President Donald Trump watched the Jan. 6 violence unfold at the U.S. Capitol from a television inside the White House and repeatedly resisted pleas for him to intervene, including those made by his own family, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said Sunday, citing what she called “first-hand testimony” obtained by the House committee investigating the attack.
“We know, as he was sitting there in the dining room next to the Oval Office, members of his staff were pleading with him to go on television to tell people to stop,” Cheney, who is vice chair of the committee, said in an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.
“We know [House Republican Leader Kevin] McCarthy was pleading with him to do that,” she continued. “We have first-hand testimony that his daughter, Ivanka, went in at least twice, to ask him to please stop this violence.”
Cheney, who is one of two Republicans on the nine-member House committee, said she’s sharing this information because she believes it is “important for the American people to understand how dangerous Donald Trump was.”
“The president could have at any moment, walked those very few steps into the briefing room, gone on live television, and told his supporters who were assaulting the Capitol to stop,” she said.
“We entrust the survival of our republic into the hands of the chief executive, and when a president refuses to tell the mob to stop, when he refuses to defend any of the coordinate branches of government, he cannot be trusted,” she continued, calling him “clearly unfit for future office.”
In a separate interview, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the chair of the committee, told Stephanopoulos that the committee will report any irregular or illegal activity they find to the Department of Justice to consider criminal charges. As legislators, he said the members of the committee will do their part to recommend legislation that could potentially prevent such events from occurring again. This includes improving the mayor of Washington, D.C.’s ability to deploy the National Guard, which was slow to respond to the event, as well as bolstering communication between law enforcement agencies, he said.
“We’re not looking for it, but if we find it, we’ll absolutely make the referral,” he said of any criminal activity uncovered.
Asked whether any congressional leaders could be held culpable, Thompson said the investigation is examining the activity of a wide number of people directly and indirectly in Trump’s orbit.
“What people saw on Jan. 6 with their own eyes was not just something created at one moment. It was clearly, what we believe, based on the information we have been able to gather, a coordinated activity on the part of a lot of people,” he said.