Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., on Sunday did not rule out the possibility of the House Jan. 6 committee taking live televised testimony from former President Donald Trump.
Trump has not publicly indicated how he would react to the subpoena for his testimony and documents, released by the committee on Friday. But he did, however, tell his associates that he would be willing to speak to the committee if he could answer questions live, The New York Times reported. citing a source close to Trump.
When asked if the committee was open to live testimony in an interview on NBC News’ “Meet the Press,” Cheney, its vice chairman, said, “He’s not going to turn this into a circus.”
“The committee treats this matter very seriously,” she said. “We will proceed with the interrogation of the former president under oath. This may take several days. And it will be done with a level of rigor, discipline and seriousness that it deserves.”
The panel, Cheney continued, will not allow the former president to turn his testimony into “his first debate against Joe Biden and the circus and food fight that it has become.”
“It’s far too serious a set of issues. And we’ve made it clear what exactly his obligations are. And we’re moving forward with that,” she added.
Cheney’s office later clarified her comments, saying she was not ruling out the possibility of live testimony from Trump.
Cheney also said during the interview that she believed Trump had committed “multiple criminal offences,” citing evidence and testimony the panel had released in recent public hearings, and cautioned that the committee had ” many, many alternatives” to consider if he tried to defy the subpoena.
“We put on testimony that showed he admitted he lost,” Cheney said. “But even if he thought he had won, you can’t send an armed mob to the Capitol.”
The committee voted unanimously to subpoena Trump at his ninth public hearing this month after claiming he instigated the bloodshed at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.
“As demonstrated during our hearings, we have gathered overwhelming evidence, including from dozens of your former appointees and staff, that you personally orchestrated and oversaw a multi-part effort to nullify the 2020 presidential election and make impediment to the peaceful transition of power,” committee leaders told Trump in a letter accompanying the summons.
The subpoena asks Trump to testify either on Capitol Hill or by videoconference at 10 a.m. ET on Nov. 14 — after the midterm elections.
In response to the subpoena, David A. Warrington of the Dhillon Law Group, which represents Trump, accused the panel of “trampling upon standards and proper and customary process” by releasing the subpoena.
“As with any similar matter, we will review and analyze it, and respond appropriately to this unprecedented action,” Warrington said in a statement.