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Congresswoman Liz Cheney delivers address at Ronald Reagan Library

Congresswoman Liz Cheney speaks at Ronald Reagan Library
Congresswoman Liz Cheney speaks at Ronald Reagan Library 03:49

Congresswoman Liz Cheney, the vice chair and one of two Republicans on the House Jan. 6 committee, spoke at the Reagan Library Wednesday about the risk of losing the foundations of democracy. 

"Our freedom will only survive if we protect it," the congresswoman told the assembled crowd. 

Cheney urged fellow Republicans to face what she said is a threat to their party and democracy itself — former President Donald Trump. 

"At this moment, we are confronting a domestic threat that we have never faced before and that is a former president who is attempting to unravel the foundations of our constitutional republic," Cheney said. "And he is aided by Republican leaders and elected officials who made themselves willing hostages to this dangerous and irrational man."

Cheney went on to offer a stark assessment of Trump's conduct on January 6. 

"It has become clear that the efforts that Donald Trump oversaw and engaged in were even more chilling and more threatening than we could have imagined," she said. 

As vice chair of the Jan. 6 select committee, Rep. Cheney has overseen damning testimony from a slew of witnesses who not only claim the former president incited the insurrection, but also his alleged scheme to hold onto power and overturn the election. 

On Tuesday, stunning testimony from former White House Aide Cassidy Hutchinson may have even put the former president in greater legal jeopardy. 

"It's undeniable. It's also painful for Republicans to accept and I think we all have to recognize and understand what it means to say those words and what it means that those things happened," Cheney said. 

Herself a staunch, legacy conservative, she is also the daughter of Dick Cheney, a legend in GOP politics, but her decision to take on the former president may end her political career. 

"It's significant that she's speaking at the Regan Library because she represents, from a policy perspective, Reagan Republicanism, strong on defense, conservative on economics," Professor of Politics at Claremont McKenna College Jack Pitney told CBSLA. "She stands apart from the Trump wing of the Republican Party in her fidelity to the Constitution. She takes her oath of office seriously, and that's what separates her from nearly all the Republicans in the House of Representatives." 

Rep. Cheney invoked former President Ronald Reagan as she urged her fellow conservatives to build a future without Trump. 

"Ronald Reagan said it is up to us in our time to choose and to choose wisely between the hard, but necessary task of preserving peace and freedom and the temptation to ignore our duty and blindly hope for the best while the enemies of freedom grow stronger day by day," Cheney said. 

The Congresswoman also offered some words of encouragement, saying that while many Americans might disagree about their politics, there is always common ground if the effort is made to find it. 

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