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Liz Cheney calls out the '50-, 60-, 70-year-old men' hiding 'behind executive privilege'

At the conclusion of Thursday night's Jan. 6 committee hearing, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) praised the witnesses who have come forward to testify, noting that many are lifelong Republicans who had been proud to work with former President Donald Trump in his White House.

"The case against Donald Trump in these hearings is not made by witnesses who were his political enemies," Cheney, the vice-chair of the panel, said. "It is instead a series of confessions by Donald Trump's own appointees, his own friends, his own campaign officials, people who worked for him for years, and his own family. They have come forward and they have told the American people the truth."

Sarah Matthews, Trump's deputy White House press secretary, and Matthew Pottinger, a former National Security Council official, both testified in person on Thursday night. Cheney thanked them, as well as Cassidy Hutchinson, the former aide to Trump's final chief of staff Mark Meadows, who testified during an earlier hearing that Trump was fine with his armed supporters marching on the Capitol.

Hutchinson, Cheney said, "knew all along that she would be attacked by President Trump and by the 50-, 60-, and 70-year-old men who hide themselves behind executive privilege. But like our witnesses today, she has courage and she did it anyway."

Cheney also played a newly-released 2020 recording of Stephen Bannon, a former Trump adviser, saying that if Trump was behind in the vote tally on election night, he would claim that the election was stolen. "What the new Steve Bannon audio demonstrates is that Donald Trump's plan to falsely claim victory in 2020, no matter what the facts actually were, was premeditated," Cheney said. "Here's the worst part. Donald Trump knew that millions of Americans who supported him would stand up and defend our nation. Were it threatened, they would put their lives and their freedom at stake to protect her. And he is preying on their patriotism. He is preying on their sense of justice. And on Jan. 6, Donald Trump turned their love of country into a weapon against our Capitol and our Constitution."