stop this tomorrow.

But in the absence of that, Israel has to take steps not only to defend itself against the ongoing attacks from Hamas, but against Hamas’s stated intent, to repeat October 7th again and again if given the opportunity.

RADDATZ: And -- and I assume...

BLINKEN: I bet any country faced with that would have to deal with it.

RADDATZ: And, Mr. Secretary, I assume that -- that answer is the same when it comes to the U.S. being the only country to vote against a U.N. ceasefire resolution on Friday?

BLINKEN: We have been a strong proponent of humanitarian pauses. In fact, because of our advocacy, because of the work we did, we got pauses. We got pauses on a daily basis, to make sure that people could get out of the way, that humanitarian supplies could get in. We helped negotiate the longer pause that resulted in the release of more than 110 hostages and that also allowed a doubling of humanitarian assistance that was getting into Gaza.

But when it comes to a ceasefire in this moment, with Hamas still alive, still intact, and again, with the stated intent of repeating October 7th again and again and again, that would simply perpetuate the problem. And so our focus is on trying to make sure that civilians are protected to the maximum extent possible, that humanitarian assistance gets in to the maximum extent possible.

And again, if Hamas were to put down its weapons tomorrow, surrender tomorrow, this would be over tomorrow.

RADDATZ: Let me go to this wider war. There were a series of missile attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea this week. The USS Carney rushed to aid them, ended up shooting down several drones fired by the Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen. The Yemeni armed forces now saying they will prohibit the passage of any ships to Israel and consider them a target. What do you do about that?

BLINKEN: Well, there are a number of things. First, what we’ve seen coming from the Houthis directed at ships in that area is a threat not just to Israel, not just to us, but to dozens of countries that are engaged in shipping, that depend on this corridor for goods moving about every single day. And this has actually implicated the interests directly of well over a dozen -- a dozen countries, with crews from all sorts of different places, ships registered and insured in different places.

So, this should be and is an international concern. We are bringing together a group that we’ve already formed, and we’re trying to strengthen its work to, on a maritime basis, help protect shipping. We’ve obviously taken action, including sanctions just this week, against those who are trying to finance the -- the Houthis in their efforts. And we’ll talk whatever other actions are necessary to protect our personnel, to protect our people, as well as to protect shipping.

RADDATZ: Military action, you -- you have the former commander of CENTCOM saying "We’ve given them no reason not to continue their attacks."

BLINKEN: Yeah, we will and we are looking at everything.

RADDATZ: I -- I want to move to Ukraine this week. You -- aid was held up to Ukraine. How concerned are you about that with winter coming on?

BLINKEN: Very concerned. We need to see this supplemental budget request go through as quickly as possible.

Ukraine has done an extraordinary job in defending against this Russian aggression. Over the past year, it’s taking back more than 50 percent of its territory. It’s engaged in a ferocious battle right now along the eastern and southern fronts. We are running out of resources already in the bank to continue to assist them, and we need them.

I would point out, as well, that about 90 percent of the security assistance that we provided to Ukraine actually is invested right here in the United States, in terms of the production of materials and munitions and weapons that go to Ukrainians. It’s right here, in America, with good jobs.

We have extraordinary burden-sharing that I haven’t seen before in my own experience, where, for everything that we’ve been providing to the Ukrainians to help them, our European partners and other allies around the world have provided more, military, economic, humanitarian assistance.

So the choice is very clear. If we do this and help Ukraine sustain the achievements that it’s made, help ensure that Russia continues to suffer a strategic failure in Ukraine, that’s one route to go. The other route to go is to do something that the only people who are rooting for it are in Moscow and maybe in Tehran and Beijing, which is not to provide this assistance.

RADDATZ: OK, thank you very much for joining us this morning. We do appreciate your time again. Thank you so much.

When we come back --

BLINKEN: Thanks, Martha.

RADDATZ: -- our Mary Bruce traveled to Dearborn, Michigan, to talk to Muslim and American -- and Arab Americans about their growing anger over the Biden administration’s handling of the Israel-Hamas war.

We’ll be right back.



