Of course, McCarthy is unlikely to place much importance on the advice of her former deputy, after he pushed to get her fired from the GOP leadership earlier this year for her repeated reprimands from the former president. Now the couple have a frosty relationship and barely speak to each other. President Nancy Pelosi’s veto over McCarthy’s choices will have more influence.
But as Cheney embarks on his new high-stakes mission, his comments reflect a deep belief that the investigation into the deadly attack on Capitol Hill must be as serious, sober and non-partisan as possible. And she swears to call on anyone -om either side – who threatens to thwart this mission.
“I will absolutely stand up for the truth and reject partisanship wherever it comes from,” Cheney said. “And I think it was very clear from the start: my obligation is to the Constitution. “
Cheney’s self-proclaimed dedication to the truth – not to a single person or a single party – is the exact same mindset that facilitated his quick and flashy downfall from the House’s top-ranked GOP woman, as she continually rejected Trump’s lies about the election. But that attitude is also what made her an attractive choice for Pelosi for the select panel, where Democrats hope Cheney’s presence will secure bipartisan buy-in to their work and ultimately help sell their findings to a polarized audience. .
The panel of investigators selected by Pelosi know they are up against powerful forces, with Trump and some of his cronies now launching a campaign to rewrite the history of January 6 and distort public perceptions about that day.
“Liz Cheney is a magnificent asset to the committee because of her knowledge of national security and her commitment to the constitutional process,” said Maryland Representative Jamie Raskin, one of the seven House Democrats appointed to the panel. restricted. “She is by no means a partisan actress, she is truly a member of Congress seeking the truth about the events of January 6 and the causes behind them. “
Raskin added, “It will be up to history to decide whether Liz Cheney is justified in her defense of our Constitution. … I bet the story sides with Liz Cheney. “
Prepare for a political backlash
Cheney’s crucial appointment to the committee could bring her more political headaches, where pro-Trump forces are already rallying against her. With the investigation almost certain to drag into the 2022 election year, that means Cheney’s high-profile work on the panel will likely coincide with his main run, providing a constant stream of clips and fresh food for his critics.
Cheney’s challengers are already enjoying his rise to the panel, lambasting the conservative Wyoming lawmaker for serving alongside the Democrats.
“First, she goes after Trump, violates due process with unfounded accusations without a hearing, to impeach an incumbent president,” said Darin Smith, one of Cheney’s main opponents who demonstrated on Capitol Hill on January 6 and made “electoral integrity” a cornerstone of his campaign. “Now she’s going after the Democrats?” “
“I don’t think we have room for that,” Smith added. “The police have already taken care of these people who have behaved badly. … I don’t see why she is doing it. It is clear that she has political motives behind it. My best guess is that she will try to run for president in 2024. “
Trump, still the most powerful figure in the Republican Party, has yet to endorse a challenger in what is shaping up to be a crowded primary estate in Wyoming. But the ex-president has made it clear he plans to get revenge on Republicans who voted to impeach him, especially Cheney.
Cheney, however, said she didn’t think about the potential ramifications for her career when she agreed to join the Democrats on the select committee, framing the decision as far more important than politics.
“When you have a situation as dangerous as this was, and a situation where President Trump continues to use the same language, keeps making the same claims, that he knows he has unleashed the violence… I think we just have a duty not to make political calculations, ”Cheney said.
While it’s clear that Cheney’s vote sparked a backlash among Trump’s loyalists in Wyoming – the state party officially censored it – the congresswoman is still viewed by some Republicans as the undisputed leader in the world. current domain. Cheney was first elected to the House in 2016, after a life of promoting conservative values and hawkish foreign policy personified by her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, who held his seat in the House. statewide for a decade. The congresswoman recently released another record-breaking fundraiser – $ 1.9 million for the second quarter of 2021 – as the race continues to garner national attention.
“The people who support her support her within the committee; others still believe she is on a personal crusade against the former president, ”said Wyoming GOP State Representative Dan Zwonitzer, who leans in support of Cheney. “It really didn’t blow up anything of interest on the current battlefield. “
“When / if Trump backs a candidate things could get interesting, if about 5 of the remaining candidates drop out, but that is highly unlikely to happen,” Zwonitzer added.
Cheney’s approach to the panel
Cheney, who has a background in national security and previously held several high-level positions in the State Department, has so far attended both select committee meetings – one in Pelosi’s office and one on Zoom. While the panel is still organizing and staffing itself, lawmakers have begun initial planning; they could hold their first hearing as early as next week with law enforcement officers and others who responded to the attack on the Capitol.
Cheney said the Democrats on the panel were welcoming and professional, while Raskin said it made “perfect sense” to have him on board. Cheney also said she was “impressed” by the chairman of the select committee, Representative Bennie Thompson. The Mississippi Democrat helped negotiate a bipartisan deal for an independent commission on Jan.6 that was ultimately blocked by the Senate GOP. “He lived in the same spirit,” Cheney said.
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