Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) talks with CNN Anchor Kasie Hunt during an interview on Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022 in Laramie, Wyoming. Rachel Woolf for CNN
By Eric Bradner, CNN Photographs by Rachel Woolf, CNN
(CNN) — Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney said if the Justice Department does not prosecute former President Donald Trump for his role in the insurrection at the US Capitol, the decision could call into question whether the United States can “call ourselves a nation of laws.”
In an interview with CNN’s Kasie Hunt, Cheney — the GOP vice chair of the House select committee investigating the events surrounding the January 6, 2021, insurrection — said Trump is “guilty of the most serious dereliction of duty of any president in our nation’s history” and pointed to a judge who’s said he likely committed crimes. She said the House committee is “going to continue to follow the facts. I think Department of Justice will do that. But they have to make decisions about prosecution.”
“Understanding what it means if the facts and the evidence are there, and they decide not to prosecute — how do we then call ourselves a nation of laws? I think that’s a very serious, serious balancing,” Cheney said.
“The question for us is, are we a nation of laws? Are we a country where no one is above the law? And what do the facts and the evidence show?” Cheney said.
She sidestepped questions about whether Trump being prosecuted by President Joe Biden’s Justice Department would only add to his strength with the Republican Party’s base ahead of the 2024 presidential bid that Trump has repeatedly teased.
“I don’t think that it’s appropriate to think about it that way,” said Cheney, who’s facing a Trump-backed challenger in a primary later this month.
She alluded to Judge David Carter, a federal judge in California who ordered right-wing attorney John Eastman to turn over 101 emails from around January 6, 2021, writing in March that he “finds it more likely than not that President Trump corruptly attempted to obstruct the Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021.”
“I think he’s guilty of the most serious dereliction of duty of any president in our nation’s history,” Cheney said of Trump. “You’ve had a federal judge in California say that it’s more likely than not that he and John Eastman committed two crimes.”
Cheney’s comments come as the House panel prepares for a busy August. A committee spokesperson also said last week that the committee intended to share 20 transcripts with the Justice Department, a move that comes as the department’s criminal investigation into January 6 is heating up.
The House committee is preparing to release its final report ahead of November’s midterm elections.
Cheney faces a series of Trump-aligned challengers in her August 16 primary, including the Trump-endorsed Harriet Hageman, a former Wyoming national Republican committeewoman who has advanced conspiracy theories about the 2020 election.
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