Liz Cheney says the Capitol riot investigation ‘threatens’ GOP lawmakers because they ‘played a role they should not have been playing’

Rep. Liz Cheney speaks with NBC News after being voted out of leadership on Wednesday.
Rep. Liz Cheney spoke with NBC News after being voted out of leadership on Wednesday. Screenshot/NBC News
  • Liz Cheney said some Republicans oppose an inquiry into the Capitol riot because of their roles in it.
  • She said a commission threatens those who may have played “a role they should not have been playing.”
  • She said accusations of violence at Black Lives Matter protests should be investigated separately.
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Rep. Liz Cheney said some of her Republican colleagues in Congress are opposed to a bipartisan commission to investigate the January 6 Capitol riot because they helped provoke the attack or are otherwise culpable.

Cheney, who was ousted from leadership by her own party on Wednesday, has repeatedly called for a bipartisan commission comprising retired officials with subpoena power to investigate the attack on the Capitol. But GOP leadership and many other lawmakers are opposed to a commission solely focused on the deadly assault. Instead, they want to expand the focus to include violence that resulted from Black Lives Matter protests last summer.

“There is real concern among a number of members of my own party about a January 6 commission,” Cheney said. “That kind of intense, narrow focus threatens people in my party who may have been playing a role they should not have been playing.”

Cheney said there’s no legitimate reason for lawmakers to oppose the proposed commission, and added that Congress has created similar commissions to investigate other attacks, including 9/11, President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, and the Pearl Harbor bombing.

Cheney also said the violence associated with the Black Lives Matter protests should be investigated separately.

“We should not dilute the investigation we have to have into January 6,” she said.

A slew of Republican lawmakers, including House members and Sens. Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley, have been criticized for actively encouraging the Trump loyalists who stormed the Capitol in the days leading up to January 6, and even on the morning of the attack. After the riot, 147 Republican lawmakers voted to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Ali Alexander, a far-right activist who organized the “Stop the Steal” rally that preceded the Capitol attack, said he planned the protest with help from GOP Reps. Paul Gosar, Mo Brooks, and Andy Biggs.

Cheney, who voted to impeach Trump for inciting the riot, called rejecting the GOP’s lies about the election and seeking justice for the Capitol riot “the most important issue we are facing right now as a country.” She urged her party to reject Trump’s “cult of personality” and rebuild itself on conservative principles and policy. She added that Trump should “never again be anywhere close to the Oval Office.”

“We have to embrace the Constitution, we have to reject the lie, because we have to be a party of substance,” Cheney said. “We have to be able to say to those voters who left us, you should trust us.”