REP. RASHIDA TLAIB (D-MI): We will not be silent. Fighting to save lives, no matter faith, no matter ethnicity, should not be controversial, especially when the majority of Americans outside of this institution supports a ceasefire.

The images coming out of Gaza are horrific. Netanyahu has resumed his genocidal bombing campaign with President Biden's support. We need a permanent ceasefire now.


RADDATZ: Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, the first Palestinian American elected to Congress, calling for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war amid growing frustration among Muslim and Arab Americans over President Biden's response to the war.

ABC’s chief White House correspondent Mary Bruce traveled to Dearborn, Michigan to report on what it could mean for the 2024 election.


MARY BRUCE, ABC NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From San Francisco to New York to the White House --


BRUCE: -- pro-Palestinian voices are rising, demanding a ceasefire to protect innocent civilians in Gaza.


BRUCE: In the tight-knit community of Dearborn, Michigan, the devastation and loss of life hits hard. Home to one of the largest Muslim and Arab American populations in the country, this conflict is personal.

YASMEEN KADOUH, DEARBORN, MICHIGAN RESIDENT: There’s zero degree of separation between Dearborn and Gaza.

BRUCE: Over tea at a local bakery, Yasmeen Kadouh shares her pain and frustration.

KADOUH: There's a collective grief we're all feeling and we don't feel like anyone's listening. They always want our votes but they never want our voices.

BRUCE (voice-over): Michigan's 200,000 Muslim voters turned out overwhelmingly for Biden in 2020, helping him win this critical state by just 154,000 votes. But now their support is increasingly in doubt.

KADOUH: We've woken up to the fact that not going to pander to us anymore. You're either going to listen to our demands, or you're going to lose this really important chunk of voters.

BRUCE: Which could cost an election.

KADOUH: Which could cost an election but even more so right now it's costing lives

BRUCE (voice-over): Ned Fawaz is more blunt.

NED FAWAZ, WAYNE COUNTY, MICHIGAN RESIDENT: Of course, this will cost him election. This is different Biden, and we're not going to vote for Biden.

BRUCE (voice-over): The President's tone, especially his early rhetoric on the death toll, sparking outrage, and hurt.

JOE BIDEN (D) PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: I have no notion that the Palestinians are telling you the truth about how many people are killed.

BRUCE (voice-over): The President later privately apologized to Muslim-American advocates for those remarks. But Dearborn's first Muslim and Arab-American mayor Abdullah Hammoud says Biden's response to this crisis has lacked empathy.

BRUCE: What do you make of how the President is handling this crisis?

ABDULLAH HAMMOUD, MAYOR (D) DEARBORN, MICHIGAN: I think, you know, the unfortunate reality there's, there's been a callousness. This is a president I supported because he spoke about humanity, that he was a president for all people. And certainly not the President that I see in the White House today.

BRUCE (voice-over): The President has been ramping up the pressure on Israel to do more to protect civilians and address the humanitarian crisis. And he's tweaking his tone. Biden recently, writing in an op-ed, every innocent Palestinian life lost is a tragedy that rips apart families and communities.

But for advocates like Lexi Zeidan, who supported Biden in the past, it's too little too late.

BRUCE: Or is there anything the President could do at this point that would regain your support?

LEXI ZEIDAN, PALESTINIAN AMERICAN ACTIVIST: Nothing. We understand that no vote to our Democratic candidate is going to be a vote to our Republican candidate and we are -- we are willing to take that risk.

BRUCE (voice-over): She says it's worth it to send a strong message to Democrats.

ZEIDAN: Maybe Trump will win, maybe Trump will get an office and that's to open the eyes and the ears of the rest of the public to say listen, it's going to be short term pain for these next four years. But Democrats will not win Michigan until Democrats are ready to back Palestine.

BRUCE (voice-over): For "This Week," Mary Bruce, ABC News, Dearborn, Michigan.


RADDATZ: Our thanks to Mary.

Up next, Liz Cheney's warning about the threat she says former President Trump poses to the country.

We'll be right back.



LINSEY DAVIS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: Do you think Donald Trump today in 2023 is fit to be president?

