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Republicans purge Cheney over Trump criticism

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U.S. Republicans on Wednesday voted to oust Representative Liz Cheney from her leadership role in the party, punishing her for calling out Donald Trump's false claims about the 2020 election.

Emerging from the morning vote, Cheney was unbowed.

"I am absolutely committed as I said last night, as I said just now to my colleagues, that we must go forward based on truth. We cannot both embrace the Big Lie and embrace the constitution."

Cheney was until Wednesday the third-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives.

She has refused to parrot what’s become known as “the Big Lie,” the baseless claim that election victory was stolen from Trump through fraud.

That allegation was dismissed by Trump’s own Justice Department and by courts across the nation.

But the president kept repeating it, including on January 6 when mobs of his supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol.

Cheney voted along with nine other Republicans to impeach Trump for inciting the deadly insurrection.

But much of her party remains unwaveringly loyal to the former president, despite his falsehoods.

House minority leader Kevin McCarthy, who in the wake of the riot held Trump responsible, has since changed his tune, and backed the effort to punish Cheney.

Her critics inside the party say removing her from leadership will restore party unity ahead of the 2022 midterm election.

Cheney's supporters say moving to purge a truth-teller and one of the only women in a senior position damages the party's prospects.

Cheney, the daughter of former vice president Dick Cheney, boasts sterling conservative credentials, but those couldn't save her when she called out the false claims of election fraud.

She vowed to stick to her principles, even if those ran afoul of her party.

"We've got to get back to a position where we are a party that can fight for conservative principles, that can fight for substance. We cannot be dragged backward by the very dangerous lies of a former president."