OnPolitics: Liz Cheney calls Jan. 6 attack a 'conspiracy'

On Wednesday, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., vice chair of the House panel investigating the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection, leaves after voting to pursue contempt charges against Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department lawyer who aligned with former President Donald Trump as Trump tried to overturn his election defeat.

It's a big week, OnPolitics readers.

Days before the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the Capitol is scheduled to hold its first hearing, committee co-chair Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., called the attack a "conspiracy," and the effects afterward an "ongoing threat."

"It is extremely broad. It's extremely well-organized. It's really chilling," she said of the insurrection on "CBS Sunday Morning."

Cheney also said a "personality cult" of Trump loyalists has arisen from members of the Republican party willing to shield and defend former President Donald Trump from his alleged efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. She named House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif, as an example.

"It is contrary to everything conservatives believe – to embrace a personality cult. And yet, that is what so many in my party are doing today," Cheney said.

Thursday will mark the first of eight hearings on the Capitol attack.

It's Amy and Chelsey with today's top stories out of Washington.

Vice president's role in counting Electoral College votes to be updated

Among the many issues raised during the Jan. 6 committee hearings will be the 1887 Electoral Count Act, which will shine light on strategies employed by Trump and his allies to pressure former Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the election results.

Pence was allegedly asked to reject certain state electors. If neither Trump nor President Joe Biden had enough Electoral College votes, then the House would decide the outcome under the 12th Amendment, possibly giving Trump the win.

Pence refused the request, but Congress will take the opportunity to update the Act later this year to prevent future vice presidents from wielding such power.

There is a consensus to define the vice president's role as strictly ceremonial in overseeing the counting of Electoral College votes, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, told USA TODAY.

Collins also said the consensus is to increase the threshold for objecting to a state's electors to 20% of each House chamber instead of one member in the House and Senate.

“Legal experts are telling us it’s imperative. We’ve just got to clarify this law,” Collins said. “It is very ambiguous. It is contradictory. It’s written in this obscure language. It’s not consistent with the Constitution. We need to get it done this year.”

Want this news roundup in your inbox every night? Sign up for the OnPolitics newsletter here.

Real Quick: stories you'll want to read

  • SCOTUS denies case from gun-wielding St. Louis couple: The Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from a St. Louis couple, Mark and Patricia McCloskey, who could face indefinite suspension of their law licenses after they waved guns at a racial justice protest outside their home in 2020.

  • Peter Navarro, ex-Trump aide, indicted: The Justice Department announced Friday the indictment of Peter Navarro, a trade adviser to former President Donald Trump, for two counts of contempt of Congress after he defied a subpoena issued by the House committee investigating the Capitol attack Jan. 6, 2021.

  • Dr. Oz wins PA GOP Senate primary: Doctor and television host Mehmet Oz claimed the Republican nomination for a U.S. Senate seat on Friday after Pennsylvania Republican primary opponent David McCormick conceded that he cannot win a recount.

  • Mexico to skip Americas summit: Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced Monday that he is skipping this week's Ninth Summit of the Americas, a blow to President Joe Biden as he tries to unite the region to address migration.

Take notes, Congress. These states changed their gun laws after a mass shooting.

As the country grapples with yet another shooting that left four dead in at a medical center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, eyes are on Congress to see how representatives will respond to calls for changing the country’s gun laws.

But in the more than two decades since the Columbine High School shooting, most gun reforms have taken place at the state level. Here are just two out of the five states that passed significant gun legislation after a deadly attack. To learn about the rest, read the full story here:

Connecticut: The deadliest school shooting in the country’s history left 26 dead, including 20 children, after a gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. The Connecticut General Assembly established a Gun Violence and Children’s Safety Task Force responsible for holding public hearings and delivering proposals for gun control and school safety.

In the months following the shooting, lawmakers drafted a 139-page bill, which:

  • Added more than 100 firearms to the state's list of banned assault weapons.

  • Banned the sale or purchase of ammunition magazines with capacities of more than 10 rounds.

  • Required background checks for all gun sales.

Four months after the deadly shooting, Connecticut lawmakers passed its comprehensive gun control legislation, with Malloy signing it into law just hours after it won approval from the General Assembly.

Florida: Seventeen people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018 after a gunman opened fire on the school with an AR-15-styled rifle. A gun reform movement was launched in the aftermath of the school shooting in Parkland – which took place almost two years after a mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub that killed 49 people.

During the aftermath of the shooting, Florida lawmakers worked on bipartisan legislation with proposals including:

  • Creating a program to arm some school officials.

  • Requiring a three-day waiting period for the majority of long gun purchases.

  • Raising the minimum age to purchase those weapons to 21.

  • Banning the possession and sale of bump stocks.

After weeks of debate, Florida's GOP-controlled legislature approved the bill in a bipartisan vote – despite opposition from the National Rifle Association – and then-Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, signed the legislation into law.

Along with the increased age minimum and imposing a three-day wait period, the legislation also created a “red flag” law, which allows authorities to confiscate or temporality bar the purchase of firearms from individuals who are deemed dangerous.

Today marks the 78th anniversary of the historic D-Day operation, in which Allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy in Nazi-occupied France. Take a look at these historic images from that day. -- Amy and Chelsey

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Liz Cheney calls attack on Capitol a conspiracy, ongoing threat