House January 6 Select Committee Vice Chairwoman Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., told Fox News on Thursday that the panel’s goal is not to prevent Donald Trump from seeking a Grover Cleveland-like second nonconsecutive term, while pushing back on fellow Republicans’ claims it serves no legislative purpose.
Cheney, who along with her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, were the only Republicans present for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s commemorative session in the chamber earlier in the day, told “Special Report” that there are many misconceptions about the committee and about her stature as a conservative Republican.
Cheney, the only member of the House from Cowboy State, told Fox News that she also strongly disagreed with Vice President Harris‘ claim earlier in the day that the riot of one year ago is somehow commensurate to the thousands killed at Pearl Harbor or on September 11, 2001.
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) speaks as Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), vice-chair of the select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) listen during a committee meeting on Capitol Hill. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images) (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
“I thought that there were a number of things that [Harris and President Biden] said that I agreed with. I think when you look at… the attack that happened on January 6th … this was a mob that was summoned by and provoked by the President of the United States in an effort to stop the counting of electoral votes, which is a constitutional process,” she said.
“And so I do think the attacks are very different [than Pearl Harbor & 9/11]. I think there is a grave threat, certainly, to our system, to our constitutional institutions – And I think we have to set partisanship aside and party politics aside to get to the bottom of what happened and make sure that it doesn’t happen again.”
Cheney also denied claims the January 6 probe, led by Mississippi Democrat Bennie G. Thompson, is intended to specifically prevent Trump from seeking the White House a third time.
“The goal of the committee is what I said. We are a committee of Congress. Our responsibility is legislative purpose, to determine what laws we have in place, what additional laws we might need to prevent an attack like that from ever happening again — and we need to understand what happened,” she said, when asked about the claims by anchor Bret Baier.
Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., May 2021. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) ( (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta))
Baier followed up by asking about other lawmakers’ concerns about potential security failures in the run-up to the riot.
“The Architect of the Capitol, the Senate sergeant-at-arms have all turned over requested documents to the House Administration Committee overlooking the security aspect. The House sergeant-at-arms has not.”
Baier further reported that Thompson has essentially made Pelosi’s office “off-limits”, which complicates access to the House sergeant-at-arms.
In July 2020, Thompson appeared to dismiss concerns from that aspect, saying that “if you look at the charge that we have in the resolution, it says the facts and circumstances around January 6. I don’t see the speaker being part and parcel to that,” the Mississippi Democrat said.
On “Special Report”, Cheney appeared to deny Pelosi’s office being off-limits to the committee, saying there is an “entire investigative team” on the panel looking into security concerns.
“That is a really important set of issues. No office is off-limits. No issue is off-limits. We certainly need to get to the bottom of that,” she said.
Cheney however went on to compare the idea that Capitol “security lapses” are to blame for “a mob provoked by President Trump” to blaming small business owners for their businesses being burned down by Black Lives Matter rioters in the summer of 2020.
Cheney also disagreed that Democrats should be connecting the committee’s work to a pitch for passing two major federal election overhaul bills that have otherwise unanimous Republican opposition.
“We need to look at things – are there reforms necessary to the Electoral Count Act? We need to look at things like – are there enhanced penalties that are necessary for a president who fails to come to the aid of Congress who fails to come to the aid of any co-equal branch of government? We need to look at things like the dereliction of duty.”
FILE – Former President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)
“But that doesn’t mean that we’re going to have complete agreement or that I certainly agree with policy matters that I have not agreed with in the past.”
Earlier Thursday, Trump pushed back on Cheney and her panel, dubbing them the “Unselect Committee of totally partisan political hacks” – and suggesting Democrats want to harp on January 6, 2020, so they can “stoke fears and divide America.”
“[L]et them have it because America sees through their lies and polarizations,” Trump said Thursday.