NIKKI HALEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's not about fitness. I think he's fit to be president. It's should he be president?

I don't think he should be president. You know, I thought he was the right president at the right time. I agreed with a lot of his policies.

The problem is you see our country is in disarray. Our world is on fire, and you can't defeat Democrat chaos with Republican chaos, and Donald Trump brings us chaos.

I think I offer a different approach. No drama, no vendettas, no whining.


RADDATZ: That was ABC's Linsey Davis speaking with GOP candidate Nikki Haley on former President Trump's fitness to serve.

You can see more of Linsey's interview streaming Monday on “ABC News Live”.

For former congresswoman and January 6th Committee vice chair, Liz Cheney, the question of Trump's fitness for office is a clear no. She sat down with "This Week" co-anchor Jon Karl to discuss her new book "Oath and Honor," warning about what a Trump return to the White House could mean.


JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: You write, “If Donald Trump is the Republican nominee in 2024, we must do everything we can to defeat him.”

So it seems to me that if he wins, that leaves you with three choices. You could either vote for or support Joe Biden, vote for or support a third party candidate or run yourself. Am I right? Is that basically the universe of options?

FORMER REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): I think that's a good description.

KARL: And where -- how do you assess those three right now?

CHENEY: Neither party has selected their nominee yet. It looks like it's most likely to be Donald Trump and Joe Biden. But we don't know that for sure. And I -- I think that it's going to require making an assessment about sort of how we can most effectively mobilize people in both parties and mobilize independents, frankly, to stand against Donald Trump.

I think, you know, there's a lot that has to be done to begin to rebuild the Republican Party, potentially to build a new conservative party. But in my view, that has to wait until after the 2024 election because our focus has got to be on defeating Donald Trump.

KARL: But running as a third party or No Labels candidate is a distinct option for you this time around?

CHENEY: I haven't -- I haven't ruled anything out. I really am going to take the next couple of months and look at what is going to be the most effective path to ensure the defeat of Donald Trump.

KARL: And you've -- you've heard Democrats very forcefully say that No Labels -- I mean, some even suggest it's a stalking horse for Trump. But regardless, that a third party candidate simply elects Trump.


KARL: I mean, do you -- I know you're, you're assessing this now, but you do think there's something to that?

CHENEY: Certainly, I'm not going to do something that has the impact of helping Donald Trump.

KARL: Right.

CHENEY: I think that, you know, we're already in a situation in terms of the election next year where we have a third party, we have independent candidates. So you're going to have a fractured electorate. And I think that, again, the whole question is, you know, what do we do to defeat the man who is an existential threat to our republic?

KARL: And if there is a real fractured electorate, there's a real possibility nobody gets the majority of the electoral votes. It goes to the House, obviously.

CHENEY: Right.

KARL: Under its current makeup, that would be the Republicans in the House.

CHENEY: Yeah, I think that's another thing that's just crucially important in this next cycle, which is obviously working to elect candidates who believe in the Constitution. I've expressed very clearly my view that having Mike Johnson as the speaker, having this Republican majority in charge, you can't count on them to defend the Constitution at this moment.

KARL: I want to play an audio clip for you from a conversation I had with Donald Trump just less than three months after January 6, where I asked him if he really wanted to go to the Capitol, as he said in that speech.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT (MARCH 18, 2021): I was thinking about going back during the problem to stop the problem, doing it myself. Secret Service didn't like that idea too much.

KARL: So --

TRUMP: And I could have done that. And you know what? I would have been very well received. Don’t forget -- the people that went to Washington that day, in my opinion, they went because they thought the election was rigged.


KARL: Isn't that right there an admission by Trump himself of his own culpability?

CHENEY: Yes. And it also, it also tells you that he was fully aware that the crowd would follow his instructions and that had he stood up and told people to leave at any moment, they would have done so, as we know they did when he finally did tell people to leave. I think that, you know, one of the things that's really important throughout all of this is Donald Trump's intent.

And we see again and again sort of the premeditation for this whole plan, the premeditation to claim victory, but also the fact that, while the mob, the violence was underway and the electoral vote was stopped, the armed mob at that point was carrying out his wishes.

