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Liz Cheney refuses to rule out presidential run against ‘dangerous’ Trump in 2024

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Liz Cheney, the vice-chairman of the House January 6 select committee, said during her first sit-down interview since the public hearings kicked off last month that she hasn’t ruled out making a bid for president in 2024.

“I’ll make a decision about ’24 down the road,” the Wyoming Republican said during a pre-recorded interview on ABC’s This Week on Sunday.

“I’m obviously very focused on my reelection,” added Ms Cheney, who’s facing an uphill reelection campaign after she was censured by her home state’s GOP for accepting a role on the congressional committee investigating the violent insurrection on the US Capitol and for continuing to be a thorn in Donald Trump’s side.

“I’m very focused on the January 6 committee. I’m very focused on my obligations to do the job that I have now.”

The Republican representative, who first became a site of scorn within Trump world after she and nine other lawmakers from within her party joined Democrats to vote to impeach the one-term president after the Capitol riot, is currently falling behind the Trump-backed candidate challenging her in Wyoming’s GOP primary.

Despite trailing her biggest rival – Harriet Hageman, a Cheyenne ranching and natural resources attorney – for the Republican ticket by close to 30 points, Ms Cheney felt assured in her battle to hold onto the district she’s been the elected official of for the last three terms.

“I don’t intend to lose the Republican primary in Wyoming,” Ms Cheney told ABC News’ Jonathan Karl, emphasising when the reporter pushed that she views the battle in Wyoming as one having widespread repercussions throughout the country.

“I think it’s important because I will be the best representative that the people of Wyoming can have,” she insisted.

Ms Cheney is one of just two Republicans that sit on the nine-person panel probing the events that transpired in the lead up to the violent insurrection.

Adam Kinzinger, the Illinois congressman who joins her as a GOP committee member and is also a rare anti-Trump voice from within the party, has similarly dodged the 2024 question when pressed by reporters about his prospects for making a declaration.

“It’s there as an option, but it’s not necessarily because this is all some big plan so I can be in the White House,” the Illinois Republican told The Associated Press when asked about his timeline for deciding on a presidential run. “It’s looking and saying, ‘Is there going to be a voice out there that can represent from that megaphone the importance of defending this country and democracy and what America is about?’ There certainly, I’m sure within the next year or so, will be a point at which you have to make a decision.”

Ms Cheney echoed her January 6 committee colleague’s sentiments when explaining that the impetus for seeking the highest office in the country would not necessarily be with the outset goal of winning but preventing the twice impeached president from having the nuclear launch codes at his fingertips again.

“A man as dangerous as Donald Trump can absolutely never be anywhere near the Oval Office ever again,” Ms Cheney said, adding that she doesn’t see a way out for the Republican party to “survive” if he does indeed pull off a second term. “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.”

During the wide-ranging interview with ABC, Ms Cheney also noted that she and her colleagues on the panel investigating the former US president have not necessarily ruled out making a recommendation to federal prosecutors to charge Mr Trump with criminal charges for his role in the January 6 mob.

“The single most important thing is protecting the nation from Donald Trump,” she said, while adding that the Justice Department need not rely on the committee’s referral, as it makes its own decisions around pressing criminal charges.

Ms Cheney will face off in a primary election in Wyoming for the GOP nomination on 16 August.

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