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Liz Cheney urges DOJ to prosecute Trump if it finds evidence of crimes

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US Republican Representative Liz Cheney speaks through the third hearing of the US House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the US Capitol, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on June 16, 2022.

Olivier Douliery | AFP | Getty Images

WASHINGTON — Rep. Liz Cheney urged the Justice Department on Thursday to prosecute Donald Trump if it finds evidence that the previous president committed crimes in reference to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Not doing so would call into query whether America is a nation of laws, the Wyoming Republican said in an interview with CNN’s Kasie Hunt.

Cheney said that she believes the Justice Department will follow the facts, but “they need to make decisions about prosecution. Understanding what it means, if the facts and the evidence are there, they usually determine to not prosecute — how can we then call ourselves a nation of laws?”

A number one voice on the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attacks, Cheney said she believes Trump is “guilty of probably the most serious dereliction of duty of any president in our nation’s history.”

Cheney cited a federal district court judge in California, who said in March that Trump and conservative attorney John Eastman likely committed crimes in attempting to overturn the outcomes of the 2020 presidential election and keep Trump in office after voters had elected now-President Joe Biden.

However the query of whether Trump and his closest allies should face prosecution for his or her monthslong effort to subvert the 2020 election is one which has roiled the anti-Trump wing of the Republican Party.

On one side are voices similar to Cheney’s, who insist that the facts should be followed even when prosecuting Trump has the unintended consequence of creating the previous president a political martyr and a good stronger force in American politics.

On the opposite side is a more cautious and altogether quieter group of Republicans, who’re concerned that the legal hurdles to proving Trump committed any serious crime are too high to make it worthwhile. Prosecuting a former president of the USA with out a guaranteed conviction, they argue, would risk handing Trump an infinite political and moral victory, and open the door to future, more politically motivated prosecutions of former presidents.

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