In Pa., Liz Cheney tells students Jan. 6 panel’s findings will be of concern to ‘vast majority’ of Americans

Julian Routh
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (TNS)
Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on July 21, 2020. (Samuel Corum/Getty Images/TNS)

PITTSBURGH — In a virtual seminar with college students at Chatham University, U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, the Wyoming Republican who bucked her party to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection and combat former President Donald Trump’s claims of a stolen election, said she’s confident the findings of the House select committee will “be of concern to the vast majority of the American people.”

Cheney, vice chair of the committee investigating last year’s attack on the Capitol in wake of Trump’s loss to Joe Biden, said the committee will recommend legislative action to ensure something similar never happens again — and do it in a way that presents facts.

“We’re going to do our duty in a way that’s not partisan, in a way that presents the facts and in a way that makes legislative proposals,” Cheney said at the Thursday event. “That’s our obligation and responsibility, and I feel very confident that the facts that the committee has learned and will be laying out are facts that will be of concern to the vast majority of the American people.”

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Honored by Chatham’s Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics as its Elsie Hillman Chair in Women and Politics, Cheney was praised by organizers for standing up against her party and for her principles. Hillman, who died in 2015, was a philanthropist and political activist who was once described the “Grand Duchess of the Pennsylvania Republican Party.”

Cheney, in a question-and-answer session, remarked that she understood the consequences of accepting a spot on the select committee, but that she had no choice — there needed to be an investigation into what happened, she said.

She framed herself as a true Republican who stands up for the party’s core values, and hypothesized the reason she was ostracized was because she spoke openly that “any president who crosses the lines that Donald Trump crossed can never be anywhere near the Oval Office again.”

Leaders are obligated to defend the Constitution, even “when it leads to an outcome that is not what we would prefer politically,” Cheney insisted.

Inarguably, the political consequences continue to rain down on Cheney.

On Thursday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said his endorsement of Cheney’s primary opponent in Wyoming is a “very special case” — and that he won’t be wading into other primaries to oust incumbents of his own party, CNN reported.

And the names of more than 100 House Republicans appeared on an invitation — alongside McCarthy — to a D.C. fundraiser backing Cheney’s challenger, Harriet Hageman. That list, first reported by The Daily Caller, included Pennsylvania Republican Reps. Guy Reschenthaler, Mike Kelly, Fred Keller, Dan Meuser, Lloyd Smucker, John Joyce and Scott Perry.

In a statement to Politico responding to the fundraiser, a Cheney spokesperson said, “Liz would like to thank Kevin McCarthy for anointing one of her opponents as the D.C. insider/establishment candidate in the race.”

Asked by women and politics center Executive Director Dana Brown to describe the current state of U.S. democracy, Cheney said she is “very worried” about it — and that the only way democracy survives is if Americans elect leaders who can be trusted to defend American institutions and the constitution. Trump, meanwhile, continues to suggest the violence on Jan. 6 was justified, she said — “the kind of toxin that we have to reject.”

The GOP, too, “has a responsibility to reject it, and we need more Republicans to stand up and say so and fight for that,“ Cheney said.

“I think that you have a lot of elected Republicans today who — the vast majority of them absolutely know that what Donald Trump is saying is not true,” Cheney said. “They absolutely know that what he did was dangerous and was wrong, but they are afraid to stand up and speak the truth.”

When the Republican National Committee censured Cheney and Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger in February for participating in the House investigation, chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said they “crossed a line.”

“They chose to join Nancy Pelosi in a Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens who engaged in legitimate political discourse that had nothing to do with violence at the Capitol,” McDaniel said, according to the New York Times.

Cheney told NBC News’ “Meet the Press” last weekend that the House panel will reveal new information about Jan. 6 and make recommendations about legislation.