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GOP Vote on Cheney; Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) is Interviewed about the Cheney Vote; Cheney Speaks to Party before Vote; Cheney Removed from Leadership Role. Aired 9-9:30a ET

Aired May 12, 2021 - 09:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[09:00:00]

RACHEL VINDMAN, ALEXANDER VINDMAN'S WIFE, RECENTLY LEFT REPUBLICAN PARTY: That's what Trumpism is, loyalty to him or loyalty to the truth. And if your loyalty is to the truth, you will be chewed up and spit out and discarded.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Rachel Vindman, it is great to see you. Thank you so much for being with us.

And CNN's coverage continues right now.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. So glad you're with us. I'm Poppy Harlow.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Jim Sciutto.

Breaking this hour, a flashpoint moment for the Republican Party. Right now the GOP conference is meeting behind closed doors where they are expected to oust Congresswoman Liz Cheney from her number three leadership position. Why? Because she told the truth. She refused to tout former President Trump's big lie that the election was stolen. The congresswoman gave a defiant speech on the House floor on Tuesday. She vowed not to remain silent.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): Today we face a threat America has never seen before, a former president who provoked a violent attack on this Capitol in an effort to steal the election has resumed his aggressive effort to convince Americans that the election was stolen from him. He risks inciting further violence.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: House Republicans are expected to replace Cheney with New York Congresswoman Elise Stefanik. She has emerged as one of president -- former President Trump's top defenders, despite the fact that her voting record is less conservative than Cheney's and less in line with Trump's.

Now, this all comes as former top Trump administration officials are set to deliver critical testimony next hour to Congress in defense of their handling of the Capitol insurrection, of course led by pro-Trump extremists.

What's notable, this is the first hearing with then high ranking government officials who were directly involved in that response to the insurrection outside, of course, of FBI Director Christopher Wray, who has previously testified. And there are so many critical questions that lawmakers need to ask and hopefully, Jim, will elicit direct responses for the American people about the multiple failures on that day.

We'll get to that in a moment.

Let's begin, though, with our colleague, Manu Raju, on Capitol Hill.

Manu, good morning.

Walk us through what's about to happen.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we expect this to happen potentially pretty quickly in order to push out Liz Cheney from the House Republican leadership. Virginia Fox, who's a Virginia Republican congresswoman -- North Carolina congresswoman, will actually introduce a resolution to kick her out of the leadership post, recall her from the number three position. And then, at that point, Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader, will essentially call -- essentially deem this as a privileged resolution. And that's significant because that means that all that is needed is a majority support within the Republican conference to oust her from that critical position. And, assuming that they do get the votes, which is widely expected, she will no longer be part of the Republican leadership.

Now, this is going to be -- it could be quick. It could be a potential voice vote. Or Liz Cheney, or someone else, can actually ask for a recorded vote. And then that would be a secret ballot election. No one will have any idea how members will vote unless they actually publicly declare their vote. But there's no way to verify that because it's a secret ballot.

But Liz Cheney has essentially accepted what her fate is. That she was going to lose this vote. I'm told that she has not been working this vote behind the scenes. This is much different than what happened in the run-up to her February push to challenge her from the position. She defeated that vote because, in part, she was working behind the scenes to essentially get members to fall in line behind here. This time she is not doing that. She recognizes where she is with the party, which is crosswise with Donald Trump and, as a result, she's losing this position.

Guys.

SCIUTTO: Manu Raju, thanks very much.

Just moments ago, and before the conference begins, I spoke to Illinois Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger, who has been a very vocal supporter of Cheney.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SCIUTTO: Congressman, thanks so much for taking the time this morning.

REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): You bet.

SCIUTTO: You unleashed really just a blistering critique of your colleagues on Twitter this morning. I wonder, at this conference, are you going to speak to your colleagues directly and what will you say?

KINZINGER: Yes, maybe. It depends. I mean people know how I feel. You know, I think -- I think -- it seems like the die is kind of cast. If I do end up speaking, it's just like, look, reminding people that, what do you think the history books are going to say? I mean we know that history has a way of getting it right. And if you think history's going to read that the election was stolen and Kevin McCarthy was right, then vote, you know, to remove Liz Cheney.

But, keep in mind, you may win a temporary victory, but in the long term she's going to be seen heroically. So, defend her.

And I expect her to lose today, but this is the beginning really of just a further fight for the soul of the party.