They were -- they were achieving the objective that he had been trying to achieve through multiple plans and purposes all along. And they were following his instructions.

You look at hundreds, now, of the criminal defendants who have said, "Yeah, I was there because Donald Trump told me to come."

KARL: And you yourself have faced all kinds of threats, and others who voted to impeach and others who have stood up for -- and faced those threats. You talk about a member, a Republican who wanted to vote for impeachment but was worried not just about his own safety but his family's safety -- safety.


KARL: So there was concern, and there still is concern, about retribution?

CHENEY: What a -- what a sad thing it is that we're living in a country today where you have elected officials who are facing the threat of physical violence because of a former president.

You know, this isn't, sort of, the threat of physical violence because of terrorist organizations or outside entities.

KARL: Yeah.

CHENEY: This is the threat of violence because of a former president of the United States. And -- and I think we have to be very careful as a country that we -- we stop and we think about what that means and the path that we're going down, when that is the case.

KARL: And, in fact, Kevin McCarthy told me himself, just three days after January 6th, that he was worried about this. I'm going to play you a clip from a conversation that I had on January 9th.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY, (R) CALIFORNIA: What's real crazy is, back in our district, there's tons of people who are ready to storm the Capitol again. I just don't know about these people.


KARL: I mean, you've written about McCarthy making a lot of wrong decisions, but in that moment, he sounds like he's generally -- genuinely fearful about more violence.

CHENEY: One of the things that was striking to me in writing the book was it was absolutely clear, in those days just after the 6th, on the calls that we were having in leadership, Kevin McCarthy was very clear and very strong about the potential for violence against members of the House.

You know, he actually understood the reality and was being responsible in the beginning, but it didn't take long until the political necessity of appeasing Donald Trump caused him to take a different path.

KARL: You -- you've said that, if he's the nominee, you're no longer a Republican. That -- that's still the case?

CHENEY: For sure.

KARL: Do you see evidence that there's an appetite in the country for a new party?

CHENEY: I think that there's appetite in the country, certainly, for -- for a return to honor in politics, for a return to honesty. And I think that people, sort of, lived through what's happened over the last several years, lived through the Trump presidency, and, you know, they want to know that their leaders are people that, you know, they can say to their kids, you should be like this person. And that's a feeling that stretches across party lines.

KARL: And it may be too -- it is too early, but I'll ask it anyway, to ask a legacy question. I mean, what will people say about you?

CHENEY: I hope that they will say she did the right thing, and that she put the country ahead of politics and ahead of partisanship, at a moment when it really mattered.

KARL: And that project is, in your mind, just getting started?

CHENEY: Certainly. I mean, look, I think, again, once we get through this election cycle and we defeat Donald Trump, I think there's -- there's clearly a huge amount of work that has to be done to restore, you know, to right the ship of our democracy.


RADDATZ: Our thanks to Jon Karl for that.

The powerhouse roundtable is next. We'll be right back.


RADDATZ: The Powerhouse Round Table is here ready to dive into all this week's politics. ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Mary Bruce, NPR White House Correspondent Asma Khalid, Former DNC Chair Donna Brazile, and Sarah Isgur is back again with us.

And Mary, let's start with you. That piece was absolutely fascinating. As you said, the demographic is very small, but it really could have a big impact.

BRUCE: Yeah. Look, they have a lot of power here, especially in a state like Michigan where Biden won so narrowly. I think what sticks out most is just that understandably this is a community in real pain, and that grief they feel was only made worse by the fact that they don't feel heard, they don't feel seen. They feel flat-out betrayed by the president.

In fact, one woman told me for the first time in her life, she feels un-American because she doesn't feel like anyone is representing her. The White House is well aware of this frustration. They note the president is reaching out to these groups. He's doing more to try and up the pressure on Netanyahu. They say, you know, there are a lot of Americans who do support the president's approach to all of this, and look, the election's a long way away. It's possible as Trump gets out there, the choice gets more clear, that some of these voters could come back to Biden…

RADDATZ: Pretty incredible.

