Posts tagged with "Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming)"

At third hearing, January 6 committee focuses on Trump’s efforts to pressure Pence

June 17, 2022

The third hearing by the House select committee investigating the January. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol focused in on a wide-ranging pressure campaign that then-President Donald Trump put on his own vice president, Mike Pence, to disrupt the transfer of power that day, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The hearing on Thursday, June 16, was led by Representative Pete Aguilar (D-California), according to committee aides; while John Wood, a senior investigator for the committee, was involved in questioning witnesses.

The committee in its second hearing on Monday reviewed evidence that Trump was told repeatedly by White House insiders, including his own attorney general, William Barr, that his claims that the 2020 election was riddled with fraud weren’t true. Trump, who refused to acknowledge the lack of evidence of election fraud, continued to assert that the election had been stolen. The committee says those claims helped inspire the mob on January 6 to storm the Capitol.

During the second public hearing, former Attorney General William Barr said the voter fraud claims were “disturbing allegations.” Witnesses testified on former President Donald Trump’s efforts to cast doubt on the election, which the committee alleges triggered the attack on the Capitol.

Trump has denied wrongdoing related to the riot and called the committee’s probe a sham.

On Thursday, the committee detailed how Trump, over the course of several weeks leading up to January 6, pushed Pence—who as vice president presided over the counting of Electoral College votes—to refuse to accept votes for Joe Biden from a handful of battleground states, throwing the election into chaos. The former president was following a playbook sketched out by lawyer John Eastman in a memo entitled “January 6 scenario.”

The scheme detailed by Eastman was based in part on the existence of fake slates of electors from seven battleground states—including Pennsylvania, Arizona and Georgia—signed by Trump backers. The hearing outlined evidence from the committee’s investigation into efforts to submit those slates, according to committee aides.

Under Eastman’s plan, Pence would refuse to count ballots in states that had multiple slates of electors. That would leave Trump with a majority of votes, and “Pence then gavels President Trump as re-elected,” according to the memo.

After expected objections from Democrats, Pence would send the matter to the House, where each state would have one vote. Since Republicans at the time controlled the delegations of 26 states, “President Trump is re-elected,”  Eastman wrote.

Another version of the plan involved sending the electoral votes back to state legislatures, which would determine which electoral slates to send to Congress. More than 100 Republican House members and several Republican senators challenged votes from states such as Pennsylvania—challenges the House and Senate ultimately rejected.

Pence consulted with several experts about Eastman’s plan, including former U.S. Court of Appeals Judge J. Michael Luttig, who hagreed to appear at the committee’s hearing Thursday.

In a letter distributed to members of Congress on January6, Pence wrote that, while some thought he could accept or reject electoral votes unilaterally, he didn’t think he had the “authority to decide which electoral votes should be counted during the Joint Session of Congress.”

In a speech to the pro-Trump crowd at the Ellipse near the White House on January. 6, Eastman said, “All we are demanding of Vice President Pence is this afternoon at 1:00 he let the legislators of the [states] look into this so we get to the bottom of it.”

“All Vice President Pence has to do is send it back to the states to recertify and we become president,” Trump said in his January 6 speech to the crowd, which followed Eastman’s.

After Trump’s speech, a large crowd started moving toward the Capitol. Trump later tweeted that Pence “didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution.” Members of the mob that broke into the Capitol began chanting “hang Mike Pence”—and Trump was said to have privately agreed that they “might be right.”

Indeed, Representative Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming), vice chairwoman of the select committee, in her opening statement at the panel’s first hearing said that Trump, aware of the chants, responded: “Maybe our supporters have the right idea.”

At the Thursday hearing, the committee planned to feature video evidence showing the danger Mr. Pence faced on January 6, committee aides said.

Research contact: @WSJ

Trump slams Ivanka and denies saying Pence ‘deserves’ to hang in ‘Truth Social’ meltdown

June 13, 2022

After a video clip displayed by the January 6 House Committee plainly showed  Ivanka Trump testifying that she didn’t believe her dad’s wild theory that the 2020 election was stolen—but instead that she accepted former Attorney General Bill Barr’s assurance that there had been no fraud connected with the 2020 election—her father, former President Donald Trump returned the favor by attacking her credibility as a witness, reports The Daily Beast.