SCIUTTO: You've been particularly critical of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy as you mentioned there.

[09:05:03]

You tweeted last night that he's a, quote, employee of Donald Trump. This morning you say that he effectively revived Trump after January 6th.

Does he deserve to be the leader of Republicans in the House?

KINZINGER: Well, I don't think so. I think, you know, it's obvious that most Republicans think he does. I actually think it's interesting. So after January 6th, I thought it was his leadership that should be challenged. But somehow people went on offense against Liz, like the one person telling the truth.

Look -- you know what, and this is especially heartbreaking because I'm friends with -- or I was friends with Kevin, but I always saw him as somebody that was willing to do the right thing and all of a sudden, when we have an insurrection, Jim, like an insurrection with violence and people that have died, and I've been begging Kevin, you know, to look at Officer Fanone's (ph) body cam and to talk to him and he won't do it because the politics is so important. That's not the party that I'm a huge believer in. So, for me, I don't think he should be, but he is at the moment.

SCIUTTO: Is Kevin McCarthy lying to the American people and his own conference about the events of January 6th but also the 2020 election?

KINZINGER: Yes. I mean, look, it's -- you know, for him to go on TV after the election and say, this election was stolen, I mean he said that on one news channel. I know for a fact, you know, that it wasn't. We all -- you know.

And I think the thing is, is we have to recognize that the Republicans that believe it was stolen, we can't be mad at them because all of their leaders are telling them that. So what do you expect if everybody you respect is telling you that?

So, for us, we have to -- we owe it to the people that follow us to tell them the truth. And, unfortunately, it's just much easier to lie and go along with it.

SCIUTTO: In her floor speech last night, Liz Cheney went further beyond saying the party's endorsing the big lie. She says that the party is abandoning the rule of law and, in effect, abandoning democratic principles.

I wonder if you go that far. Do you agree with her?

KINZINGER: Yes. I mean it's like, look, if what is it that we're saying? We're saying elections don't work. We're saying that you can just take the crazy rantings of one man and declare it to be so. So that is a huge violation of the rule of law. As Liz had said yesterday, when the court speaks, if you go against the court, that is a violation of the rule of law.

Look, there's enough blame to go around in a bunch of parties. But as Republicans, we are the only party that threatened democracy at the beginning of January. Yes, the riots in the summer were bad. I worked them as a guardsman. But that didn't ever threaten to topple democracy like January did. We have to take inventory and ownership of that and then we can move forward and focus on the future.

SCIUTTO: You have tweeted that you warned McCarthy and others before January 6th about the potential for violence and that he, in effect, ignored you. I wonder, do you believe that by continuing to endorse and defend the big lie, that McCarthy and other members of your party are laying the groundwork for more violence?

KINZINGER: I think potentially. I think -- now, I'm not going to directly blame them on anything. And I don't know how that's going to go. But I will say that when you tell, you know, 74 million Americans that the election was stolen, that their vote didn't count, that democracy doesn't work and, in some cases, in the Qanoon lie of Satanist pedophiles running the government, if you truly believe that, by the way, what happened on January 6th isn't that far of a stretch, I mean, because if that's truly the case, it's logical. And that's what happens when you continue to push the big lie, because something like that could happen again.

SCIUTTO: Yes, listen, by the way, the pizzagate conspiracy theory led to a gunman to go to that pizza place where my son had his birthday party, right? I mean this stuff happens.

When we spoke in late January in the wake of January 6th, the insurrection, you said you didn't know for sure if the Republican Party was still the party for you. These months later, where do you stand now? Do you believe you still belong inside or outside the party?

KINZINGER: Well, the problem is there's, you know, outside of the party, and the two-party system that's the Democrats or, you know, independents, I still believe in conservative values. I'm a conservative. I -- you know, I was a Republican before Donald Trump. So I still am fighting for the soul of this party.

But I'll tell you, you know, we're seeing some positive signs among the base kind of waking up to the reality. But leadership hasn't been. So we're going to give it a lot of time, fight for it and, you know, some day we'll see what happens.

SCIUTTO: As you know, and "The New York Times" reporting this as well now, there is an effort of some Republicans, more than 100 Republicans, are threatening to form a third party. Is it better to battle, in your view, within the party, as it appears Liz Cheney wants to do, or to leave the party and start over?

KINZINGER: You know, look, for me personally, it's fighting for the soul of the party just because I think the party's going to be here for a long time. And, you know, really the system's built for two parties.

