Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney placed the blame on former President Donald Trump for stoking the flames that led to the January 6 insurrection during her opening statements at the committee hearing on Thursday, June 9. After opening remarks from chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, the Wyoming Representative said that those who stormed the Capitol did so because of lies that Trump had told about the election. “President Trump summoned the mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack,” she said.
Jan. 6 select committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney: "President Trump summoned the mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack." https://t.co/W2f3oCDYwh #January6thCommitteeHearings pic.twitter.com/po9i8qu6dE
— ABC News (@ABC) June 10, 2022
During her opening remarks, Cheney spoke about how members of Trump’s staff had “pleaded” with him to call off the rioters. She said that many people who saw him that day said that he’d resisted putting out a statement and also got angry at staffers who asked him to call off his supporters. “Those who invaded our Capitol and battled law enforcement for hours were motivated by what President Trump had told them: that the election was stolen, and that he was the rightful president,” she said.
In her opening statements, Cheney also spoke about the evidence that will be presented in the coming hearings throughout the month of June. Before the Wyoming Congresswoman spoke, Thompson, the committee chairman, said that the investigation should be serious to all Americans. “The American people deserve answers,” he said. “The Constitution doesn’t protect just Democrats or just Republicans. It protects all of us, we the people, and this scheme was an attempt to undermine the will of the people.”
Trump’s involvement in the January 6 riot has long been one of the focuses of the committee. Many people said that the former president was responsible by spreading lies about the 2020 election, incorrectly claiming that he won and not President Joe Biden. In the time since the riot, much has come out about what happened in the White House as the insurrection was unfolding, including multiple takes of the video that was released of Trump telling rioters to stop. The unreleased takes showed Trump didn’t tell his supporters to “go home” in some of the outtakes, as revealed in the Jonathan Karl book Betrayal: The Final Act Of The Trump Show.
Many people have called for Trump to be held responsible for the insurrection in the time since that day. The View host Sunny Hostin, who used to work for the Department of Justice, has called for him to face charges. “I am very surprised that Donald Trump has not been criminally charged by the Justice Department. I think our Attorney General Merrick Garland must do that,” she said on the show on the one-year anniversary of the insurrection. “Prosecuting cases is not just about accountability. It’s also about sending a message to the community about what will and will not be tolerated in a society.”
When Biden commemorated the anniversary, he also torched Trump for spreading misinformation and threatening the electoral process. “You can’t be patriotic when you embrace and enabled lies. Those that stormed this capitol, and those that instigated and incited and those who called on them to do so held a dagger at the throat of America, at American Democracy,” he said in the speech.