By Victoria Eavis, Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange
U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., will serve on the select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced in a Thursday press conference.
Cheney is so far the only Republican picked to serve on the panel. The lawmaker has repeatedly bucked many in her party by pushing for a thorough examination of the events before and during the riot, as well as being a consistent critic of former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
“Our oath to the Constitution, our commitment to the rule of law, and the preservation of the peaceful transfer of power must always be above partisan politics,” Cheney said in a statement.
The news came one day after the House voted to create a select committee. Cheney was one of only two Republicans to break party lines and vote with the Democrats (she was joined by Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois).
Pelosi told reporters she was proud to have Cheney serving on the panel and Cheney said she was honored to serve.
“What happened on Jan. 6 can never happen again,” Cheney said in a statement. “Those who are responsible for the attack need to be held accountable and this select committee will fulfill that responsibility in a professional, expeditious, and non-partisan manner.”
The first time Pelosi and Cheney spoke about Cheney’s position on the committee was Wednesday morning, when Pelosi called Wyoming’s lone House representative.
“They had not talked at all about it prior,” said Jeremy Adler, Cheney’s communications director.
So far, Cheney is the only Republican on the committee, joined by seven Democrats. There are still five more available slots that are supposed to be named after Pelosi consults with House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy.
Cheney had backed an independent, bipartisan committee to investigate the riot at the Capitol. However, an attempt to create such a panel died in the Senate after passing the House. On Wednesday, Cheney said a select committee was the only option left for a through examination of the insurrection.
McCarthy, who played an integral role in ousting Cheney from leadership, used a press conference following Pelosi’s announcement to question Cheney’s Republican credentials.
“I was shocked that she [Cheney] would accept something from Speaker Pelosi,” McCarthy said. “It would seem to me, since I didn’t hear from her, maybe she’s closer to her [Pelosi] than us.”
When asked about McCarthy’s comments by a reporter in Washington, Cheney responded, “It’s very clear to me, as I’ve said, my oath to my duty is above partisanship, and I expect leader McCarthy to have the same view.”
McCarthy also said Wednesday that he would strip any Republican member on the commission of their committee assignments. If McCarthy follows through, it would mean that Cheney would lose both her House leadership role and her one remaining committee assignment on the Armed Services Committee in a matter of months, leaving her with only her position as vice chair of the Congressional Western Caucus.
McCarthy sent mixed messages on Wednesday, however. On the same day he said he would strip Republicans of committee assignments, McCarthy also announced that he was reappointing Cheney to the House’s China Task Force.
Cheney has not spoken with McCarthy since the news of her appointment to the Jan. 6 committee, Adler said.
Many Republicans in Congress have sought to move on after supporters of former President Trump stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 as Congress was attempting to certify the results of the presidential election. Cheney, however, has been steadfast in her belief that the events of that day should be investigated. She was also one of only 10 Republicans in the House to vote to impeach Trump on a charge he incited the riot.
That impeachment vote sparked a strong backlash from Trump’s backers in Wyoming, and Cheney now faces a tough election challenge. Some of her opponents used her appointment Thursday to renew their criticisms of her.
It’s unclear when the Jan. 6 committee will start its work.
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