San Francisco Chronicle - (Sunday)
Pelosi, Cheney an odd alliance in attack probe
WASHINGTON — When Nancy Pelosi raised a glass to Liz Cheney, it was the most unlikely of toasts. Democratic lawmakers and the Republican congresswoman were gathered in the House speaker’s office as the group prepared for the first session of the committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol.
Pelosi spoke of the “solemn responsibility” before them and raised her water glass to Cheney, a daughter of the former vice president and the sole Republican in the room.
“Let us salute Liz for her courage,” she said, according to a person familiar with the gathering who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private meeting.
Politics often creates unlikely alliances, the oddcouple arrangements between wouldbe foes who drop their differences to engage on a common cause.
But the emerging partnership between Pelosi and Cheney is remarkable, if not astonishing, as the longtime political adversaries join forces to investigate what happened the day former President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol.
Rarely has there been a meeting of the minds like this — two of the strongest women on Capitol Hill, partisans at opposite ends of the political divide — bonding over a shared belief that the truth about the insurrection should come out and those responsible held accountable. They believe no less than the functioning of U.S. democracy is on the line.
The stakes of the PelosiCheney alliance have never been higher. The panel is expected to hear testimony next week from police officers who battled the Trump supporters that day at the Capitol. The officers have portrayed the hourslong siege as hardly a gathering of peaceful demonstrators, as some Republicans claim, but rather a violent mob trying to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s election.
As their new partnership unfolds, the risks and rewards have an uneven flow. Pelosi benefits more politically from drawing Cheney to her side, giving the committee’s investigation the bigname bipartisan stamp it needs to avoid being viewed as a strictly political exercise.
For Cheney, who has already been booted from GOP leadership over her criticism of Trump, the political dangers are far greater. She was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump over the insurrection, and her willingness to speak out against his top ally, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, now leaves her isolated on Capitol Hill.