BRUCE: …But a lot of voters that I talk to say they are sick of being told that they have to accept what in their mind is the lesser of two evils, and they may sit out just to make that point.

RADDATZ: For someone who wanted a Muslim ban…

BRUCE: Yeah.

RADDATZ: …possibly instead of Joe Biden. Asma, there hasn't been an issue that's been this divisive.


RADDATZ: How does -- Mary touched on this. How does the White House handle it? What are you seeing?

KHALID: Yeah. I mean, I echo what Mary is saying that the White House does seem to think that this is a long time away. But, look, I think the challenge is broader than Muslim and Arab voters. You look at survey after survey of young voters, Pew which I think is kind of a gold standard in a lot of polling had a survey out just this week that showed only 19 percent of young voters approve of how the president is handling the situation. And, you know, Muslim and Arab voters, a small slice of the electorate could be key in a state like Michigan, but young voters already had concerns. They were sort of demotivated when you talk to them about President Biden. The Administration really needs to energize young voters and that's a demographic that is key to the president's base in state after state that he needs.

RADDATZ: And Donna, where you surprised by the power of those voices in that piece? I mean, there is division not only broadly in the Democratic Party about the Israel policy, but within the administration.

BRAZILE: Yes. So, of course, I hear it all the time. I hear it not only when I'm in my classroom at Georgetown. I hear it as I travel across the country. There's a lot of frustration. There's a lot of anger. There's a lot of anger being directed, I think, at times against the president who is really trying to do as much as possible to provide humanitarian aid, to get the hostages to release, to talk to the Prime Minister of Israel about the tactics that are being used.

Some of that is being ignored, but I understand the anger and frustration. The Administration could not take any voters, let alone Muslim Americans, for granted.

RADDATZ: And Sarah, I want to turn to that pretty fiery congressional hearing this week with the Presidents of Harvard, MIT, and UPenn, who were asked about comments from students about genocide and anti-Semitic comments, and let's just say, did very poorly with their responses, very poorly. The UPenn president has already resigned. You're a Harvard law girl. How do you view this? Should the others resign?

ISGUR: Yes, but maybe not just because they had a catastrophic congressional hearing. They should resign because these universities have failed. This wasn't a messaging problem with a congressional hearing. It's a policy problem. They have policies against disrupting class, assaulting Jewish students in the library, drawing swastikas on campus, that's not a free speech issue. But they're not enforcing their policies in the way that they have enforced them in the past. It would be great if as a result of this, these universities became the Free Speech bastions that we have been pressuring them to become.

But my fear is that, in fact, it will be just this moment where they're like, no, no, we're for free speech at this moment, because this is the speech that is unpopular that we like. But when it goes back to being something on progressive issues, then speech is violence again, and they will suddenly find a way to enforce their policies on campus.

RADDATZ: Lots of different issues this weekend. And Mary, the President is facing a lot of criticism for all kinds of things. But he also had his son indicted on further charges this week, tax charges. How does the White House handle it? How does President Biden? Those charges had to be very, very hard to hear. But we assume he knew they were coming?

BRUCE: Yes. And I think you have to remember, you know, anyone who knows Joe Biden, I think, knows that he responds to all of this as a father first and not as a politician. And Joe Biden is devoted to his son Hunter. He was by his side as he fought this horrific addiction. And I think it's hard not to think that he must be concerned about what this spotlight now may do for his son's continued recovery.

I think, you know, if you set that aside, you put your political hat on, sure, it's a political headache for this administration, for this campaign. They thought they were behind all of this just a couple of months ago, when they thought a deal had been reached that of course, fell apart. I don't think you know, in talking with that campaign, they're too worried about this. They have dealt with these issues for many years. And they certainly I think overall believe you know that Hunter isn't the one on the ballot, his legal troubles aren't on the ballot, and Trump's are

ISGUR: This is worse than the gun.


