Cheney Lays Blame Directly on Trump

Vice chair of Jan. 6 panel says he had 'personal role' in exerting pressure on state election officials
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 21, 2022 12:47 PM CDT
Cheney: Trump Had 'Personal Role' in Election Pressure
Vice chair Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., gives her opening remarks on Tuesday.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The focus of Tuesday's Jan. 6 hearing is on the pressure applied by the White House on various state officials to reject the 2020 election results. But in her opening statements, vice chair Liz Cheney made clear the panel places much of the blame for that pressure on the former president himself. "Donald Trump had a direct and personal role in this effort as did Rudy Giuliani, as did John Eastman," Cheney said, per CNN. "In other words, the same people who were attempting to pressure vice president Mike Pence to reject electoral votes illegally were also simultaneously working to reverse the outcome of the 2020 election at the state level."

Cheney also played clips of interviews with former attorney general William Barr and former acting deputy attorney general Richard Donoghue, both of whom said they told Trump his claims of a stolen election were bogus. As the Washington Post notes, Cheney was making the point that Trump ignored these assessments and pressed on with his claims. "Each of these efforts to overturn the election is independently serious," she said. "Each deserves attention both by Congress and by our Department of Justice." Referring to the election pressure, she added that "all of this was done in preparation for Jan. 6."

Trump pre-emptively got in a shot at the panel's work by criticizing one of the people who will be testifying, Arizona state House Speaker Rusty Bowers. He "is the latest RINO [Republican in Name Only] to play along with the Unselect Committee,” Trump said in a statement through his Save America PAC, per the Hill. Trump added that Bowers once told him "the election was rigged," per Axios. However, Bowers resisted entreaties from Trump and Giuliani to void Arizona's results. “I voted for President Trump and worked hard to reelect him," Axios quotes him as saying. "But I cannot and will not entertain a suggestion that we violate current law to change the outcome of a certified election.” (Read more Jan. 6 hearings stories.)

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