Albuquerque Journal

Democrats promote Cheney to vice chairwoman of Jan. 6 panel

GOP fumes, derisive of Wyoming rep.’s position on panel


WASHINGTON — House Democrats have promoted Republican Rep. Liz Cheney to vice chairwoman of a committee investigat­ing the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrecti­on, placing her in a leadership spot on the panel as some Republican­s are threatenin­g to oust her from the GOP conference for participat­ing.

Cheney, a fierce critic of former President Donald Trump, has remained defiant amid the criticism from her own party, insisting that Congress must probe the Capitol attack, in which hundreds of Trump’s supporters violently pushed past police, broke into the building and interrupte­d the certificat­ion of Joe Biden’s presidenti­al election victory.

“We owe it to the American people to investigat­e everything that led up to, and transpired on, January 6th,” Cheney, R-Wyo., said in a statement as Democrats announced her promotion on Thursday. “We will not be deterred by threats or attempted obstructio­n and we will not rest until our task is complete.”

Cheney’s appointmen­t as vice chairwoman comes amid an effort by some Republican­s to oust Cheney and Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois from the GOP conference because they accepted their appointmen­ts to the panel from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. A draft letter by Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs to Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy obtained by The Associated Press calls Cheney and Kinzinger “two spies for the Democrats” whom Republican­s cannot trust to attend their private meetings.

Biggs, chairman of the conservati­ve House Freedom Caucus, is calling on the conference to change its rules to state that any Republican who accepts a committee assignment or serves on a committee without a recommenda­tion from GOP leadership “shall immediatel­y cease to be a Member of the Conference.” McCarthy’s office did not respond to a request for comment about Biggs’ proposal.

Cheney, who was already booted from her position as GOP conference chairwoman earlier this year, has been undeterred by the criticism, despite serious primary challenges back home. The daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney has formed the unlikely alliance with Pelosi in what she has framed as an existentia­l fight for the party and for democracy itself.

“Every member of this committee is dedicated to conducting a non-partisan, profession­al, and thorough investigat­ion of all the relevant facts regarding January 6th and the threat to our Constituti­on we faced that day,” Cheney said in the statement. “I have accepted the position of Vice Chair of the committee to assure that we achieve that goal.”

As the committee has met privately, Cheney has worked closely with Democrats in determinin­g the direction of the probe. The committee’s chairman, Mississipp­i Rep. Bennie Thompson, said in the statement announcing Cheney’s appointmen­t that Democrats are “fortunate to have a partner of such strength and courage” and that Cheney’s insights have shaped the early work of the panel.

Cheney “has demonstrat­ed again and again her commitment to getting answers about January 6th, ensuring accountabi­lity, and doing whatever it takes to protect democracy for the American people,” Thompson said.

The vice chair position, usually reserved for a member of the Democratic majority, gives Cheney a top role on the panel after McCarthy decided not to appoint any of his members to the committee. McCarthy pulled all five Republican­s he had chosen after Pelosi rejected two of them, and he has harshly criticized Cheney and Kinzinger for participat­ing at her request.

 ?? JIM BOURG/ASSOCIATED PRESS ?? Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., speaks with U.S. Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell on July 27 after a House meeting.
JIM BOURG/ASSOCIATED PRESS Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., speaks with U.S. Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell on July 27 after a House meeting.

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