Liz Cheney calls out Kevin McCarthy in Bannon contempt hearing

Liz Cheney calls out Kevin McCarthy in Bannon contempt hearing
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Rep. Liz Cheney on Wednesday called out her onetime House Republican leadership colleague Kevin McCarthy for “attempting to block” the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

The select committee voted unanimously on Tuesday evening to hold Steve Bannon, who was an adviser to former President Donald Trump, in criminal contempt of Congress after he refused to comply with their subpoena. The House Rules Committee took up that recommendation on Wednesday before it comes up for a full House vote on Thursday.

SCALISE CALLS BANNON CONTEMPT VOTE A ‘DISTRACTION’ FROM BIDEN CRISES

In remarks at the Rules Committee hearing, Cheney, a Wyoming congresswoman who earlier this year was booted from her position as House Republican Conference chairwoman, said the select committee recommended the contempt vote because Americans deserve to hear from Bannon under oath. Bannon's refusal “puts this institution’s authority at significant risk,” said Cheney, vice chairwoman of the Jan. 6 committee.

“Criminal contempt is the appropriate response in these circumstances,” Cheney said, adding, “witnesses cannot simply ignore congressional subpoenas when they prefer not to attend.”

Cheney then said she wanted to “address my Republican colleagues specifically.”

“I've heard from a number of my colleagues in the last several days who say they quote 'just don't want this target on their back,’” she said. "They're just trying to keep their heads down.”

Cheney then singled out McCarthy, the House minority leader. Cheney said her Republican colleagues “don't want to anger Kevin McCarthy, who has been especially active in attempting to block the investigation of events of Jan. 6, despite the fact that he clearly called for such a commission the week after the attack."

"I ask each one of you to step back from the brink,” she said. “I urge you to do what you know is right, to think of the long arc of history. We are told that it bends towards justice, but it does so only because of the actions of men and women in positions of public trust.”

Cheney was one of just 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump following the riot. She was later removed from her leadership position in the House Republican Conference after she became a vocal critic of Trump’s unfounded claims of election fraud.

At the hearing, Cheney added that “institutions of this republic do not defend themselves, and it requires people to defend them, and it particularly requires elected officials to defend them.”

Rep. Jim McGovern, chairman of the House Rules Committee, said the contempt vote was necessary due to Bannon’s “stonewalling.”

“Look, I don’t know if Steve Bannon has something to hide or if he is just trying to puff up the former president’s ego by defending his frivolous lawsuit against the select committee,” McGovern said.

McGovern added that holding Bannon in contempt shouldn’t be a matter of party identification or one’s opinion of Trump but “whether we are going to tolerate someone ignoring a lawfully issued congressional subpoena.”

“The answer should be a clear and resounding no,” McGovern said.

Rep. Bennie Thompson, chairman of the select committee, told the committee, “we’re not asking to talk to Steve Bannon on a whim,” citing comments Bannon made on his podcast the day before the riot that "all hell is going to break loose tomorrow."

Thompson added, “the American people deserve to hear from Mr. Bannon under oath.”

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The hearing also included testimony from Rep. Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican who was blocked from serving on the Jan. 6 select committee by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who objected to Jordan’s baseless claims of election fraud. Jordan said he spoke on the phone with Trump on Jan. 6.

Jordan called Cheney’s comments at the hearing “ridiculous,” arguing the Capitol rioters are under investigation by the FBI.

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Tags: News, Liz Cheney, Kevin McCarthy, Steve Bannon, Jim Jordan, January 6, Donald Trump

Original Author: Kate Scanlon

Original Location: Liz Cheney calls out Kevin McCarthy in Bannon contempt hearing

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