Washington — Rep. Liz Cheney, the vice chair of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol, indicated Sunday that the panel has not closed the door to former President Donald Trump testifying on live television, but stressed the former president would not turn his appearance into a “circus” or “food fight.”
In an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Cheney was asked whether the committee was open to Trump’s suggestion, reported by the New York Times, that he testify before House investigators live in response to a subpoena for his testimony and documents issued by the panel Friday.
“The committee treats this matter with great seriousness, and we are going to proceed in terms of the questioning of the former president under oath,” Cheney said. “It may take multiple days, and it will be done with a level of rigor and discipline and seriousness that it deserves.”
The Wyoming Republican said the committee has clearly laid out what Trump’s obligations are.
“He’s not going to turn this into a circus,” Cheney said. “This isn’t going to be, you know, his first debate against Joe Biden and the circus and the food fight that that became. This is [a] far too serious set of issues.”
The subpoena to Trump came eight days after the select committee unanimously voted to issue the demand, a major escalation in its investigation into the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol and the circumstances surrounding the violence. The pane; has ordered Trump to turn over documents by Nov. 4 and testify at a deposition “on or about” Nov. 14.
In addition to requesting a range of documents from the former president — communications, photos, records of phone calls and memoranda from the weeks leading up to Jan. 6 — the committee commanded Trump to answer questions under oath either in-person at the Capitol or by videoconference.
A lawyer for Trump, David Warrington, said in a statement the former president’s legal team would respond “as appropriate to this unprecedented action.”
It’s unclear whether Trump will comply with the subpoena or challenge it in court, but Cheney said the committee has several options if the former president decides not to cooperate and asks the courts to intervene.
“We have many, many alternatives that we will consider if the former president decides that he is not going to comply with his legal obligation — a legal obligation every American citizen has to comply with a subpoena,” she said.
Cheney, who lost her primary in August and will leave Congress at the end of her term, also criticized House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who is in-line to become speaker if Republicans regain control of the lower chamber after the November midterm elections.
“At every moment since, frankly, the aftermath of the election in 2020, when Minority Leader McCarthy has had the opportunity to do the right thing or do something that serves his own political purpose he always chooses to serve his own political purpose,” she said, later adding that McCarthy is “willing to sacrifice everything for his own political gain.”
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