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More than a dozen current and former staff members assisting the House Jan. 6 Committee in its investigation have spoken out against the panel’s vice-chair, outgoing Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming).
According to the Washington Post, at least 15 committee staffers have accused Cheney of working behind the scenes to make sure the committee’s final report hones in primarily on former President Donald Trump at the expense of other important information.
The Post quoted one former staffer who said that changes made to the report by Cheney were mostly done for political purposes. Meanwhile, other staffers said that her primary focus on Trump, who recently declared that he is running again in 2024 for the GOP presidential nomination, came at the cost of cutting other vital committee research regarding militia organizations, financing, and law enforcement.
“We all came from prestigious jobs, dropping what we were doing because we were told this would be an important fact-finding investigation that would inform the public,” a former staffer told the outlet. “But when [the committee] became a Cheney 2024 campaign, many of us became discouraged.”
However, the Post reported that Cheney’s office has pushed back on the allegations, saying that the information that she is cutting out was replete with “liberal bias.”
“Donald Trump is the first president in American history to attempt to overturn an election and prevent the peaceful transfer of power,” Jeremy Adler, a spokesman for Cheney, told WaPo in a statement. “So, damn right, Liz is ‘prioritizing’ understanding what he did and how he did it and ensuring it never happens again.”
He also said that she was merely attempting to protect the integrity of the panel’s work by eliminating “liberal bias” and narratives that otherwise tainted the investigative work done by the committee as well as a draft report.
“Some staff have submitted subpar material for the report that reflects long-held liberal biases about federal law enforcement, Republicans, and sociological issues outside the scope of the Select Committee’s work,” Adler continued. “She won’t sign onto any ‘narrative’ that suggests Republicans are inherently racist or smears men and women in law enforcement, or suggests every American who believes God has blessed America is a white supremacist.”
A spokesman for the committee, Tim Mulvaney, sided with Cheney. He said the committee’s “historic, bipartisan fact-finding effort speaks for itself, and that won’t be changed by a handful of disgruntled staff who are uninformed about many parts of the committee’s ongoing work.”
Earlier this year, Cheney appeared upset by the committee chairman’s decision not to try and pursue charges against Trump.
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) was asked by a reporter in May if the panel would be sending criminal referrals for the former president or others, responding by explaining that the committee does not have the authority to do that.
“No, you know, we’re going to tell the facts. If the Department of Justice looks at it and assumes that there’s something that needs further review, I’m sure they’ll do it,” he said.
He was asked again and explained, “No, that’s not our job. Our job is to look at the facts and circumstances around January 6, what caused it, and make recommendations after that.”
In response, Cheney tweeted: “The January 6th Select Committee has not issued a conclusion regarding potential criminal referrals. We will announce a decision on that at an appropriate time.”
She was quickly corrected, however.
A spokesperson for the committee told CNN: “The Select Committee has no authority to prosecute individuals, but is rather tasked with developing the facts surrounding the January 6th riot at the Capitol. Right now, the committee is focused on presenting our findings to the American people in our hearings and in our report. Our investigation is ongoing and we will continue to gather all relevant information as we present facts, offer recommendations and, if warranted, make criminal referrals.”
Trump declared his candidacy on Nov. 15.