Specifically, Ivanka told the congressional panel that she had changed her mind about whether or not the election was rigged after Barr, Trump’s AG for most of 2020, told her that it wasn’t. “I respect Attorney General Barr,” Ivanka said on the video of her testimony shown by the committee during a prime time special on Thursday night, June 9, “So I accepted what he was saying.

In immediate reaction, the following morning, Trump did not hesitate to throw his supposed favorite child under the bus: The former president rushed to tell his followers that they should pay no mind to what his daughter had said. “Ivanka Trump was not involved in looking at, or studying, Election results,” the former president wrote. “She had long since checked out and was, in my opinion, only trying to be respectful to Bill Barr and his position as Attorney General (he sucked!).”

In a flurry of missives sent via his Truth Social channel early on Friday, June 10, Trump also denied having agreed with rioters’ chants to hang Mike Pence and—just for good measure—reaffirmed his baseless claim that the election was stolen.

And it wasn’t just Ivanka’s testimony that left Trump all hot and bothered. Representative Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) revealed that former Trump aides said the president had reacted to mob chants to hang his vice president with shocking approval, including with the ice-cold phrase: “Mike Pence deserves it.” Again, Trump contradicted the testimony with all-caps fury. “I NEVER said, or even thought of saying, ‘Hang Mike Pence,’” he wrote. “This is either a made up story by somebody looking to become a star, or FAKE NEWS!”

“The so-called ‘Rush on the Capitol’ was not caused by me,” Trump continued, “It was caused by a Rigged and Stolen Election!” Returning to another familiar refrain, the former commander-in-chief also appeared to sum up his feelings toward the bipartisan House select committee generally as: “A one sided, totally partisan, POLITICAL WITH HUNT!”

He earlier used the platform to claim that the panel “refuses to play any of the many positive witnesses and statements, refuses to talk of the Election Fraud and Irregularities that took place on a massive scale,” before adding: “Our Country is in such trouble!”

At the hearing Thursday, committee Chair Bennie Thompson (D-Mississippi) directly blamed Trump for the attack on the Capitol after the 2020 election. “He spurred a mob of domestic enemies of the constitution to march down the capital and subvert American democracy,” Thompson said.

Representative Cheney further pointed to Trump’s repeated claims that the election was stolen as the reason the attack took place. “Those who invaded our Capitol and battled law enforcement for hours were motivated by what President Trump had told them: that the election was stolen, and that he was the rightful president,” Cheney said in her opening statement. “President Trump summoned the mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack.”

Research contact: @thedailybeast

January 6 panel presses GOP lawmaker about Capitol tour

May 23, 2022

On May 19, the leaders of the House special committee investigating the January. 6 attack on the Capitol asked a Republican congressman to submit to questioning about a tour of the complex that he allegedly gave one day before the riot—saying they were looking into whether rioters had conducted reconnaissance of the building before the rampage, reports The New York Times.

In a Thursday letter to Representative Barry Loudermilk (R-Georgia), the top two members of the panel said investigators had obtained evidence that the Georgia Republican had led a tour through parts of the Capitol complex on January 5, 2021, when it was closed to visitors because of pandemic restrictions. Loudermilk has denied having led any “reconnaissance” tour.

“Public reporting and witness accounts indicate some individuals and groups engaged in efforts to gather information about the layout of the U.S. Capitol, as well as the House and Senate office buildings, in advance of January 6, 2021,” said a letter to Loudermilk from Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and the chairman of the panel, and Representative Liz Cheney, Republican of Wyoming and the vice chairwoman.

They did not directly allege that any person escorted by Loudermilk later attacked the Capitol. But they suggested that they had obtained evidence that he had led visitors around the complex, writing that their review of evidence “directly contradicts” Republicans’ denials that closed-circuit security camera footage showed no such tours had taken place.

In a statement, Loudermilk conceded that he had brought constituents into parts of the Capitol complex the day before the riot, but he said the visit had been innocuous.

“A constituent family with young children meeting with their Member of Congress in the House office buildings is not a suspicious group or ‘reconnaissance tour.’ The family never entered the Capitol building,” Loudermilk wrote in a joint statement with Representative Rodney Davis of Illinois, the top Republican on the House Administration Committee, adding: “No place that the family went on the 5th was breached on the 6th, the family did not enter the Capitol grounds on the 6th, and no one in that family has been investigated or charged in connection to January 6th.”

The statement did not say whether Loudermilk would agree to meet with the panel to discuss the matter.

