Yesterday, I published an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal about the work of the committee and on the responsibility elected officials have to support and defend the Constitution.
The full op-ed can be read here and seen below:
The Wall Street Journal: “The Jan 6. Committee Won’t Be Intimidated”
We are focused on facts, not rhetoric, and will present them no matter what our critics say.
By Rep. Liz Cheney
February 10, 2022
I keep on my desk a copy of the oath my great-great-grandfather signed when he re-enlisted in the Union Army in 1863. Like the oath given by all those who serve in government and every member of our armed forces, Samuel Fletcher Cheney swore to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic.” Generations of Americans have sworn that same oath and given their lives to defend the Constitution and our nation.
Last week, former Vice President Mike Pence spoke about the events of Jan. 6, 2021. President Trump was “wrong,” he said, to insist that Mr. Pence or any vice president could “overturn” the election by refusing to count certified slates of electoral votes. That notion was, as Mr. Pence said, “un-American.” What Mr. Trump had insisted that Mr. Pence do on Jan. 6 was not only un-American, it was unconstitutional and illegal.
Article II and the 12th Amendment govern how the nation selects the president. Congress doesn’t select the president; the states do. Every state in the union now selects a presidential candidate through a popular vote. And every state identifies the manner in which disputes regarding the election are addressed under state law. Those laws set forth a process for challenging an election when concerns arise, including potential recounts or audits and an opportunity to litigate disputed issues in court. When courts have resolved any election challenges, and the election result has been certified by the governor of a state, the election is over. That is the rule of law.
The 12th Amendment also leaves little doubt that Congress must count the certified electoral votes it receives from the states: “The president of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted. The person having the greatest number of votes for president, shall be the president.” This provision doesn’t say, for example, Congress must count certified electoral votes unless it has concerns about fraud allegations, or unless it disagrees with the outcome of state or federal court litigation. And the vice president, as president of the Senate presiding over the count, can’t simply refuse to count a state’s certified slate of electoral votes—either under the Constitution or under the Electoral Count Act of 1887.
Republicans used to advocate fidelity to the rule of law and the plain text of the Constitution. In 2020, Mr. Trump convinced many to abandon those principles. He falsely claimed that the election was stolen from him because of widespread fraud. While some degree of fraud occurs in every election, there was no evidence of fraud on a scale that could have changed this one. As the Select Committee will demonstrate in hearings later this year, no foreign power corrupted America’s voting machines, and no massive secret fraud changed the election outcome.
Almost all members of Congress know this—although many lack the courage to say it out loud. Mr. Trump knew it too, from his own campaign officials, from his own appointees at the Justice Department, and from the dozens of lawsuits he lost. Yet, Mr. Trump ignored the rulings of the courts and launched a massive campaign to mislead the public. Our hearings will show that these falsehoods provoked the violence on Jan. 6. Mr. Trump’s lawyers have begun to pay the price for spreading these lies. For example Rudy Giuliani’s license to practice law has been suspended because he “communicated demonstrably false and misleading statements to courts, lawmakers and the public at large in his capacity as lawyer for former President Donald J. Trump, ” in the words of a New York appellate court.
The Jan. 6 investigation isn’t only about the inexcusable violence of that day: It is also about fidelity to the Constitution and the rule of law, and whether elected representatives believe in those things or not. One member of the House Freedom Caucus warned the White House in the days before Jan. 6 that the president’s plans would drive “a stake in the heart of the federal republic.” That was exactly right.
Those who do not wish the truth of Jan. 6 to come out have predictably resorted to attacking the process—claiming it is tainted and political. Our hearings will show this charge to be wrong. We are focused on facts, not rhetoric, and we will present those facts without exaggeration, no matter what criticism we face. My friend the late Charles Krauthammer once said: “The lesson of our history is that the task of merely maintaining strong and sturdy the structures of a constitutional order is unending, the continuing and ceaseless work of every generation.” Every generation of Americans has fulfilled its duty to support and defend the Constitution. That responsibility now falls to us.
Letter To EPA Urging Withdrawal Of Proposed Rule To Further Regulate Oil And Gas Industry:
Last week, I joined 19 of my House and Senate colleagues in sending a letter to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan urging him to withdraw a proposed rule seeking to further regulate the oil and gas industry.
The full letter can be read here and seen below:
JBS Settlement A Clear Admission They Intentionally Skewed The Market At The Expense Of Meat Producers & Consumers:
We heard news reports last week that JBS SA had reached a settlement agreement in response to allegations that they, according to Reuters, conspired to limit meat supply in the U.S. beef market to inflate prices and boost profit.
