“There are people in this chamber right now who were evacuated with me and with the rest of us on that day during that attack. People who now seem to have forgotten the danger of the moment, the assault on the Constitution, the assault on our Congress. People who you will hear argue that there is simply no legislative purpose for this committee, for this investigation, or for this subpoena,” the Wyoming congresswoman said.
Cheney’s comments came during floor debate ahead of the House’s vote to hold Steve Bannon, one of former President Donald Trump’s closest allies, in criminal contempt of Congress after he defied a subpoena from the committee. Eight Republicans joined Cheney and all Democrats in voting to refer the contempt charge against Bannon to the Justice Department.
Cheney, who voted to impeach Trump for inciting an insurrection and is one of just two Republicans on the committee, also called out the former President by name, saying that he had known the riot was happening and took no action to stop it.
“Donald Trump persisted, attempting through every manner he could imagine to try to overturn the outcome of the election. And we all saw what happened,” she said. “The people who attacked this building have told us, on video, on social media and now before the federal courts, exactly what motivated them. They believed what Donald Trump told them: that the election was stolen and they needed to take action.”
“President Trump knew it was happening. Indeed he may have been watching it all unfold on television. And yet he took no immediate action to stop it,” she continued.
In the wake of the deadly attack on the Capitol, Cheney has become one of the most vocal Republican critics of Trump on Capitol Hill and has faced major backlash from her party, including being ousted from her post in House GOP leadership.
Top House Republicans have been critical of the January 6 committee, dismissing it as a partisan effort.
Cheney outlined in her floor remarks why the panel needs information from Bannon.
“Mr. Bannon’s own public statements make clear he knew what was going to happen before it did and thus he must have been aware of, and may well have been involved in, the planning of everything that played out on that day,” she said.
“The American people deserve to know what he knew and what he did.”