Research contact: @nytimes

Cheney, Kinzinger call out Trump over Pence comments

February 1, 2022

Representatives Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) and Adam Kinzinger (R-Illinois) called out former President Donald Trump after he suggested that former Vice President Mike Pence should have overturned the results of the 2020 presidential election, reports The Hill.

Cheney and Kinzinger—who are the only two Republicans serving on the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol—characterized the ex-president’s comments as un-American.

Cheney outlined a series of Trump’s recent statements in a tweet on Monday, January 31— including his admission that “he was attempting to overturn the election”— before writing, “He’d do it all again if given the chance.”

The Wyoming Republican, who is facing a Trump-backed primary challenger, also noted that Trump previously said he would consider pardoning individuals charged in connection to the January 6 riot if he runs for president again and wins another term in the White House.

Kinzinger on Sunday said Trump’s statement earlier that day was “an admission” and “massively un-American.” He then offered an ultimatum to GOP leaders, calling on them to “pick a side” between Trump or the Constitution.

“There is no middle on defending our nation anymore,” he added in a tweet.

Trump in a statement on Sunday pointed to a congressional effort to reform the Electoral College Act as proof that Pence “did have the right to change the outcome” of the 2020 presidential election.

The former president said Pence “unfortunately” did not “exercise that power,” adding “he could have overturned the Election!” 

Pence’s role in overseeing the certification of the Electoral College vote was, as it is for all vice presidents, largely ceremonial. He presided over a joint session of Congress on January 6 where he recognized GOP senators and House members who objected to the results to the voting count in specific states. That set up votes by the House and Senate to consider the objections.

Trump has long argued falsely that Pence had more power over the process and the mob that stormed the Capitol on January 6 did so thinking they could end the

The former president’s statement comes as the congressional effort to reform the Electoral College Act is picking up momentum, with some lawmakers seeing changes to the archaic law as a compromise between both parties on election reform; which Democrats have been pushing for on the federal level in the aftermath of the 2020 election.

The Electoral College Act was enacted in 1887 and outlines how the Electoral College results are counted. A bipartisan group of senators met last week to discuss changes to the statute.

Research contact: @thehill

In pushback to Trump, Supreme Court allows release of hundreds of January 6 documents

January 21, 2022

The Supreme Court on Wednesday, January 19,  refused a request from former President Donald Trump to block the release of White House records concerning the January 6 attack on the Capitol—effectively rejecting Trump’s claim of executive privilege and clearing the way for the House committee investigating the riot to start receiving the documents hours later, reports The New York Times.

The court, with only Justice Clarence Thomas noting a dissent, let stand an appeals court ruling that Trump’s desire to maintain the confidentiality of internal White House communications was outweighed by the need for a full accounting of the attack and the disruption of the certification of the 2020 electoral count.

In an unsigned order, the majority wrote that Mr. Trump’s request for a stay while the case moved forward presented weighty issues, including “whether and in what circumstances a former president may obtain a court order preventing disclosure of privileged records from his tenure in office, in the face of a determination by the incumbent president to waive the privilege.”

But an appeals court’s ruling against Trump did not turn on those questions, the order said. “Because the court of appeals concluded that President Trump’s claims would have failed even if he were the incumbent, his status as a former president necessarily made no difference to the court’s decision,” the order said.

Within hours of the decision, the National Archives began turning over hundreds of pages of documents to the committee.v A Justice Department spokesperson said on Wednesday evening that the documents had been delivered to the committee. But a spokesperson for the panel said on Thursday morning that the committee had received only some of the documents and expected the rest to be delivered as quickly as the archives could produce them.

Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and the chairman of the committee, and Representative Liz Cheney, Republican of Wyoming and the vice chairwoman, called the decision “a victory for the rule of law and American democracy.”

“Our work goes forward to uncover all the facts about the violence of January 6 and its causes,” they said.

Research contact: @nytimes

Kinzinger announces he won’t seek reelection

November 1, 2021

Representative Adam Kinzinger (R-Illinois) announced on Friday, October 29, that he will not seek reelection next year—marking an end to a 12-year House career that was capped off by his increasingly vocal criticism of former President Donald Trump, reports The Hill.

In a video announcing his retirement at the end of his term in January 2023, Kinzinger recalled his first race in which he unseated a Democratic incumbent in 2010, saying he was fueled by supporters who told him to “be my own man and to never ‘do what they tell you to do,’” a tacit reference to his vociferous criticism of Trump.

