5 takeaways from the Jan. 6 Committee hearing: Liz Cheney made the case
Committee vice-chair Rep. Liz Cheney, the Wyoming Republican with the steely demeanor, delivered a powerful, at times chilling, presentation, vaulting her to the top of lists for 2024 presidential contenders.
WASHINGTON — An important byproduct of the first Jan. 6 Committee hearing on Thursday — something already accomplished by the time the prime-time session wrapped up — was persuasively portraying former President Donald Trump as things he despises:
Weak, in believing crazy election fraud schemes. Delusional, that he could stay in office. And so “dangerous,” after his election defeat, he could not be left alone.
And if that gives some incentives to Republicans not to concede the 2024 GOP presidential nomination to Trump — if Thursday night and subsequent hearings contributes to sidelining Trump in 2024 — then it’s a job well done.
1. Election denialists, take note. In video testimony from Ivanka Trump and husband Jared Kushner — never before seen — neither defended Trump and his attempts to prevent the peaceful transfer of power.
Ivanka Trump revealed she believed that Trump lost the election and his claims of election fraud false.
2. Committee vice-chair Rep. Liz Cheney, the Wyoming Republican with the steely demeanor, delivered a powerful, at times chilling, presentation, vaulting her to the top of lists for 2024 presidential contenders.
“Over multiple months, Donald Trump oversaw and coordinated a sophisticated seven-part plan to overturn the presidential election and prevent the transfer of presidential power. In our hearings, you will see evidence of each element of this plan,” Cheney said.
Her opening statement was digestable. She boiled it down. A seven-part plan, with Trump’s tweets fueling the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers.
3. Cheney told an essential truth about Trump’s dereliction of duty on Jan. 6, as the Capitol attack was taking place — which, in a more perfect world, should give Trumpists some pause.
“Not only did President Trump refuse to tell the mob to leave the Capitol, he placed no call to any element of the U.S. government to instruct that the Capitol be defended. He did not call his Secretary of Defense on January 6th. He did not talk to his Attorney General. He did not talk to the Department of Homeland Security. President Trump gave no order to deploy the National Guard that day, and he made no effort to work with the Department of Justice to coordinate and deploy law enforcement assets. But Vice President [Mike] Pence did each of those things.”
4. The committee got a good start on showing how Trump’s misinformation was persuasive and led to violence. The panel effectively used, as a sort of documentary-style narration, the real-time radio transmissions from the D.C. and Capitol police as the mob invaded the Capitol, and — in a storytelling technique not common in a congressional hearing — had one of the committee investigators explain in a video — very simply — the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys plots and how they were inspired by Trump’s tweets.
5. And in a nuanced, but skillful shot, Cheney — dumped from her House leadership position by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. — cut him down with one word. On Jan. 6, she said, McCarthy was “scared.”