Independent ranchers, farmers, and meat producers consistently endure unfair and predatory practices at the hands large-scale meat packers. The latest settlement agreed to by JBS is a clear admission that they intentionally skewed the market to line their pockets even further at the expense of everyday producers and consumers. I will always defend the work of independent and family ranchers in Wyoming and across America, and taking steps to hold nefarious actors accountable when they go too far is an important part of that work.
Letter Demanding President Biden Take Action On Fentanyl:
I joined 116 of my House Republican colleagues in sending a letter to President Biden urging the Administration to take immediate action to stem the fentanyl scourge coming from China and across the southern border, and support making fentanyl related substances Schedule I classification permanent.
The opioid epidemic continues to cause families pain in Wyoming and across the country. I am proud to join my colleagues in urging the Biden Administration to make permanent the Schedule I classification of fentanyl and fentanyl related substances in order to protect our communities from the scourge of fentanyl coming from China and across our southern border. Too many have suffered because of this epidemic, and it is time to secure our border and do everything we can to stop these dangerous substances from impacting our communities.
The full letter can be read here and seen below:
Learning About Efforts To Increase Foreign Language Opportunities Across Wyoming:
We are blessed to have so many teachers who are dedicated to shaping our state’s future leaders.
I enjoyed meeting with Katherine Boehnke from the Wyoming Association of Language Teachers for an update on efforts to increase foreign language opportunities across the state.
Discussing What LCCC Is Doing To Meet Students’ Needs & Expand Opportunities:
Since 1968, Laramie County Community College has transformed the lives of students through the power of inspired learning.
I met with LCCC Trustee Brenda Lyttle for an update on the work they’re doing to meet students’ needs and expand career opportunities for graduates.
Hearing About Issues Facing USPS Letter Carriers:
This week, I visited with Rene Eberhardt from Casper and Cameron McFarlane from Worland to hear about issues facing USPS letter carriers.
I appreciated the opportunity to hear their concerns and discuss the importance of efforts to bring financial solvency to the agency.
Ensuring The Men & Women Of Law Enforcement Have The Resources Needed To Keep Our Communities Safe:
I had a productive meeting with Byron Oedekoven, the Executive Director of the Wyoming Association of Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police, to discuss efforts to ensure that the brave men and women in law enforcement have the resources necessary to keep our communities safe.
We Cannot Allow China To Get The Upper Hand; America Must Lead:
Last week, I voted against Democrats’ COMPETES Act that does little to address the threats posed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
The United States cannot sit idly by as China seeks to dictate the rules of the road globally. Today’s bill would do little to level the playing field and would further hinder our ability to compete with China. In recent years we have seen a more aggressive CCP and we owe it to our economic and national security to ensure that their aggression does not go unanswered.
From their threats against Hong Kong and Taiwan to their genocide of Uyghurs, it is clear that the CCP is dangerous and cannot be trusted. Unfortunately, instead of offering solutions to the real threats posed by the CCP, Democrats would rather enact their partisan agenda and give the Chinese the upper hand. America must lead.
Letter Urging USOPC Chair To Keep Team USA Athletes Safe In China:
The 2022 Winter Olympic Games are in the shadow of the Chinese Communist Party’s malign behavior and human rights atrocities.
The U.S. Olympic Committee has a responsibility to ensure that Team USA athletes are informed about the Ughyrus genocide and the threat to athlete security.
I recently joined 15 of my House Republican colleagues in a letter to Board Chair of the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) Susanne Lyons stressing the importance of ensuring U.S. Olympians are educated on how to stay safe, and the CCP’s gross human rights abuses.
The full letter can be read here and below:
Everything The Select Committee Has Learned Has Reaffirmed How Close Our Institutions Came To Not Holding:
I recently joined “Open Spaces” with Bob Beck on Wyoming Public Radio to provide an update on the work of the January 6th Select Committee and also give reaction to recent comments made by President Biden and Vice President Harris.
Listen to the full interview here and see relevant portions of the transcript below:
BOB BECK: Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney has certainly been in the news. Her work on the Jan. 6 commission, verbal sparring with national and Wyoming Republicans, and her concern about President Biden gets her in the headlines on a regular basis. She joins me now: I thought it might be a good idea for you to update some of the folks in Wyoming what sort of the latest information are you getting and kind of, where we are right now?
