In a rare moment on Fox News, its viewers heard the truth about Jan. 6 — thanks to Rep. Liz Cheney, one of two sitting Republicans on the committee investigating the Capitol attack. Despite Bret Baier’s attempts to push the Fox/Trump narrative that the Jan. 6 committee is biased and a sham, Cheney debunked talking point after talking point.
Early in the interview, Baier tried to pin some of the blame for Jan. 6 on Democratic leadership and Capitol Police. “What will the committee’s report have to say about why the assets, like the National Guard, weren’t prepped and ready? Is there testimony already gathered on Speaker Pelosi’s decisions or the Sergeant at Arms of the House and Senate on that regard?” he asked.
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“We have an entire team — we have five different teams in the investigation — one of them is totally focused on all of those issues of security at the Capitol and the response of Capitol Police, the response of the National Guard, the response of the Capitol Police board, what was going on at the Pentagon that day,” Cheney said. “It’s an entire focus of the investigation, you will see it in our report, you will likely see an upcoming hearing.”
Then she brought down the hammer: “But what we aren’t gonna do, Bret, is blame the Capitol Police, blame those in law enforcement, for Donald Trump’s armed mob that he sent to the Capitol.”
“OK, but do you have…” Baier said, trying to interrupt.
But Cheney continued, “Clearly there were intelligence failures. Clearly the security should have operated better than it did. But this was a mob that Donald Trump sent to the Capitol, and I think that’s important to keep our eye on.”
Cheney also debunked Baier’s assertion that Trump offered National Guard troops to defend the Capitol, citing public testimony by Trump’s own acting secretary of defense at the time, Chris Miller.
“We also know that on Jan. 6 while the attack was underway, Donald Trump did not place a single phone call to anyone at the Pentagon. He didn’t place a single phone call to anyone at the Justice Department to say, ‘Deploy law enforcement,’” Cheney said, adding, “The notion that somehow he issued an order is not consistent with the facts.”
Cheney then shot down Baier’s attempts to paint the committee as unfair because the other side can’t “put forth a defense, there is no cross-examination” and because the Republican members of the committee were not nominated by their own party.
The congresswoman responded by pointing out that GOP House Minority Kevin McCarthy himself said that a “bipartisan outside committee” should investigate the attack but that he later withdrew his support and influenced the Senate’s rejection of a bill that would establish an outside investigation.
“After he negotiated with the Democrats and got all of the terms he wanted, he pulled the rug out from under the Republicans who were supporting it and made sure that it was defeated in the Senate,” Cheney said. “Once the outside, bipartisan commission was defeated, the only alternative left to us was this committee.” McCarthy also withdrew all of his nominations to the committee after Pelosi rejected two of them “with good reason,” she added.
“The notion now that somehow the committee is incapable of getting to the facts of what happened because Kevin McCarthy withdrew his nominees is nonsensical,” Cheney said before pointing out that all of the witnesses so far have been Republicans.
Later in the interview, Cheney pointedly noted that other conservative media outlets run by Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch have characterized Trump as unfit for office.
“Look, it’s not just me that is saying that Donald Trump is unfit for office. It’s other entities owned by Rupert Murdoch,” Cheney said. “It’s the New York Post in their editorial on Friday. It’s the Wall Street Journal — said the same thing after our hearing on Thursday night.”
Thursday night’s hearing included testimony from two former White House staff members who resigned in the wake of the attack and focused on Trump’s damning inaction while the Capitol was under siege. The committee has recessed for the month of August but has promised more hearings when it reconvenes in September.
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