Rep. Cheney: Trump 'is a 76-year-old man ... not an impressionable child'

During Tuesday’s public hearing of the House select committee investigating the Capitol attack on Jan. 6, 2021, Republican Rep. Liz Cheney said in her opening statement that former President Donald Trump "is responsible for his own actions and his own choices" and is not an "impressionable child."

Video Transcript

LIZ CHENEY: Today's hearing will take us from December 14th, 2020, when the electoral college met and certified the results of the 2020 presidential election, up through the morning of January 6th. You will see certain segments of Pat Cipollone's testimony today. We will also see today how President Trump summoned a mob to Washington, and how the president's stolen election lies provoked that mob to attack the Capitol. And we will hear from a man who was induced by President Trump's lies to come to Washington and join the mob and how that decision has changed his life.

Today's hearing is our seventh. We have covered significant ground over the past several weeks, and we have also seen a change in how witnesses and lawyers in the Trump orbit approach this committee. Initially, their strategy in some cases appeared to be to deny and delay. Today, there appears to be a general recognition that the committee has established key facts, including that virtually everyone close to President Trump, his Justice Department officials, his White House advisors, his White House counsel, his campaign, all told him the 2020 election was not stolen.

This appears to have changed the strategy for defending Donald Trump. Now the argument seems to be that President Trump was manipulated by others outside the administration. That he was persuaded to ignore his closest advisors and that he was incapable of telling right from wrong.

This new strategy is to try to blame only John Eastman or Sidney Powell or Congressman Scott Perry or others, and not President Trump. In this version, the president was, quote, "poorly served" by these outside advisors. The strategy is to blame people his advisors called quote, "the crazies" for what Donald Trump did.

This, of course, is nonsense. President Trump is a 76-year-old man. He is not an impressionable child. Just like everyone else in our country, he is responsible for his own actions and his own choices. As our investigation has shown, Donald Trump had access to more detailed and specific information showing that the election was not actually stolen than almost any other American, and he was told this over and over again.

No rational or sane man in his position could disregard that information and reach the opposite conclusion. And Donald Trump cannot escape responsibility by being willfully blind. Nor can any argument of any kind excuse President Trump's behavior during the violent attack on January 6th.

As you watch our hearing today I would urge you to keep your eye on two specific points. First, you will see evidence that Trump's legal team led by Rudy Giuliani knew that they lacked actual evidence of widespread fraud sufficient to prove that the election was actually stolen. They knew it but they went ahead with January 6th anyway.

And second, consider how millions of Americans were persuaded to believe what Donald Trump's closest advisors in his administration did not. These Americans did not have access to the truth like Donald Trump did, they put their faith and their trust in Donald Trump. They wanted to believe in him. They wanted to fight for their country, and he deceived them. For millions of Americans that may be painful to accept but it is true.

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