I also give credit to people for trying to start something else.

[09:10:01]

Like, you know, if you feel unrepresented, which a lot of Americans do, they're not far leftist, they're not, you know, what the Republican Party is, you have a right to be represented. So, for me, I'm going to fight for the soul of the party, but I commend anybody, you know, for standing up and saying, we deserve to be represented, too.

SCIUTTO: Congressman Adam Kinzinger, we appreciate you joining the show this morning.

KINZINGER: You bet. Thanks.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HARLOW: That was such a great interview.

All right, let's go to Manu Raju.

Manu, you've got some new reporting about what just happened. What Liz Cheney just said inside that room.

RAJU: Yes, she actually just made remarks to her members, according to a source familiar with the remarks. And she said -- she talked about having tremendous affection for her members. She said that our nation needs a Republican Party based on truth and so we can shape the future. And she said, to do that, we must be true to our principles and to the Constitution. We cannot let the former president drag us backward and make us complicit in his efforts to unravel our democracy. Down that path lies our destruction and potentially the destruction of our country. She says -- she went on to tell her members, if you want leaders who will enable and spread his destructive lies, I am not your person. You have plenty of others to choose from. That will be their legacy.

And then she goes on to say, but I promise you this, after today, I will be leading the fight to restore our party and our nation to conservative principles, to defeating socialism, to defending our republic, to making the GOP worthy again of being the party of Lincoln.

And she added -- then ends with a prayer in her remarks.

So pretty strong remarks to her colleagues saying that Donald Trump has led this nation down a destructive path with lies. He says -- she said that if you don't want me as your leader to believe that, don't vote for me and it will be the legacy of other leaders who are following them.

Strong remarks from Liz Cheney. She's essentially accepting her fate that she's going to be pushed out of Republican leadership in a matter of moments.

HARLOW: And, Manu, just, let's remind people why they're not seeing this in real-time. It's secret.

RAJU: Yes, this --

HARLOW: It's a secret ballot.

RAJU: Yes, it's -- it's a secret ballot. It's behind closed doors. This is how leadership elections typically are conducted on Capitol Hill. And we'll see how quickly it can happen. It can happen simply by voice vote to boot her from the position.

HARLOW: Right.

RAJU: Or, if not a secret ballot, so we won't know -- exactly know how this comes down.

HARLOW: OK. Manu, thanks very much.

Let's bring in our chief political correspondent Dana Bash and our CNN special correspondent Jamie Gangle.

Ladies, thank you so much for being here.

Jamie, listening last night in real-time to Liz Cheney talking about the miracle of America and our freedom only survives if we protect it, and now listening to what Manu just recounted that she told her members all while, as you pointed out last night, wearing a speech of George Washington's battle flag on her lapel given to her by her mother.

What does all of that tell us about where this goes from here, and where Liz Cheney goes from here? JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: So there's the pin. That is

either by legend or history or a little bit of both, supposed to be George Washington's battle flag that flew over his headquarters. Her mother, who's a historian (ph), who wrote a book about George Washington, gave her that pin a few weeks ago. And she wore it because she feels it symbolizes what she is doing here.

I'm told by a source in the room that right now Congresswoman Fox is calling for a vote. That it is, at this moment, actually Kevin McCarthy is calling for the vote now. And Kevin McCarthy is calling for a voice vote. That would be yeas and nays. We'll see whether someone else calls for a secret ballot, which would give us the numbers.

But I understand that Liz Cheney believes this will be a lopsided vote against her if there are numbers, but she really sees this vote as a vote on her colleagues, not on her. She is determined to go forward. She believes Donald Trump is a threat and remains a threat. And she will -- she has a long game here, Poppy.

HARLOW: Yes.

Dana, our friend and contributor here, David Axelrod, last night brought up the speech in 1950, the Declaration of Conscience by Margaret Chase Smith, someone you've studied deeply. And when she stood up to her Republican colleagues then, she was in the Senate then, and to Joseph McCarthy, and she didn't mention Joseph McCarthy's name in those remarks, and, interesting, Liz Cheney didn't mention Kevin McCarthy's name in those remarks last night, but it -- but it was all clear. And Margaret Chase Smith said then, it is high time that we all stop being tools and victims of totalitarian techniques and cherish the American way of life, she went on to say.

