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Jan 6 committee staff angry at Liz Cheney for ‘focusing too much on Trump’, report says

The Independent logo The Independent 11/24/2022 Shweta Sharma
Capitol Riot Investigation © AP Capitol Riot Investigation

Staff members at the House select committee investigating the January 6 riots at the US Capitol are reportedly angry at Liz Cheney for her push to focus on former president Donald Trump in the final report.

Ms Cheney, the Republican vice-chair of the panel, has left staffers rankled in the panel by exerting high levels of control of the investigation and the final report, members of the panel told The Washington Post.

Several staffers believe that the outgoing Wyoming representative is morphing the committee into a vehicle for her own political future, it reported.

“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,” one former committee staffer told The Post. “But when [the committee] became a Cheney 2024 campaign, many of us became discouraged.”

Reacting to the report, Mr Trump lashed out at Ms Cheney, calling her a “psycho”.

“This is the headline in The Washington Post, and those that know Chaney [sic] are not surprised because she is a complete PSYCHO, has no regard for the truth as to what really happened, and is angry that the people of the Great State of Wyoming put her out to pasture in a record setting defeat,” Mr Trump wrote on Truth Social, referring to Ms Cheney’s loss in her state’s Republican primary earlier this year.

“She blames me for this, but she only has herself to blame,” he added.

A spokesperson for Ms Cheney hit back at the report, saying her decision to home in on the former president was justified as he is the “first president in American history to attempt to overturn an election and prevent the peaceful transfer of power”.

“So, damn right Liz is ‘prioritizing’ understanding what he did and how he did it and ensuring it never happens again,” Jeremy Adler, her spokesperson said.

It comes as the panel is set to conclude its long-running investigation of unprecedented riots at the US Capitol by Mr Trump’s supporters.

At least 15 former and current staffers who spoke on condition of anonymity discussed internal deliberations and raised concerns that important aspects of the investigation will not become available to people because of too much focus on Mr Trump.

Members said that she has taken too much responsibility, even more than representative Bennie Thompson, who is chairing the committee. Multiple staffers allegedly said that she wanted the report to focus on Mr Trump and pushed for the hearings “focus extensively on his conduct”.

“Trump lit the fuse on all of this, but he is kind of irrelevant now — it doesn’t matter if he runs for president. … Of course we want to stop Trump in any way possible, but we’ll still be facing these organized militia types or lone-wolf attackers in five to 10 years,” said one committee staffer.

“I don’t think it’s good for the committee or democracy at large if this entire final report is the case against Trump.”

Ms Cheney and Mr Thompson have not reacted to the report.

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