Rep. Cheney says the Jan. 6 Capitol attack was part of an ‘extremely well-organized’ conspiracy

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Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said there was an “extremely broad” and “extremely well-organized” conspiracy by then-President Donald Trump and his allies to nullify the results of the 2020 election — and that the Jan. , 2021, the attack on the US Capitol was just one example of “an ongoing threat” to democracy.

“We are not in a situation where former President Trump has expressed any sense of regret at what happened,” Cheney, the vice chair of the House selection committee investigating the January 6 insurgency, told Robert Costa of CBS News.

“We are in fact in a situation where he continues to use even more extreme language, frankly, than the language that triggered the attack,” she added. “So people have to pay attention. People need to watch, and they need to understand how easily our democratic system can unravel if we don’t defend it.”

Cheney’s comments, which aired Sunday, come days before the commission begins prime-time televised hearings in June with live witnesses, taped interviews with key figures — including Trump’s relatives — and never-before-seen video footage. The hearings are the culmination of an investigation that involved more than 1,000 interviews and reviews of more than 125,000 records.

Cheney said she was confident the evidence emerging during the hearings would force Americans to pay attention, even as she suggested many of her fellow Republicans have “sworn their allegiance” to Trump over the country.

“I think there’s definitely a personality cult around Donald Trump,” Cheney told Costa. “And I think, you know, the majority of Republicans across the country don’t want our system to fall apart. They understand the importance of protecting and defending the Constitution.”

Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), another member of the Jan. 6 select committee, said the panel hoped the hearings would counter Trump’s continued dissemination of the baseless claim — which some of his critics have called the “big lie.” to call. — that widespread voter fraud cost him the 2020 election. Schiff also said there was a lot the American public hadn’t yet seen about the January 6 attack.

“But perhaps most importantly, the public has not seen it intertwined, how one thing led to another, how one attempt to undo the election led to another and ultimately led to terrible violence, the first not -peaceful transfer of power in our history,” Schiff said in CBS News’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “So we want to tell that expansive story, and we’re aiming for… [an audience]frankly, it is still open to these facts.”

It’s unclear who will remain open-minded about the events of January 6, as polls show little bipartisan agreement on the uprising. Several leading Republicans have refused to cooperate with the committee, with varying consequences. The Justice Department announced Friday that it had indicted former Trump adviser Peter Navarro but would not press charges against former Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and former communications chief Daniel Scavino Jr.

Schiff said on Sunday he could not confirm or deny which witnesses would appear before the committee during the public hearings and called the Justice Department’s decision not to pursue the charges against Meadows and Scavino “a serious disappointment” that the work of Mr. could obstruct the panel.

“I can say that certainly one of the themes that we will develop is the fact that before the 6th there was an understanding of the tendency to violence that day, of the participation of white nationalist groups, of the effect that the continued spread of this “big lie” to turn the president’s country and base upside down was likely to lead to violence,” he said.

For the few Republicans who have tried to hold Trump accountable for his role in the attack, their party’s backlash has been swift. Of the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump after Jan. 6, four are leaving Congress instead of seeking reelection. Others face tough primary challenges.

Rep. Tom Rice (SC), one of those 10 Republican lawmakers who voted to impeach Trump, acknowledged Sunday he could lose his seat on the ballot, but said it would still be worth it. Only if Trump apologizes, Rice said, would he consider backing the former president.

Rice said his impeachment vote was “not that hard” after reflecting on Trump’s inaction on the day of the uprising, including endangering the lives of then-Vice President Mike Pence and Pence’s family members and the watch police officers defend the Capitol. hours struck.

“The more I read about that, the more I learned — it was clear to me what to do,” Rice said. “I was furious. I am furious about it today. Now I took an oath to protect the Constitution, and I did it then and I would do it again tomorrow.”

Jacqueline Alemany, Josh Dawsey and Amy Gardner contributed to this report.

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