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Liz Cheney offers a stark message to the GOP members who continue to support Trump

Liz Cheney, vice chair of the select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, delivers opening remarks during a hearing on Thursday in Washington.
Win McNamee
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Liz Cheney, vice chair of the select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, delivers opening remarks during a hearing on Thursday in Washington.

Towards the end of her opening remarks, Rep. Liz Cheney offered a stark message to members of her party who continue to support former President Donald Trump and downplay the events of Jan. 6.

"Tonight, I say this to my Republican colleagues who are defending the indefensible: There will come a day when Donald Trump is gone, but your dishonor will remain," she said.

Cheney is the top Republican on the House committee investigating the riot, and a vocal critic of the former president — at risk to her own political future.

On the day of Jan. 6, she was the third highest-ranking House Republican. Months later, she was removed from her leadership position in retaliation for her sustained criticism of Trump's election falsehoods and role in the riot.

The House panel investigating the attack includes seven Democrats and just one other Republican — Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, who announced last fall that he will not be seeking reelection.

Cheney in her remarks placed the blame for the Jan. 6 attack squarely on the former president.

She accused him of provoking violence by spreading misinformation in the weeks after the 2020 election, and ignoring his advisers' calls to instruct rioters to stand down.

In fact, she cited testimony from administration staff who were in the West Wing on Jan. 6 saying that Trump was yelling and angry at advisers who told him he needed to take action to quell the violence.

Cheney also said he was aware of rioters' chants to hang former Vice President Mike Pence, reportedly remarking that "maybe our supporters have the right idea" and saying he "deserves it."

She also played clips from witness testimony and outlined some of the arguments and evidence the committee will present in the rest of this month's hearing. Among those points: the riot was not spontaneous, people who stormed the Capitol were motivated by Trump's false claims of a stolen election, Trump ignored proof from his campaign and dozens of lawsuits that he had indeed lost the election, and many of his associates resigned and distanced themselves from the administration in the wake of Jan. 6.

Cheney urged viewers to keep two points in mind as they watch the upcoming proceedings: The investigation is still ongoing, and the Department of Justice is currently working with cooperating witnesses and has only disclosed some of the info it has identified to date.

Looking ahead, Cheney outlined the topics of hearings through June, which will focus on Trump's attempts to stay in office by pressuring the DOJ, former Vice President Mike Pence, and state officials and also how he summoned a violent mob and directed them to march.

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Rachel Treisman (she/her) is a writer and editor for the Morning Edition live blog, which she helped launch in early 2021.
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