'Our Children are Watching': Read Liz Cheney's Full Opening Statement at Capitol Riot Hearing

Despite facing backlash from her GOP colleagues, Representative Liz Cheney continues to commit herself toward holding former President Donald Trump accountable for his role in the January 6 Insurrection at the Capitol.

Earlier this morning, the Republican Wyoming congresswoman appeared on the select committee designated to investigate the riots where she delivered an opening statement focused on truth, law and order.

Liz Cheney speaks with reporters
"Will we be so blinded by partisanship that we throw away the miracle of America?" U.S. Representative Liz Cheney said. Here, she speaks to reporters outside of the U.S. Capitol on July 21 in Washington, D.C. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

"We will face the threat of more violence in the months to come and another January 6 every four years," she said. "We must know what happened here at the Capitol. We must know what happened every minute of that day in the White House, every phone call, every conversation, every meeting, leading up to and during the attack."

While she delivered the statement without mentioning the former president's name, the grievances most often echoed by his adversaries were present throughout her address.

Cheney lamented what she sees as efforts by her GOP colleagues to obscure the "objective truth." She pointed toward the party's response to the insurrection as a failing brought on by partisan politics, counteractive to the functioning of American democracy.

"We must get to objective truth. We must overcome the many efforts we are already seeing to cover up and obscure the facts," she said. "If Congress does not act responsibly, this will remain a cancer on our constitutional republic, undermining the peaceful transfer of power at the heart of our Democratic system."

January 6 Capitol Riot
"We will face the threat of more violence in the months to come and another January 6 every four years," U.S. Representative Liz Cheney said. In this photo, supporters of former President Donald Trump roam under the Capitol Rotunda after invading the Capitol building on January 6 in Washington, D.C. Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Cheney was part of a group of 10 Republicans who broke party lines by voting in favor of the impeachment of Donald Trump, an action that led to her removal from the leadership position she held as Chair of the House Republican Conference.

While FiveThirtyEight reported Cheney voted in line with former President Trump's position 92.9 percent of the time, her stance on the insurrection has led House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to label her a "Pelosi Republican," and she may lose her seat to a pro-Trump challenger in the 2022 primary.

Respect toward law enforcement became a Republican rallying-cry during last summer's protests in wake of the murder of George Floyd. Cheney spoke toward the "unbelievable violence and inexcusable and intolerable cruelty" exhibited toward Capitol police during the insurrection. Still, a May survey by Politico and Morning Consult found 53 percent of Republican voters hold unfavorable views toward her.

Nonetheless, she remains committed to the investigation:

"I pray that we all remember our children are watching as we carry out this solemn and sacred duty entrusted to us," she said to the committee. "Will we be so blinded by partisanship that we throw away the miracle of America?"

Read her her full statement below:

REPRESENTATIVE LIZ CHENEY: Thank you very much, Chairman Thompson. Thank you to all of my colleagues on this committee, and thank you to each of the witnesses appearing before us today. It is because of you—you held the line, you defended all of us, you defended the Capitol, and you defended the Constitution and our Republic, and every American owes you our undying gratitude. Every American, I hope, will be able to hear your testimony today and will watch the videos. The videos show the unbelievable violence and the inexcusable and intolerable cruelty that you all faced, and people need to know the truth.

I want to begin by reflecting briefly on the investigation that we are launching today. Every one of us here on the dais voted for and would have preferred that these matters be investigated by an independent non-partisan commission, composed of five prominent Americans selected by each party, and modeled on the 9/11 Commission. Although such a commission was opposed by my own leadership in the House, it overwhelmingly passed with the support of 35 Republican members, it was defeated by Republicans in the Senate. And that leaves us where we are today.

We cannot leave the violence of January 6th—and its causes—uninvestigated. The American people deserve the full and open testimony of every person with knowledge of the planning and preparation for January 6. We must know what happened here at the Capitol. We must also know what happened every minute of that day in the White House—every phone call, every conversation, every meeting leading up to, during, and after the attack. Honorable men and women have an obligation to step forward. If those responsible are not held accountable, and if Congress does not act responsibly, this will remain a cancer on our Constitutional Republic, undermining the peaceful transfer of power at the heart of our democratic system. We will face the threat of more violence in the months to come, and another January 6 every four years.

I have been a conservative Republican since 1984 when I first voted for Ronald Reagan. I have disagreed sharply on policy and politics with almost every Democratic member of this committee. But, in the end, we are one nation under God. The Framers of our Constitution recognized the danger of the vicious factionalism of partisan politics—and they knew that our daily arguments could become so fierce that we might lose track of our most important obligation—to defend the rule of law and the freedom of all Americans. That is why our Framers compelled each of us to swear a solemn oath to preserve and protect the Constitution. When a threat to our constitutional order arises, as it has here, we are obligated to rise above politics. This investigation must be non-partisan.

While we begin today by taking the public testimony of these four heroic men, we must also realize that the task of this committee will require persistence. We must issue and enforce subpoenas promptly. We must get to objective truth. We must overcome the many efforts we are already seeing to cover up and obscure the facts.

On January 6 and in the days thereafter, almost all members of my party recognized the events of that day for what they actually were. One Republican, for example, said: "What is happening at the U.S. Capitol right now is unacceptable and un-American. Those participating in lawlessness and violence must be arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law." No Member of Congress should now attempt to defend the indefensible, obstruct this investigation, or whitewash what happened that day. We must act with honor and duty, and in the interest of our nation.

America is great because we preserve our democratic institutions at all costs. Until January 6, we were proof positive for the world that a nation conceived in liberty could long endure. But now, January 6 threatens our most sacred legacy. The question for every one of us who serves in Congress, for every elected official across this great nation, indeed, for every American is this: Will we adhere to the rule of law? Will we respect the rulings of our courts? Will we preserve the peaceful transition of power? Or will we be so blinded by partisanship that we throw away the miracle of America? Do we hate our political adversaries more than we love our country and revere our Constitution? I pray that that is not the case. I pray that we all remember, our children are watching, as we carry out this solemn and sacred duty entrusted to us. Our children will know who stood for truth, and they will inherit the nation we hand to them—a Republic, if we can keep it.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back.