Speed Reads

Capitol Siege Aftermath

As House Jan. 6 committee prepares to go public, Liz Cheney says they now know what Trump was doing

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection has "interviewed more than 300 witnesses, collected tens of thousands of documents, and traveled around the country to talk to election officials who were pressured by Donald Trump," The Associated Press reports. Now, the committee "is preparing to go public," with several televised hearings, an interim report in the spring, and a final report in the fall. 

"Let me say that what we have been able to ascertain is that we came perilously close to losing our democracy," Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) told CNN on Sunday.

"The full picture is coming to light, despite President Trump's ongoing efforts to hide the picture," committee Vice-Chairwoman Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), told AP. "I don't think there's any area of this broader history in which we aren't learning new things." 

Among those new things, Cheney told ABC News on Sunday, is what Trump himself was — and was not — doing during the insurrection. "The committee has firsthand testimony now that he was sitting in the dining room next to the Oval Office watching the attack on television," and as he was sitting there, "members of his staff were pleading with him to go on television to tell people to stop," she said. "We have firsthand testimony that his daughter Ivanka went in at least twice to ask him to please stop this violence."

At any time, Trump could have gone on TV and his rioting supporters "to go home – and he failed to do so," Cheney said. "It's hard to imagine a more significant and more serious dereliction of duty than that."

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), the other Republican on the nine-member committee, told AP that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) "made an epic mistake" by refusing to appoint any members to the committee after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) rejected two of his nominees. "I think part of the reason we've gone so fast and have been so effective so far is because we've decided and we have the ability to do this as a nonpartisan investigation," and it would have been "a very different scene" if Trump allies were on the committee, obstructing their work.

Politico's Kyle Cheney made a similar case in late December, calling McCarthy's decision to boycott the Jan. 6 committee "the most important development of the entire investigation." And "Pelosi's decision to keep the Jan. 6 panel small has enabled her to populate it with members who stay relentlessly on message," he added, singling out Liz Cheney as "a singular, and singularly disciplined, force."