WASHINGTON — Republican Liz Cheney made clear Tuesday she wants the committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection to have teeth, moving quickly to use subpoenas to force testimony from key witnesses. Cheney said Americans should know what happened “every minute of that day” inside the Trump White House.
“The task of this committee will require persistence,” the Wyoming congresswoman said in opening remarks at the committee’s first hearing on Capitol Hill. She is one of two Republicans on the bipartisan panel.
Cheney said the committee should move to “issue and enforce subpoenas.”
“We must overcome the many efforts we are already seeing to cover up the facts,” she said.
Cheney specifically noted that “we must know what happened here at the Capitol” but also that the committee should find out what happened “every minute of that day in the White House: every phone call, every conversation, every meeting leading up to, during and after the attack.”
That comment shows that Cheney and others on the committee plan to use subpoena power to compel testimony from top officials in the Trump White House, such as former chief of staff Mark Meadows, former Vice President Mike Pence and former President Donald Trump himself.
Cheney made clear that her preference, along with that of every other member of the panel, would have been to have a committee of people from outside the government doing this investigation. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi passed a proposal through the House that would have given Republicans and Democrats five seats each on such a committee, modeled on the 9/11 Commission. But Senate Republicans blocked that plan, and Pelosi’s next best option was to form a select committee with members of the House.
“I have been a conservative Republican since 1984, when I first voted for Ronald Reagan,” Cheney said, noting that she has disagreed with every Democratic member of the Jan. 6 committee on many issues. “But in the end we are one nation under God. ... This investigation must be nonpartisan.”
Committee Chair Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., echoed that point. “There is no place for politics or partisanship in this investigation,” he said. “Our only charge is to follow the facts where they lead us.”
Cheney challenged members of her own Republican Party not to deny the reality of what happened on Jan. 6. Some of those Republicans, such as Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, have tried to portray the rioters who assaulted the U.S. Capitol as victims.
“No member of Congress should now attempt to defend the indefensible,” Cheney said. “We must act with honor and duty and in the interest of our nation.”
“Will we adhere to the rule of law? Will we respect the rulings of our courts? Will we preserve the peaceful transfer of power? Or will we be so blinded by partisanship that we will throw away the miracle of America?” Cheney said. “Our children are watching. Our children will know who stood for truth. And they will inherit the country we give to them: a republic, if we can keep it.”
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