In a letter dated September 2, House Freedom Caucus Chair Andy Biggs (R-AZ) has asked House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to remove Reps. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) from the Republican Conference for their participation in Nancy Pelosi’s Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Biggs has asked McCarthy to consider a change in the rules of the conference that would result in their removal from the party in the House.
The letter sent to Leader McCarthy from Biggs reads in part, “Congresswoman Cheney and Congressman Kinzinger are two spies for the Democrats that we currently invite to the meetings, despite our inability to trust them.”
The letter continued saying, “We cannot trust these Members to sit in our Republican Conference meetings while we plan our defense against the Democrats.”
Cheney and Kinzinger have become problems for the GOP almost immediately following the violent outburst at the Capitol on Jan. 6, where protesters gathered to challenge the 2020 presidential election results.
Both of the “Never Trump” Republicans voted to impeach Trump, and both are the only Republicans serving on Pelosi’s committee.
For Cheney, her efforts to assist Pelosi have paid off. On Thursday, she was named as Vice Chair of the Committee, a move that Democrats believe gives the committee a bipartisan veneer.
Committee Chair Benny Thompson (D-MS) had this to say about Cheney’s promotion: “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.”
Cheney took a victory lap after the announcement and said, “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.”
Within the last week, the committee has picked up steam. They have requested from at least 35 telecommunications companies the social media and phone records and other communications from sitting members of Congress, members of the Trump administration, and even Trump family members.
While House Democrats have appeared to reward Liz Cheney for her support of the Jan. 6 Committee, her fellow “Pelosi Republican,” as Kevin McCarthy has dubbed them, Adam Kinzinger may not fare as well.
Due to the 2020 census, Democrat Illinois lawmakers may make Kinzinger’s Chicago outer-suburban district disappear. His options in a very blue state are few; run against an incumbent in redrawn districts, or consider a run for Senate or Governor. Kinzinger says he has not ruled anything out.
In a tweet on Wednesday, Kinzinger doubled down in response to Bigg’s letter saying, “I think this is interesting. Just coming off a member declaring bloodshed will happen, many pushing Covid denialism and Jan 6 trutherism…. The GOP has a choice. I am even more committed to getting truth now.”
Whether or not Bigg’s request for Cheney’s and Kinzinger’s removal from the GOP conference will go anywhere remains to be seen.
McCarthy did not mete out any retribution after both accepted seats on the committee, so he may not be interested now. One senior GOP member anticipates any effort to punish Cheney and Kinzinger in any way will “fall flat.”
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