REP. LIZ CHENEY: Well, thanks so much, it’s always great to be on with you, Bob. I really appreciate it, And the committee is working in a whole range of ways, really, very much focused on what happened, obviously, that led to the attack on the Capitol. What happened in the run-up, in terms of the efforts that were underway to try to overturn the count, overturn the election. And it’s an area of concern and should be for every American, no matter whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat. Making sure that we have elected officials who will respect the peaceful transfer of power. And we’ve had tremendous cooperation from hundreds of witnesses. It’s been a situation where some of the bigger names, the people like Mark Meadows and Steve Bannon, we’ve had to move criminal contempt charges against. They get a lot of attention, but the many, many others who have produced information and documents and come in to talk to us, people from all levels, who worked in the White House, who worked in other agencies, some who worked on the Hill and who do now, who really understand how dangerous and how close we came to an even more dangerous situation. And so there’s been a lot of outreach from people coming in to talk to us. So, we’re learning a lot. And I will say that I haven’t learned anything that has reduced my concern. You know, we have many teams in the investigation working on different aspects of this, but it all has, I think, really just reaffirmed for me how close we came to our institutions not holding.
BECK: When you look, I mean, you come from a family that is certainly interested in history and has studied it. When you look at this and compare it to Watergate and some of the things we’ve seen in the past, where does this rank?
REP. CHENEY: Well, I think that this is something that we’ve never faced before as a nation. I think that drawing comparisons to Pearl Harbor where 3,000 Americans were killed, 9/11 where 3,000 Americans were killed, I don’t think that that is the right kind of a comparison, because this is different. But what we’re facing here is a situation where the President of the United States himself, provoked this violent mob to come to Washington and then sent them to march on the Capitol. And the President himself, to this day, continues to use the language he knows provoked that violence before. I think about President Bush, 43 and the speech that he made on the night of 9/11, from the Oval Office, and one of the things he said was, the terrorists can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they can’t shake the foundation of our democracy. And I think in this instance, we really have seen the foundation of our democracy shaken and I think that, but for the act of some brave individuals who stood against the president’s pressure, and but for the tremendous courage and heroism of the law enforcement officers who were attacked, and assaulted, and wounded, and fought, medieval, bloody combat that day, we would have had thousands more people inside the Capitol. A violent, violent mob inside the Capitol. So, it is really serious. And it’s a reminder, I think, for all of us, of how important our oaths to the Constitution are and what obligations we have, because we live in a republic, and that means you have to defend the institutions of our republic.
BECK: How do we get to the point where we are going to trust elections again?
REP. CHENEY: Yeah, it’s a very important point. And I think, and frankly, over the course of the last 10 days or so, President Biden and Vice President Harris and a number of Democrats publicly question the legitimacy of the upcoming election. I think we all need to be responsible for our words. I think it’s the obligation of a president to engender trust in the election process. And we all need to recognize there certainly are improvements that can be made. We’ve talked about these before. I believe in voter ID, for example. And I think we need to constantly work to improve our elections process. But there’s a big difference between saying that and saying you can’t trust the election process, that the election is not going to yield a legitimate outcome. And so, there have been changes that are being made in some states around the country, some of those changes, I think are of real concern. I think when you take the process of administering elections and try to put that completely into the hands of political officials, I think that’s concerning. Some states have said that their state legislatures are going to have the power to overturn or to choose different electors after an election has occurred. We are at a moment where we all need to take a very hard look at making sure the elections are safe and secure. And ensuring that we’re not putting in place changes that will take power away from the States. I think that’s of concern as well, and so I have not supported some of the proposals that the Democrats have put forward, because I think they give too much power to the federal government. And part of the security of our elections is that they aren’t run from one centralized place and certainly the Constitution doesn’t provide for that. But I also think, we’ve been talking in Congress on a bipartisan basis about reforms to the Electoral Count Act and what we need to do to make sure it’s clear what Congress’s role is and it’s clear what the Vice President’s role is, when we count electoral votes. And I think there are a number of things that we can agree on a bipartisan basis. Some of the other things we’ve talked about are raising the threshold, so if there is a legitimate objection – and I don’t believe actually Congress has a role in objecting – but right now you just need one house member and one senator. And so one proposal is that you would raise that threshold so you would need more people raising an objection before you would go to debate the objection. Again, I think the Constitution and the Electoral Count Act, I think it’s clear Congress has a ministerial role. But I think that we do need to make some changes after what happened on Jan. 6.
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Congresswoman Liz Cheney