Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., on Sunday defended her vote for former President Donald Trump's impeachment a day after her own state party officially rebuked her.
"The oath that I took to the Constitution compelled me to vote for impeachment, and it doesn't bend to partisanship; it doesn't bend to political pressure," Cheney said on "Fox News Sunday."
On Saturday, the Wyoming Republican Party voted 74 to eight to censure Cheney, the No. 3 Republican in the House, who was one of only a handful of GOP lawmakers to vote for Trump's impeachment for allegedly inciting the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. At the time, Cheney issued a scathing statement against Trump for his "betrayal."
"People have been lied to," Cheney said Sunday. "The extent to which the president, President Trump, for months leading up to Jan. 6, spread the notion that the election had been stolen, or that the notion that the election was rigged, was a lie."
Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, has faced fierce blowback for the impeachment vote. In addition to the Wyoming party censure this weekend, a House Republican conference vote last week — backing her 145 to 61 — showed a sizable chunk of her colleagues want to strip her off her leadership post.
The GOP rift, in part a battle over whether the party should distance itself from Trump, is likely to become visible again this week. On Tuesday, the Senate will begin hearing evidence in Trump's impeachment trial for his role ahead of the riot.
Trump had headlined a nearby rally urging his supporters to "fight like hell" hours before the Jan. 6 mob stormed the Capitol in an attempt to halt the certification of President Biden’s Electoral College victory in the November election. Five people were killed in the riot, including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, whose remains lay in honor last week in the Capitol Rotunda.
"I talked to Officer Sicknick's mother this week, and I pledged to her — as I know many of my colleagues have — that we will not forget what happened on Jan. 6," Cheney said Sunday. "The single greatest threat to our republic is a president who would put his self-interest above the Constitution, above the national interest. We've had a situation where President Trump claimed for months that the election was stolen, and then apparently set about doing everything he could to steal it himself. And that ended up in an attack on the Capitol."
Trump's lawyers argue that he cannot be impeached because he is no longer in office.
Although Democrats narrowly control the Senate, 45 Republicans have already signaled in a procedural vote that they back the Trump team's argument. Sixty-seven votes are required to convict Trump in the Senate, meaning the 45-vote bloc will be decisive unless a small swath of Republican senators change their mind.
Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., was among the five Republicans who didn't vote to dismiss the trial before it began. Toomey said Sunday on CNN that the trial is "clearly constitutional," but admitted that the vote nevertheless signaled that it'll be "unlikely" Trump is convicted.