House Freedom Caucus calls for removal of Cheney, Kinzinger from Republican conference

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Members of the far-right House Freedom Caucus called Thursday for the expulsion of Reps. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., and Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., from the GOP conference for their participation in the House's Jan. 6 special committee.

“They are a cancer to our party and to our caucus, and they must be expelled from our conference,” Colorado Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert, a member of the caucus, said Thursday.

The group, which directly called on House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to act, also requested a new rule that would expel any member of the party for undertaking a committee assignment that party leadership does not support.

Both Cheney and Kinzinger joined the Jan. 6 special committee at the behest of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and against McCarthy’s wishes. Their presence reflects an effort to make the panel as bipartisan as possible, despite Republican leadership’s decision not to participate.

More: GOP Rep. Kinzinger says he's not afraid of backlash after joining Jan. 6 committee at Pelosi's request

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) arrive for the House Select Committee hearing investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol on July 27, 2021 at the Canon House Office Building in Washington, DC.
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) arrive for the House Select Committee hearing investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol on July 27, 2021 at the Canon House Office Building in Washington, DC.

Arizona Republican Rep. Andy Biggs, leader of the caucus, argued that Cheney and Kinzinger’s presence was a threat to Republican strategy, calling them “spies.”

“If you had two spies sitting right there — you knew they were spies, but you couldn’t remove them — right now, as long as they’re members of the Republican Conference, they’re entitled to come to every meeting we have, hear every strategy,” Biggs said. "And you know what, they chose to leave."

A spokesperson for Cheney said the caucus' remarks reflect a "battle underway for the soul of the Republican Party."

"These members represent a dangerous rot that is rooted in the Big Lie, conspiracy theories, bigotry, and disrespect for the rule of law and our law enforcement," the spokesperson said. "Liz knows we have to fight against that to save the party and Lincoln and Reagan."

Maura Gillespie, a spokesperson for Kinzinger, told USA TODAY that the Illinois Republican's participation on the committee is about "getting the truth and answers that the American people deserve."

"I’m not surprised by the pettiness of the Freedom Club, but it still saddens me to see Members of Congress play games like this and make such short-sighted demands," Gillespie said. "All the while, these are the same Members who push conspiracy theories to their constituents and outright lie for their own personal gain. By serving on this select committee, Congressman Kinzinger is serving his constituents by having a seat at the table to get the facts of what happened and ensure transparency."

The group also reiterated its call to call a vote to remove House Speaker Nancy Pelosi from her position.

“Her reign has got to go,” Rep. Ralph Norman, R-S.C., said Thursday.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: House Freedom Caucus wants Cheney, Kinzinger removed from conference

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