As the U.S. continues to grapple with the fallout of the rioting at the Capitol by Trump supporters in January, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) is now insisting that the purview of any investigative commission looking into the violence should be limited to the Capitol incident. In contrast, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has advocated for expanding the scope of any investigative commission to include incidents like the isolated instances of rioting that unfolded last year amid nationwide protests — most of which were peaceful — against police brutality.
Cheney commented as follows:
‘What happened on January 6 is unprecedented in our history, and I think that it’s very important that the commission be able to focus on that… I’m very concerned, as all my colleagues are, about the violence that we saw, the BLM, the antifa violence last summer. I think that’s a different set of issues, a different set of problems and a different set of solutions. And so I think it’s very important that the January 6 commission stays focused on what happened on January 6, and what led to that day.’
Cheney has made clear that she — unlike a significant number of her Republican colleagues — believes that Donald Trump bears responsibility for the Capitol violence. Thus, it seems safe to assume that she envisions an investigative commission looking into the Capitol riot as dealing with that issue. In the immediate aftermath of the violence, Cheney was one of ten House Republicans who voted in favor of impeaching Trump on a charge of incitement of insurrection. Discussing Trump’s incitement of the mob with his brazen lies about the integrity of the 2020 presidential election, she added at the time that there “has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.”
Cheney also stated on Monday that she believed the current leaders of the Republican Party to be individuals other than Trump. As she put it, she thinks that “right now, the Republican Party is headed by Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy in the House.” Heading into 2022, control of both chambers of Congress is at stake, and in a slew of states, incumbent Republican Senators who would be on the ballot in 2022 have announced their retirements, opening up potential pick-up opportunities for Democrats. The GOP infighting that Trump has cultivated and his unpopularity among the general public could damage Republican chances.
The Wyoming state Republican Party censured Cheney after her January vote to impeach Trump, but the move — a mere procedural rebuke — doesn’t amount to much in any systematically substantive sense. Over in the Senate, seven Republicans voted to convict Trump on the incitement charge, making a total of 17 Republicans in Congress who broke with the party line against the then-president.