Liz Cheney secretly organised move to help stop Trump using military to overturn election, report claims

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Trump republicans (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
Trump republicans (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Embattled Wyoming Rep Liz Cheney secretly organized the open letter written by all living former defence secretaries arguing against the military getting involved in election disputes.

On 3 January, just three days before the Capitol riot, 10 former Pentagon leaders, including two who served in the Trump administration, signed an op-ed in The Washington Post.

“Efforts to involve the U.S. armed forces in resolving election disputes would take us into dangerous, unlawful and unconstitutional territory,” they wrote.

The No. 3 Republican in the House, Ms Cheney is on her way out as GOP conference chair as her colleagues have soured on her for her persistent criticism of former president Donald Trump and his false claims of fraud surrounding the 2020 election.

The New Yorker reported on Thursday that Ms Cheney “secretly orchestrated” the “unprecedented op-ed”. She “recruited” her father, Dick Cheney to the effort. Mr Cheney was George W Bush’s Vice President, George HW Bush’s defence secretary and chief of staff to Gerald Ford.

He also served in the position his daughter holds now as House Republican conference chair and Wyoming’s at-large representative in the lower chamber during the 1980s.

Ms Cheney not only brought her father on board but “personally asked others, including Trump’s first Defense Secretary, Jim Mattis, to participate,” according toThe New Yorker.

“She was the one who generated it because she was so worried about what Trump might do,” former national security advisor to Dick Cheney, Eric Edelman, told the magazine. “It speaks to the degree that she was concerned about the threat to our democracy that Trump represented.”

Her insistence that Mr Trump is a danger to democracy is what finally seems to have brought her down, as both her top colleagues in the leadership, Kevin McCarthy and Steve Scalise are now supporting New York Rep Elise Stefanik to replace Ms Cheney.

On Monday, Mr Trump sent out a statement, still pushing his false narrative.

He said: “The Fraudulent Presidential Election of 2020 will be, from this day forth, known as THE BIG LIE!”

Soon afterwards, Ms Cheney, who, unlike Mr Trump, has not been banned from Twitter for inciting a riot, wrote on the platform: “The 2020 presidential election was not stolen. Anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE, turning their back on the rule of law, and poisoning our democratic system.”

Instead of backing their conference chair, the GOP propped up their president who was rejected by the voters in November.

Mr Edelman toldThe New Yorker: “It’s all got to do with fealty to Trump and the Big Lie and the fact that Liz is a living reproach to all these cowards.”

Ms Cheney fought off a move to oust her in early February, winning an anonymous vote of no confidence among her caucus. But this time around, she seems to know she’s going to lose and is not calling members or trying to whip votes in her favour. As one anonymous Republican told the Associated Press: “She’s toast.”

On 3 January, Ms Cheney also sent around a 20-page memo written by herself and her husband, lawyer Phil Perry, to the House Republican Caucus.

The New Yorker reported that Ms Cheney “debunked Trump’s false claims about election fraud” in the memo and went on to warn her fellow members “that voting to overturn the election results, as Trump was insisting, would ‘set an exceptionally dangerous precedent’”.

As many as 147 Republicans in Congress ignored her plea and voted against the election results even after the Capitol had been ransacked by a pro-Trump mob on 6 January.

The open letter from the former Defence secretaries was signed by: Ashton Carter, Dick Cheney, William Cohen, Mark Esper, Robert Gates, Chuck Hagel, James Mattis, Leon Panetta, William Perry and Donald Rumsfeld.

“Our elections have occurred. Recounts and audits have been conducted. Appropriate challenges have been addressed by the courts. Governors have certified the results. And the electoral college has voted.

“The time for questioning the results has passed; the time for the formal counting of the electoral college votes, as prescribed in the Constitution and statute, has arrived,” they wrote days before a mob of Trump supporters halted that procedure.

The Independent has reached out to Ms Cheney for comment.

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