The Jan. 6 committee could refer a criminal case against Trump

Committee Vice Chair Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) listens to testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson, who was an aide to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows during the administration of former US President Donald Trump, as she testifies during a public hearing of the US House Select Committee to investigate the January 6 Attack on the US Capitol, on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 28, 2022.

Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

It’s still possible that the Jan. 6 committee investigating the attack on the US Capitol makes a criminal referral to the Justice Department against former President Donald Trump, Rep. Liz Cheney said.

“It’s a decision that we’ll make together as a committee,” the Wyoming Republican said in an interview with ABC News’ “This Week” that aired Sunday.

Committee members have appeared to be divided over whether it would potentially refer a case against Trump, who some believe is to blame for the 2021 attack. Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-MS, who chairs the committee, said last month that while if the DOJ examines the hearings and decides to review it further they would, but making a criminal referral is “not our job.”

Others on the committee, including Cheney, quickly shot back, saying that the committee has yet to vote on whether it would recommend criminal referrals to the department.

“There’s no question that he engaged in high crimes and misdemeanors,” Cheney told ABC News. “I think there’s no question that it’s the most serious betrayal of his oath of office of any president in the history of the nation. It’s the most dangerous behavior of any president in the history of the nation.”

Trump has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

Republicans are reportedly preparing for Trump to announce a bid for reelection in 2024 as early as this summer as damaging revelations continue to stream out of the Jan. 6 hearings. But if that happens, the GOP likely couldn’t keep operating as it has been, Cheney said.

“I think that he can’t be the party nominee. And I don’t think the party would survive that,” Cheney told ABC News. “I believe in the party, and I believe in what the party can be and what the party can stand for. And I’m not ready to give that up.”

“Those of us who believe in Republican principles and ideals have a responsibility to try to lead the party back to what it can be, and to reject, and to reject so much of the toxin and the vitriol,” she added.

CNBC reported last week that support from some of the GOP’s biggest donors for a Trump campaign is dwindling. Republican financiers and their advisors have been privately meeting since the committee started to release the initial findings of its probe, according to interviews with top fundraisers.

The lack of interest in supporting the former president could boost fundraising efforts for other Republican hopefuls.

Cheney acknowledged the possibility of launching her own presidential bid, but told ABC News that she hasn’t “made a decision about that yet.” If she launched a bid, Cheney would join a 2024 GOP field that appears to already be shaping up.

Multiple Republicans could run in 2024, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former Vice President Mike Pence, Sen. Tim Scott and Sen. Tom Cotton.

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