OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
The Democrat-led January 6 public hearings have already faced a slew of issues. The committee’s chairman announced that they have decided not to make a criminal referral to the Department of Justice for former President Donald Trump.
The committee’s probe is nearing its end before Republicans take control of the U.S. House in January. Now, some after venting frustration with outgoing Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, who has drawn anger from staffers working for the House Committee for her insistence on going after Trump.
According to the Washington Post, at least 15 current and former staffers for the committee have said they believe the Wyoming Republican is working behind the scenes to ensure that the final report focuses primarily on former President Donald Trump at the expense of other important information.
“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.”
Jeremy Adler, a spokesman for Cheney, said the lawmaker, who was beaten in an August primary by now Rep.-elect Harriet Hageman, said his boss 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.
“Donald Trump is the first president in American history to attempt to overturn an election and prevent the peaceful transfer of power,” Adler 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.”
“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.”
The chairman of the committee, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), was previously asked by a reporter if the committee would be sending criminal referrals for the former president or others, and he responded by saying the committee does not have that authority.
“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.”
Earlier this month, Hageman received nearly 70 percent of the vote in deep-red Wyoming. As for Cheney, she is reportedly considering a return to politics with a 2024 presidential bid.
While speaking at The Texas Tribune Festival in September, the outgoing lawmaker threatened to leave the Republican Party if Donald Trump is the 2024 nominee.
“I’m going to make sure Donald Trump, I’m going to do everything I can to make sure he is not the nominee. And if he is the nominee, I won’t be a Republican,” she said.
She also gave an interesting answer when asked if she would run for president in 2024.
“It’s not about me or making a decision about what I’m going to do,” she said. “I certainly will do whatever it takes to make sure Donald Trump isn’t anywhere close to the Oval Office.”