[09:15:05]

So many parallels this morning.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: So many parallels.

I actually checked in to see if Congresswoman Cheney looked at this very, very famous speech that Margaret Chase Smith gave on June 1, 1950. Unclear, but I was told she's obviously very familiar with it.

And the other thing that is interesting is that Margaret Chase Smith was a Republican. And in this speech, I know, Poppy, you and I were emailing this morning.

HARLOW: Yes.

BASH: I went back and looked at it too. And just looking at what Liz Cheney said that Manu reported in the room, kind of as we're speaking, talking about Republicans and that party being the party of Lincoln. That's what Margaret Chase Smith said back in 1950 when she was pushing back against McCarthy and McCarthyism --

HARLOW: Right. BASH: Talking about the fact that the party faces a huge challenge and it was at a crossroads then, just like Liz Cheney is saying it is at a crossroads now.

I just have to also say, looking at the remarks that Congresswoman Cheney just gave behind closed doors, which people are going to be able to, you know, read shortly, Manu read the highlights for sure, I mean it reads to me like somebody who wants -- you know, who's facing a political, public execution and wants to be heard before that political execution happens. I know that sounds dramatic, but that's what's going on here. Yes, she's keeping her seat, but she is being removed from the party leadership for a very specific reason. And that reason is because she is not going along with a lie that she has said over and over again now goes against the fundamentals, not just of the GOP, but of democracy and undermines it.

HARLOW: Well, and a lie that she reiterated last night risks inciting further violence, right, what could be ahead if the lie is perpetuated.

BASH: Exactly.

HARLOW: Stand by, Dana and Jamie. Let me go back to Manu.

Manu, you have some more reporting?

RAJU: Yes, one thing that Liz Cheney's expected to come and address reporters momentarily outside of the room. So it's a question of, if this vote is already over. We're trying to see exactly what happened. We expected this to go pretty quickly here.

Virginia Fox, a congresswoman, has actually introduced a resolution to oust Liz Cheney. She was the one who made that motion with the support of the Republican leadership, including Kevin McCarthy.

And we're also hearing now, we're getting word from reporters who are outside, that the conference has, in fact, adopted that resolution and Cheney has been removed from the number three spot in Republican leadership.

This happening lightning fast, within, you know, 20 minutes of this meeting started, Liz Cheney making remarks, Virginia Fox offering a resolution backed by Republican leaders. She is now out of Republican leadership and she's expected to address what happened here in just a matter of minutes. A pretty dramatic reversal from just a few months ago when the conference kept her in, overwhelmingly, with the support of the Republican leadership, despite her vote to impeach Donald Trump. But in the aftermath of her criticism of the former president, it's clear where this conference wants to go and it's with Donald Trump and without Liz Cheney, who was just booted out of that leadership spot, the number three spot in the Republican conference.

Guys.

HARLOW: OK, Manu, thank you very much.

We have Dana and Jamie standing by.

Jamie Gangel, your reaction? It was quick. I guess we don't know the numbers. We won't know the numbers, I suppose.

GANGEL: We won't know the numbers and that's actually very interesting. And it says something about Kevin McCarthy. I'm told that he called for a voice vote, simple yeas and nays in the room. And nobody came in and asked for a secret ballot, where numbers would count. Remember --

HARLOW: Let's go --

GANGEL: Go ahead.

HARLOW: So that -- I'm sorry. I'm sorry. All right.

GANGEL: That's OK.

HARLOW: Let's see -- go ahead. Do we want -- guys, are we going to listen in to this?

OK, let's listen to Adam Kinzinger.

REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): Look, I just wanted to say that I've been supportive of Liz. What happened today was sad. Liz has committed the only sin of being consistent and telling the truth. The truth is that the election was not stolen. Seventy-four million voters were not disenfranchised. They were just outnumbered. And it's important for our party to take inventory of that and go out and win the next election instead of continuing the big lie.

So, look, I stand with Liz. I'm proud of her. There's a lot of people that are proud of her for what she has done. And a lot of people that feel threatened by her. And that's their decision.

But, going forward, I think she's going to be a great leader for this country and this party.

QUESTION: Congressman, how many supporters did she have in the room?

KINZINGER: I think there were a lot but we ended up going by voice vote. And the ironic thing was, it was to show unity. So, at that point, it's not even worth the fight. You walk out and you say, all right the, you know, leader's made his decision, that's fine, and he'll -- he'll have to hold to whatever that is.