ISGUR: Because politically, this is worse. Legally, frankly, both of them are pretty bad for him. And there's a reason he's going to take the plea deal. This is bad because it highlights the weakness in the Biden candidacy when it comes to the corruption issues. This is Hunter Biden taking money from foreign governments using his father's name to get that money that nobody else without the last name Biden would have been, you know, qualified, if they had Hunter's resume, and then blowing it on, you know, hookers and blow literally. That's going to be really bad to have a trial in an election year for the President, when it's the money that goes to that Biden corruption.

RADDATZ: But Donna, what they say continually -- continuously is he wouldn't have been charged if (INAUDIBLE)?

BRAZILE: You know, if I took time to some of the read Hunters book, where he gave some, some of the most ruthless form of description of his addiction. So, if you read his book, uh, you know what he was fighting, you know, with people with that type of addictions by then. You should not come -- this should not come as a surprise. Yes, a lot came up in that indictment this past week. A lot came out in the book that Hunter wrote, but, but President Biden has not in to interfere with, with any of these investigations. It -- Hunter has to face the music. He's not above the law just because his last name is Biden. But he should also be innocent until proven guilty, just like we said about Donald Trump.

I hope that his lawyers are able to help Hunter through this. But it was blistering to read that indictment.

RADDATZ: And, Asma, I want to turn to you on Ukraine and the Ukrainian aid package. You heard Secretary Blinken there talk about the importance of that. Of course, President Biden tied it to the southern border --


RADDATZ: -- border. He regretting that, do you think?

KHALID: We have not publicly heard the administration express any regrets.

RADDATZ: And you probably will.

KHALID: Right? To this.


KHALID: We have not heard them expressing who gets to tie in the money to Israel. Right. It was all a lump package.

You know, I think by tying it though, what you hear also from Republicans is that it opened up the door for some sort of negotiation on the southern border. I think what is tricky here is that to some degree, the border is a liability for Democrats. I was recently in Arizona voter after voter tells you even if they are an independent, somewhat left-leaning voter, that the situation at the border is untenable.

So, if Joe Biden is able to alleviate some of the problems at the border, that could be a political win for him. It does not look like that is what happening.

RADDATZ: And how far are they willing to go to try to do that?

KHALID: How far is he willing to go? Exactly. And how much are Republicans willing to agree with him because if the border is solved to some degree or some of the problems are alleviated, then Republicans can't point fingers at him as easily in an election year.

RADDATZ: And Mary, I want to turn back to President Biden this weekend. He said in a fundraiser, he wasn't sure he would be running for president if Donald Trump was not running. A little walk back on that later what the President meant was.

BRUCE: Yeah, what the president meant was I think that this has always been about Donald Trump, right? He ran in 2020 to try and stop him. He is running now, the campaign says, the president says to try and protect America's democracy from another Trump presidency. That is the point that the campaign says he was trying to underscore there. This really is all about what is at stake in this election, and the president has made that clear in the past.

That said, this campaign knows that they can't just, you know, make this some kind of referendum on Donald Trump. They have to give voters something to vote for, not just against, and certainly they believe that Donald Trump's comments this week talking about, you know, boasting about some of the dictatorial actions he may take, that certainly underscores the president's argument here, President Biden's argument. They feel that was, obviously, a bit of a gift to the Biden campaign.

RADDATZ: And Donna, do you think he's changing strategy at all here talking more about Trump, less about Bidenomics?

BRAZILE: As he should. As he should. Look, we spend every week giving Donald Trump all the props he desperately needs to avoid debates and avoid all of his legal troubles. Joe Biden needs to sharpen the contrast to tell the American people, not only what he has accomplished and what he's doing to help everyday ordinary American citizens, but he also needs to remind the American people what another four years of Donald Trump will look like.


ISGUR: His administration hasn't been popular. They tried Bidenomics, congressional Democrats were, like, no, thank you. So, yeah, this is actually a very good legal strategy -- or a political strategy, and maybe legal. Make it about Donald Trump and that is how you are going to head into 2024.

RADDATZ: I think we'll see a lot of shifts and turns, amazing, but five weeks away, also ABC has another debate even before that. We'll be right back.


RADDATZ: And that's all for us today. Thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us. Check out "World News Tonight" including more from Linsey Davis' interview with Nikki Haley and have a great day.