Cheney elevated as vice chair of Jan. 6 committee
Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming will now have a higher profile on the special committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) on Thursday elevated her as vice chairman of the select committee, a move designed to blunt criticism from former President Trump and his GOP loyalists on Capitol Hill that the panel’s probe is a purely partisan exercise.
“Representative Cheney has demonstrated again and again her commitment to getting answers about January 6th, ensuring accountability, and doing whatever it takes to protect democracy for the American people,” Thompson said in a statement. “Her leadership and insights have shaped the early work of the Select Committee and this appointment underscores the bipartisan nature of this effort.”
Cheney is one of just two Republicans whom Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) tapped to serve on the special committee, alongside Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.). They were the only Republicans who joined Democrats in voting to create the Jan. 6 panel. They also were among the 10 Republicans who voted in January to impeach Trump for his sustained efforts to overturn the 2020 election and his role in inciting the deadly riot at the Capitol as Congress certified Joe Biden’s victory.
“Every member of this committee is dedicated to conducting a non-partisan, professional, and thorough investigation of all the relevant facts regarding January 6th and the threat to our Constitution we faced that day. I have accepted the position of Vice Chair of the committee to assure that we achieve that goal,” Cheney said in a statement on Thursday.
“We owe it to the American people to investigate everything that led up to, and transpired on, January 6th. We will not be deterred by threats or attempted obstruction and we will not rest until our task is complete.”
The Democratic-controlled panel was formed by Pelosi after Senate Republicans rejected a bill that would have created an independent, bipartisan 9/11-style commission to probe the assault on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.
But Republicans are furious with Cheney for her participation on the new special panel. Trump has vowed to endorse a primary challenger to Cheney in her race for reelection in Wyoming, and his allies on the Hill are pressing House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to oust her from the House Republican Conference. Cheney had led the conference before she was booted from the leadership post for continuing to speak out against Trump’s election lies.
Cheney’s elevation to the No. 2 spot comes as the Jan. 6 panel aggressively begins to seek and gather evidence for its investigation. The committee has asked the White House and executive branch agencies for a plethora of records related to people in Trump’s orbit, including immediate family members, associates and top aides.
The panel has also requested telecommunications and social media companies to hand over records for many of these same people, as well as for certain Trump allies in Congress who were involved with the “Stop the Steal” rally near the White House before the violent insurrection that left five people dead and scores of police officers injured.
“It’s important to everyone that the Select Committee’s leadership reflect the bipartisan effort we are engaged in and I’m pleased that Ms. Cheney has agreed to serve as the select committee’s Vice Chair,” Thompson said in Thursday’s statement.
“We are fortunate to have a partner of such strength and courage, and I look forward to continuing our work together as we uncover the facts, tell the American people the full story of January 6th, and ensure that nothing like that day ever happens again.”
Updated at 8:59 a.m.