“I stand tall and proud knowing that I have done just that,” Kinzinger said. “I also remember during that campaign saying that if I ever thought it was time to move on from Congress, I would. And that time is now.”

Kinzinger was one of ten House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump in January over his role in inciting the January 6 insurrection.

Along with Representative Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming), Kinzinger has been among the most vocal GOP critics of Trump—earning him enmity from some of his colleagues, The Hill says. Republican rebukes of him rose after he accepted a position on the special House panel investigating the January 6 riot on Capitol Hill.

Several hours after Kinzinger’s announcement, Trump released a statement reading, “2 down, 8 to go!”

It was an apparent reference to both Kinzinger and Representative Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio), who announced last month he wouldn’t seek reelection after also voting in favor of Trump’s impeachment.

In his announcement, Kinzinger railed against the rife partisanship in Washington, D.C.—accusing both parties of seeking to appeal to their most extreme flanks.

“In this day, to prevail or survive, you must belong to a tribe,” he said. “Our political parties only survive by appealing to the most motivated and the most extreme elements within it. And the price tag to power has skyrocketed, and fear and distrust has served as an effective strategy to meet that cost.”

“Dehumanizing each other has become the norm. We’ve taken it from social media to the streets. We’ve allowed leaders to reach power selling the false premise that strength comes from degrading others and dehumanizing those that look, act. or think differently than we do. As a country, we’ve fallen for those lies, and now we face a poisoned country filled with outrage blinding our ability to reach real strength.”

Kinzinger also expressed “awe” at his nine GOP colleagues who took an impeachment vote that is already starting to imperil their reelection bids.

Despite his departure from Congress, Kinzinger said he would continue fighting a “nationwide” fight.

The six-term lawmaker has been rumored to be mulling a challenge to Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker (D) next year in a blue state, where some say only an anti-Trump moderate like Kinzinger could stand a chance as a Republican.

In the meantime, Kinzinger is expected to continue work for a political action committee, Country First, that he started earlier this year to fight against Trump’s stranglehold on the Republican Party.

“I cannot focus on both a reelection to Congress and a broader fight nationwide,” Kinzinger said. “I want to make it clear, this isn’t the end of my political future, but the beginning.”

Research contact: @thehill

Cheney agrees to join January 6 inquiry, drawing threats of GOP retribution

July 5, 2021

On July 1, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi  (D-California) named Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming to a newly created special committee to investigate the January 6 riot at the Capitol.

In doing so, Pelosi drew fire from House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California), who suggested that Cheney—already ousted from party leadership for her insistence on calling out former President Donald Trump’s election lies —could face fresh retribution for agreeing to help Democrats investigate the deadliest attack on Congress in centuries, The New York Times reported.

McCarthy called Cheney’s acceptance of the position “shocking” and implied that she could lose her seat on the Armed Services Committee as payback. “I don’t know in history where someone would get their committee assignments from the speaker and then expect to get them from the conference as well,” McCarthy said.

The reaction was the latest bid by Republican leaders to turn public attention away from the assault on the Capitol and punish those who insist on scrutinizing the riot. It came as a fuller picture is emerging of how violent extremists, taking their cues from Trump, infiltrated the seat of American democracy just as Congress was meeting to validate President Biden’s election.

According to the Times, should McCarthy follow throughhis threat, it would be a striking move, since he has declined to penalize Republicans who have made anti-Semitic comments, called for the imprisoning of their Democratic colleagues, or spread false conspiracy theories about the origins of the assault on the Capitol.

It also would be the second time in two months that McCarthy Cheney for insisting that Congress should scrutinize the attack and Trump’s role in spreading the falsehoods about voting fraud that inspired it. In May, Mr. McCarthy led the charge to oust Cheney from her post as the No. 3 House Republican, saying her criticisms of Trump and efforts to sound the alarm about the riot were undermining party unity and hurting its chances of reclaiming the House in the 2022 elections.

“My oath, my duty is to the Constitution, and that will always be above politics,” Cheney told reporters in the Capitol, appearing alongside the seven Democrats Pelosi had selected for the 13-member panel.

According to its rules, McCarthy has the right to offer five recommendations for Republican members, but he declined on Thursday to say whether he would do so.

Research contact: @nytimes