Can Republican Rep. Liz Cheney save America ... from Republicans?

Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming
Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming

History will either thank her or wonder why so few within her own party listened to her.

Or both.

For now, however, Republican Rep. Liz Cheney finds herself in an awful place. A lonely place.

She is a pariah within the Republican Party for doing something she grew up believing the Republican Party stood for: Protecting the Constitution.

She believes it is the responsibility of everyone in Congress – and of all Americans – to thoroughly investigate and understand what happened when the U.S. Capitol was attacked on Jan. 6, 2021.

To understand what led to it and what followed it. To get the story behind Vice President Mike Pence being pressured to overturn the elections. To find out how much communication, and by whom, occurred between White House officials, up to and including President Trump, with those planning the demonstrations and then trying to negate the votes of millions of Americans and, in essence, stage a coup.

To find out which politicians lent support, tacit or otherwise, to extremists, militia groups or activists like those in the Stop the Steal movement.

GOP fails the 'moral test' of which Cheney speaks

The Republicans Cheney grew up admiring would have wanted to know these things.

But not the Republicans of 2022.

Over the weekend Cheney said, “This moment is a moral test for the Republican Party because of the mortal threat we face – and right now, there are too many in my party who are failing it.”

Cheney is a member of the select committee in the House investigating the events surrounding Jan. 6.

Public hearings start on Thursday and, according to a release from the committee, it will “present previously unseen material documenting January 6th, receive witness testimony, preview additional hearings, and provide the American people a summary of its findings about the coordinated, multi-step effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election and prevent the transfer of power.”

The hearings, to be held over several days, will be broadcast in primetime – by some networks at least. Fox News won’t broadcast the hearings, instead relegating it to the tiny audience of its Fox Business Network.

It's like asking jurors to ignore evidence

The other Republican on the Jan. 6 committee, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, said Fox is doing so to avoid the truth.

He added, “If you work for Fox News and want to maintain your credibility as a journalist, now is a good time to speak out, or quit. Enough is enough.”

Remember the Republican-led investigations into the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012 that left four Americans dead?

There were eight investigations into that event. The final one, lasting two years and costing taxpayers $7 million, was aimed almost solely at Hillary Clinton, who was secretary of state when the attack occurred and who, at the time of the investigation, was running for president.

Did Clinton run and hide? Did she refuse to participate in public congressional hearings, as is being done by Republicans like Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs, who refuses to testify before the Jan. 6 committee?

No.

Clinton sat for sworn testimony, answering the committee’s mostly hostile questions. For eight hours. All of it broadcast on national TV.

Fox lapped it up, providing tons of network coverage.

Republicans today, however, are urging Americans NOT to watch the Jan. 6 hearings. Ask yourself why they would do such a thing. It’s like asking the jury in a criminal trial not to listen to testimony or consider the evidence before rendering a verdict.

We see how easily the system can unravel

It’s simple, really. Either the evidence presented at the Jan. 6 hearings will be convincing or it will not. But you can’t – or shouldn't – decide that until you hear and see what it is.

After roughly a year of work, Cheney believes there was a conspiracy behind the breach of the Capitol and the effort to block the certification of the 2020 presidential vote.

She said, “It is extremely broad. It’s extremely well-organized. It’s really chilling.”

Back in the 1970s, some partisan Republicans didn’t want Americans to pay attention to the Watergate scandal. The most zealous among them tried to divert attention from the hearings into President Richard Nixon’s criminal behavior.

Others, however, including Arizona Republican icon Sen. Barry Goldwater, put country over party.

That’s what Cheney is doing.

As she said in an interview with CBS Sunday Morning, “People must pay attention. People must watch, and they must understand how easily our democratic system can unravel if we don’t defend it.”

Reach Montini at ed.montini@arizonarepublic.com.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Can Republican Rep. Liz Cheney save America from Republicans?