By Leo Wolfson, State Political Reporter
U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney made one of her last prominent appearances as Wyoming’s congresswoman Thursday one of her most memorable, making a motion to subpoena former President Donald Trump to speak before the U.S. House Select Committee on the Jan. 6 Attack.
“The central cause of Jan. 6 was one man – Donald Trump,” she said earlier in the hearing.
Cheney, who co-chairs the committee, described Trump as the “central player” behind the Jan. 6, 2021, mob attack on the U.S. Capitol while making her motion.
Many Republicans, including Wyoming attorney Harriet Hageman, who beat Cheney in the August primary, have criticized the Jan. 6 Committee. Cheney is one of only two Republicans on the nine-member panel.
Various polls have shown that Cheney’s role with the committee has been seen as a negative factor for many Wyoming voters.
“The Saudi Arabians are embarrassing Joe Biden on the world stage after he laid waste to our domestic energy production,” said Carly Miller, Hageman’s campaign manager, in a Thursday afternoon statement to Cowboy State Daily. “Fuel prices are crushing our family budgets, inflation remains staggeringly high and American cities are beset by crime.
“Yet Liz Cheney is still fighting Donald Trump, completely oblivious to her actual duties as Wyoming’s only member of Congress. Harriet Hageman will go to Congress to do her job, and fight for the people who send her there.”
The focus of Thursday’s hearing was to give a more broad view of Trump’s role in the Jan. 6 insurrection, a culmination of the Democrat-led committee’s work that started in mid-2021, with the first public hearing held in early June. Many highlights from the previous eight hearings were shown in a closing argument-style presentation made by the panel.
Cheney highlighted five points in her opening remarks:
• Trump had a premeditated plan to claim the election was fraudulent and stolen before election day.
• Trump was shown significant evidence that the election was not stolen.
• Many high-ranking Republican officials disagreed with Trump’s position.
• The decisions of the courts must be respected and obeyed by U.S. citizens.
• No president can defy the rule of law and take the actions Trump did.
Wants Trump To Testify
Cheney said the committee may decide to make a series of criminal referrals to the U.S. Department of Justice. She said it will be up to the agency to determine if criminal charges are filed and pursued against Trump or anyone else.
“A key element of this committee’s responsibility is to propose reforms to prevent Jan. 6th from ever happening again,” she said.
Cheney introduced and made the motion to subpoena Trump at the end of the hearing. The motion passed with a 9-0 vote.
“We must seek the testimony under oath of Jan. 6’s central player,” she said.
Trump is unlikely to testify before the committee, as also has been the case with many others who also were subpoenaed by the body.
Pleading The Fifth
Cheney also introduced footage of Trump advisor Roger Stone participating at the Jan. 6 rally and declining to answer the committee’s questions, a similar action also taken by John Eastman, a Trump attorney, and Jeffrey Clark, a former acting head of the Civil Division of the Department of Justice.
Cheney found time in her opening remarks to offer a promotion for her Presidential Election Reform Act bill, which if passed would overhaul the 135-year-old Electoral Count Act. She said another event like Jan. 6 could happen again if action isn’t taken to prevent it.
“Why would Americans assume that our Constitution and our institutions in our Republic are invulnerable to another attack?” she asked. “Why would we assume that those institutions will not falter next time? A key lesson of this investigation is this, our institutions only hold when men and women of good faith make them hold, regardless of the political cost.”
Cheney said that as late as Jan. 5, 2021, people like Rudy Giuliani, one of Trump’s attorneys, were still looking for “phantom” evidence to prove that the election was stolen.
Trump continued to argue that the election was stolen, even after courts in many states ruled against his various arguments.
“None of this is normal, or acceptable, or lawful, in our republic,” Cheney said.
Plan To Stay In Office
Trump was not in favor of calling on Republicans to vote by absentee ballots prior to the election. In an internal memo presented by the committee Thursday, Trump told advisors only the votes counted on election day would matter.
“He made a plan to stay in office before the election day,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-California.
Trump allegedly told one advisor in summer 2020 that he would refuse to admit he lost the election under any circumstance. Cheney said Trump’s efforts were “a premeditated plan to declare that the election was fraudulent and stolen before election day, before he knew the election results.”
Testimonies from multiple witnesses were shown Thursday saying that Trump acknowledged his election loss multiple times in private, but said he still had leverage to fight the election results in public.
The testimony included former Trump aide Cassidy Hutchinson. Cheney has commended Hutchinson for speaking before her panel, giving her a hug after she gave live testimony to the committee in June.
Video of Cheney shown questioning former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone also was shown. A rustic mountain home interior could be seen in the background of both interviews.
Cheney said most people on the planet have not been free historically, with America serving as a rare exception. She indicated the decisions made on the findings of the Jan. 6 Committee will determine the future course of American history.
“Please consider where our nation is in its history. Consider whether we can survive for another 246 years,” she said.
Over the month of August, the committee reviewed nearly 1 million Secret Service documents relating to reports of violent rhetoric being made online in the lead-up to the Jan. 6 event.
“By the morning of Jan. 6, it was clear the Secret Service predicted violence,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California.
Schiff made reference to the fact that White House and Secret Service witnesses had previously testified that they had received no intelligence about threats of any violence prior to Jan. 6. This discrepancy also could become a future topic of discussion related to Jan. 6 moving forward.
Trump also was briefed on this intelligence the morning of Jan. 6. Multiple sources told the committee that Trump watched the riot unfold live on television, but neglected to take any action to mitigate or stop the violence.