QUESTION: Who made speeches against her?

KINZINGER: There was no speeches, really. It was just Kevin standing up and -- and then the -- the vote was taken. So it was definitely not what I expected, but --

[09:20:02]

QUESTION: What did McCarthy say? Can you share it? KINZINGER: Basically it's time to move on from her. He said, you know, we have to be unified and continue with this whole unity theme. And, look, I'm all for unity. I'm all for unity and truth, you know? Truth cannot co-exist with lies. Truth cannot co-exist with falsehoods. You cannot unify with that. And I think that's what Liz has been saying.

So, thank you, everybody. I'll tell you, it's -- it was a sad day.

QUESTION: What do you think of Elise Stefanik, Congressman?

KINZINGER: Look, I -- in terms of anybody going forward, I'll take that decision. I think anybody that was sniffing around for this job before Liz was out, obviously that's not a great thing. I think, for me, I'll vote for somebody that's going to tell the truth to the voters because, as leaders, your job isn't just to make it comfortable for the rank and file members, your job is to tell people the truth.

And, by the way, to our base voters who believe the election was stolen, honestly, I don't blame them because their leaders have told them the exact same thing. That's why it's important for people to tell the truth.

Thanks, guys, take care.

SCIUTTO: Dana Bash, you listen to Adam Kinzinger there, and similar comments he said on our broadcast just a few minutes ago. You listen to Cheney. This is not a minor policy disagreement within the party. It's not a personality disagreement. He's saying party leadership is lying to the American people. He and Cheney are saying, and I pressed him on this, that the party is abandoning the rule of law and democratic principles. I mean, I -- you have to go back to the McCarthy era to see a, you know, rift within a party to that degree. This is no small thing. We're talking -- I mean it's existential, is it not?

BASH: Yes, it is existential. And that is such an important point, Jim, because it isn't about whether or not you should have troops in Afghanistan. It isn't about whether taxes should be raised or not. Those are legitimate policy debates. This is existential. Not just for the GOP. It is existential for democracy.

Again, we are making these bold, dramatic statements this morning, and we don't do it lightly. It's because it is true. This country needs a viable two-party system, at least, to exist and that is on the brink and in danger of collapsing with the GOP going towards the notion of lies. And that is exactly why Liz Cheney is doing what she's doing.

SCIUTTO: Yes.

BASH: I just want to add one thing. I got a text from a member who was part of these votes and the question about voice vote versus recorded vote, which would be secret ballot, but we would at least know the numbers.

This member told me five people had to stand to request a recorded vote. That didn't happen. The gavel came down. And that Liz said it was up to Kevin, meaning Congresswoman Cheney said it was up to the Leader McCarthy if he wanted a voice vote or not and Kevin asked for a voice vote. So that's why we don't know exactly what the numbers are.

SCIUTTO: Yes.

Jamie, can you comment on the quintessential spinelessness of that, not wanting to go on the record, even in a secret ballot? Not just names. They don't want names. They don't even want numbers. What does that reveal about the position of the leader, McCarthy, and the members who just voted Cheney out?

Oh, there's Cheney. Let's go to Cheney.

REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): We had the conference meeting. I am absolutely committed, as I said last night, and as I said just now to my colleagues, that we must go forward based on truth. We cannot both embrace the big lie and embrace the Constitution. And going forward, the nation needs it. The nation needs a strong Republican Party. The nation needs a party that is based upon fundamental principles of conservatism. And I am committed and dedicated to ensuring that that's how this party goes forward. And I plan to lead the fight to do that.

QUESTION: Congresswoman, how concerned are you that the former President Trump might end up back in the Oval Office and what are you prepared to (INAUDIBLE)?

CHENEY: I will do everything I can to ensure that the former president never again gets anywhere near the Oval Office. We have seen the danger that he continues to provoke with his language. We have seen his lack of commitment and dedication to the Constitution. And I think it's very important that we make sure whomever we elect is somebody who will be faithful to the Constitution.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Last question.

QUESTION: Do you feel betrayed by today's vote? Congresswoman, do you feel betrayed by today's vote?

CHENEY: I do not. I think that it is an indication of where the Republican Party is. And I think that the party is in a place that we've got to bring it back from. And we've got to get back to a position where we are a party that can fight for conservative principles, that can fight for substance. We cannot be dragged backward by the very dangerous lies of a former president.

Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much.

SCIUTTO: Liz Cheney, very straightforward there as she's been these last several days.

[09:25:00]

Jamie Gangel, though, back to my question, if you don't mind, the quintessential spinelessness of refusing not even to count names, name names, but count numbers in this vote.

What does that say?

GANGEL: I think Kevin McCarthy was scared of what those numbers were. I am not suggesting in any way that Liz Cheney was going to win this vote or that it wasn't going to be lopsided. But I think Kevin McCarthy did not want those numbers out there. And maybe there were other GOP members who did not want to have to go on the record, clean and simple, because we had been hearing for a week now about a secret ballot that would give us numbers. Kevin McCarthy did not want that. That was a political decision.

I just want to add one thing. Liz Cheney just said, I will do everything I can to make sure the former president never gets anywhere near the Oval Office. That is her long game. And as she said, she plans to, quote, lead the fight. She is now unleashed. She can say whatever she wants about Donald Trump. She can say whatever she wants about her colleagues. But her goal now is to see if she can wrestle the Republican Party back.

SCIUTTO: Wow.

HARLOW: Manu, the words that Jamie just reiterated is exactly what struck me most from Cheney's remarks, right? So -- and from Liz Cheney's remarks and Jamie's reporting yesterday was like, this is the beginning of the war for Liz Cheney.

So how does that practically play out in the halls of Congress?

RAJU: You know, she is still decidedly in the minority of the minority of the House Republican conference about this very issue. She will be an outspoken voice. She'll have -- get a lot of attention when she speaks. But there are just so few members of the House Republican conference, or Senate Republican conference for that matter, who are going up against Donald Trump, even the ones who are uncomfortable about the former president. They don't want -- they recognize his power with the Republican base.

So she has a significant challenge ahead if she were -- if she was going to try to use this in a way to bring -- to try to take -- prevent the former president from re-emerging in the political scene given the support within the Republican conference.

And, you know, one reason why even, you know, perhaps both sides didn't want to have the voice vote today, it was -- or the secret ballot vote today, even if she did -- the reporting that I have done over the last several days in talking to a wide array of members, that a lot of the members who voted for her last time were unlikely to do so again because they recognized just how tense things have become within the Republican leadership, that this was just a situation that they needed to move on from. And she was expected to lose that vote in a pretty overwhelming basis. So a quick voice vote essentially avoided any pain on -- that might be felt by both sides in forcing members to actually take a position. So it made things a little bit easier just to rip the Band-Aid off quickly and move on. And what happened inside the room, according to multiple sources who

I've been texting with, is that Virginia Fox offered the motion to kick her out of the conference. This came after Liz Cheney initially made those remarks, which we talked about, where she defend what she's done, what she's warned her party not to follow the path of Donald Trump. Then came that motion by Virginia Fox. Kevin McCarthy spoke briefly, said it was time to unify and then that's when that voice vote happened.

SCIUTTO: Yes.

RAJU: So, so quick, within 20 minutes, despite what we saw in February, hours-long debate over Liz Cheney's future. She staved off that fight -- that challenge, but not this time.

HARLOW: Yes.

BASH: Can I just add one -- one thing to Manu and Jamie's great reporting, and that is, it's maybe obvious but it's worth stating, she is not in the leadership anymore, but she's still a member of Congress.

SCIUTTO: Yes.

BASH: And she's still an at-large member of Congress from the state of Wyoming. And people I've talked to around Liz Cheney see her primary fight, which is not for over a year, August of 2022, as potential to be ground zero for the fight for the heart and soul of the GOP.

Why is that? Because she has had tremendous support in her re- election, close to 70 percent. It is also a state where Donald Trump had one of the biggest, if not the biggest, I believe the biggest margin of victory in 2020.

HARLOW: Yes.

BASH: So it is going to be a real battle to see what happens because he is obviously going to go in with guns blazing trying to get rid of her and trying to oust her.

SCIUTTO: Yes.

BASH: Will try to oust her from the Congress altogether.

HARLOW: That's a great point. I think Donald Trump got 70 percent of the vote there in Wyoming. Liz Cheney got 69 percent.

BASH: Exactly.

HARLOW: And now it's like people are going to have to decide there which camp are they in.

[09:30:00]

Jamie Gangel, final thoughts, as someone who has reported so deeply, like Dana and Manu, on this and spoken to Liz Cheney.