Cheney to get prime speaking slot at first Jan. 6 committee hearing
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) will give an opening statement at Tuesday’s first hearing by the select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection, underscoring how Democrats want to present the proceedings as bipartisan despite the boycott by House GOP leaders.
Cheney’s opening statement will follow one from the select committee’s chairman, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), according to a source familiar with the plan.
The select committee’s first hearing on Tuesday will feature testimony from four police officers who defended the Capitol on Jan. 6: Harry Dunn and Aquilino Gonell of the Capitol Police, as well as Michael Fanone and Daniel Hodges of the Capitol Police.
Video in the days after the Jan. 6 attack showed the mob dragging Fanone down a set of stairs on the Capitol’s West Front, while Hodges was seen in another screaming in pain as the rioters ripped off his mask and sprayed chemical irritants in his face as he was wedged in a doorway.
Cheney and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) will be the only Republicans serving on the panel after GOP leaders opted to boycott participation altogether due to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) refusing to seat two of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) picks.
Pelosi rejected McCarthy’s selection of Reps. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), both of whom are staunch Trump allies and have promoted former President Trump’s false claims of election fraud.
Banks vowed in a statement last week to investigate the role of the Biden administration in Jan. 6 while making no mention of Trump — even though Biden was not yet in office on that day. Banks also recently led a delegation of House Republicans to the southern border with Trump.
Cheney and Kinzinger were the only Republicans to vote in favor of creating the select committee last month.
Despite the lack of widespread support from Republicans, Democrats want to project a united front with the two GOP defectors to cast their effort as bipartisan.
Pelosi announced Cheney as one of her original eight appointees, and opted to add Kinzinger to the panel to fill one of the five vacant slots left by the GOP boycott.
“I’m a Republican dedicated to conservative values, but I swore an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution — and while this is not the position I expected to be in or sought out, when duty calls, I will always answer,” Kinzinger said in a statement on Sunday.
Cheney said last week that Tuesday’s hearing is “going to be an opportunity for the country to hear from some of the very brave people who defended the Capitol on that day, to hear their experiences directly, to put some facts on the table” by having people hear directly from police officers who were on duty at the Capitol on Jan. 6.