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Liz Cheney spoke with NPR about her book on Trump's efforts to overturn the elections

AYESHA RASCOE, HOST:

Here at NPR, we got an early look at Liz Cheney's new book "Oath And Honor: A Memoir And A Warning." The former member of Congress doesn't hold back in the book, accusing her party of cowardice in the face of a president who actively tried to overturn the 2020 election and encouraged a violent mob to attack the Capitol. In her book, Cheney called many of her former colleagues in the U.S. House collaborators and enablers. She sat down with NPR's Leila Fadel, and Leila's here now with us to preview that conversation. Hi, Leila.

LEILA FADEL, BYLINE: Hi, Ayesha.

RASCOE: Your full interview airs tomorrow on Morning Edition. But while we have you here on WEEKEND EDITION, a show I really like, I want to ask you about that subtitle, "A Memoir And A Warning." She's waving the red flag here. She's saying, danger ahead.

FADEL: Yes, yes. By the way, a show I really like, as well. But yeah, she's warning that that danger that we saw in 2020 is not over. She says that this country could have lost its democracy when Donald Trump concocted a lie about winning the election, and she says that she watched her colleagues that she once respected start to repeat that lie - sometimes out of fear because of threats from the former president, Donald Trump, or because they thought that was the way to stay in power. And her warning now is that all of this is not behind this country. The danger she writes about in her book, the weeks after Trump lost the election, the concocting of a lie about winning the election that Republican state officials, U.S. courts all found to have zero merit, and the months she and other House representatives spent investigating and presenting evidence to the American public to prove a conspiracy to overthrow the will of the people - that is still present. And basically, in her view, if Trump is elected again, it could spell the end of democracy in the U.S.

RASCOE: The Cheney name was once synonymous with the Republican Party, and then came Donald Trump. And now Liz Cheney has this book really criticizing the leading members of the GOP. Her saying democracy is at stake is a huge deal, but it's also a very remarkable political moment, right?

FADEL: Right. I mean, like you say, she does not hold back in this book. And she said she wants Americans to know everything that happened in Congress and in her party that led to what she calls a terrorist attack on the Capitol. And she names names - describing former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy as a hypocrite, a coward and a liar who told her Trump acknowledged that he knew he lost the election, only to then repeat Trump's lie on television. She depicts the current speaker, Mike Johnson, as a dangerous anti-constitutionalist. And she says she wants people to know every detail of what happened in her party and in Congress and how many of her former colleagues, she says, betrayed their oath. So I asked her if she still considers herself a Republican.

LIZ CHENEY: I think that the Republican Party as it exists today is dangerous to the country. And I think the most important thing to do now, without question, is to make sure we stop Donald Trump. What American politics looks like after that, what the Republican Party or a new Republican Party or a new conservative party looks like after that remains to be seen.

RASCOE: If she doesn't see herself in this party in its current form, then where does that leave her?

FADEL: Well, I mean, she says there needs to be a third way. There needs to be something else. And she's very, very worried about the future. And you can hear more of our conversation on Monday.

RASCOE: That's NPR's Leila Fadel. Leila, thank you so much for joining us.

FADEL: Thanks for having me, Ayesha. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Ayesha Rascoe is a White House correspondent for NPR. She is currently covering her third presidential administration. Rascoe's White House coverage has included a number of high profile foreign trips, including President Trump's 2019 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, Vietnam, and President Obama's final NATO summit in Warsaw, Poland in 2016. As a part of the White House team, she's also a regular on the NPR Politics Podcast.
Leila Fadel is a national correspondent for NPR based in Los Angeles, covering issues of culture, diversity, and race.
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