House conservatives plot to oust Liz Cheney

A group of conservative lawmakers are plotting to oust House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney

Elizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyGrowing number of GOP lawmakers say they support impeachment House passes measure calling on Pence to remove Trump Republican Fred Upton says he’ll vote to impeach Trump MORE (Wyo.) from her leadership role, citing issues with her announcement that she would vote to impeach President TrumpDonald TrumpGrowing number of GOP lawmakers say they support impeachment YouTube temporarily bars uploading of new content on Trump’s channel House passes measure calling on Pence to remove Trump MORE for inciting last week’s riot at the Capitol.

GOP lawmakers behind the effort, which are largely made up of members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, have begun circulating a petition led by Reps. Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.) and Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) on Wednesday to remove Cheney — who is the highest-ranking Republican woman in leadership — from her role. 

Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanBill Belichick turns down Medal of Freedom from Trump Trump gives Medal of Freedom to House ally Jim Jordan Trump plans to award Belichick the Presidential Medal of Freedom MORE (R-Ohio), a founding member of the Freedom Caucus and a top Trump ally, took aim at Cheney on Wednesday morning ahead of the vote, arguing her views don’t reflect the majority of the House GOP conference. 

“We ought to have a second vote,” Jordan told reporters, according to a Capitol Hill pool report. “The conference ought to vote on that.”

Rosendale accused Cheney of “weakening our conference at a key moment for personal political gain and is unfit to lead.”

Biggs told Fox News on Tuesday that “the reality is she’s not representing the conference; she’s not representing the Republican ideals.” 

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyTrump, House GOP relationship suddenly deteriorates Kinzinger says he’ll vote to impeach Trump McConnell has said he thinks Trump committed impeachable offenses: report MORE (R-Calif.) opted not to defend Cheney when asked multiple times to comment on the matter or whether he would back the effort to have her removed as the third in line in GOP leadership.

Cheney, whose position entails leading the conference’s messaging efforts, dismissed the notion that she would be ousted from her role. 

“I’m not going anywhere. This is a vote of conscience. It’s one where there are different views in our conference. But our nation is facing an unprecedented, since the civil war, constitutional crisis,” she said. “That’s what we need to be focused on. That’s where our efforts and attention need to be.”

Cheney was the second Republican lawmaker to announce her support of impeachment, asserting Tuesday that she feels the president failed to uphold his oath to the Constitution and misled his supporters with his claims the election was “stolen.” She condemned Trump for calling on his supporters to march to the Capitol.

“None of this would have happened without the President. The President could have immediately and forcefully intervened to stop the violence. He did not. There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution,” she said in a statement. 

While Cheney faces calls from a sizable number of conservatives to step down from her leadership position, some who don’t agree with her stance said they feel it would further divide the party when it needs unification most. 

“Many in our conference are frustrated because she lectured us all last week about what a terrible decision it would be to vote to reject [Electoral College results] what how dangerous it was for our constitution, that we already know the outcome. And here she is taking a vote, where we already know the outcome,” one GOP lawmaker said. 

“I think those kinds of purges when trying to get everyone in lockstep is not good for our party, we’re a diverse party and I hate to see it. I think it’s gonna be hard for her to stay on,” the lawmaker said. 

Another member said a conference discussion to smooth over tensions and discuss a path forward would be a step in the right direction. 

“I think it’s actually one of those [where] you have to have everyone in the room and have a conversation. The caucus conference we had before the electors was simply the best conversation ever been through because it was done at a pretty highbrow level,” the lawmaker said. 

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) was quick to come to Cheney’s defense, saying that the failure to have dissenting voices makes the party weaker. 

“That is her right to take a position on this issue as is my right and everybody else’s right. We should not be silencing voices of dissent,” she told reporters Wednesday.  

“That is one of the reasons we’re in this today is that we have allowed QAnon conspiracy theorists to lead us. QAnon conspiracy theorists led the objections last Wednesday, and we’ve heard from them last night on the floor of the House and it’s wrong. You should not be silencing dissent in this country ever,” Mace said.

One senior GOP official noted that some leaders of the push, including Biggs and Rep. Paul GosarPaul Anthony GosarDemocrats to levy fines on maskless lawmakers on House floor Gosar’s siblings push to have him removed from Congress after Capitol riot Sunday shows preview: Riots roil Washington as calls for Trump’s removal grow MORE (R-Ariz.), have come under fire in the wake of the siege on Jan. 6, which left five dead, including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick.

“We’re talking about Gosar and Biggs, who could be facing criminal charges for their role in what happened on [Wednesday],” the senior official told The Hill. “It makes sense they want attention on Liz instead of on themselves because their jobs are actually the ones in jeopardy.” 

Proponents of the ouster could face an uphill battle procedurally in ousting the Wyoming Republican. 

Under House GOP conference rules, to successfully remove her from her post a resolution would be referred to committee, which would have 10 days to consider the measure and would require 20 percent of the panel to support the move to refer it to the full conference. 

If they are successful in forcing suspension procedures, the chair would ask if there a sufficient second, which would require half the conference’s support and then a two-thirds majority vote. 

They could also force a special meeting if 20 members agree to sign on. 

The House Freedom Caucus has sought to remove members of leadership in the past, having played a key role in the ouster of former Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerEx-Speaker Boehner after Capitol violence: ‘The GOP must awaken’ Boehner congratulates President-elect Joe Biden COVID-19 relief bill: A promising first act for immigration reform MORE (R-Ohio.). 

Cheney, who has broken with Trump on key issues and has not been shy in condemning his rhetoric in the past, has had a tense relationship with the conservative group. 

Last summer, Cheney and top Freedom Caucus members engaged in a heated argument during a conference meeting over her decision to back Rep. Thomas MassieThomas Harold MassieGOP lawmaker on Capitol protesters: ‘I will not be deterred’ by ‘mob demand’ Questions and answers about the Electoral College challenges Five things to watch during Electoral College battle MORE’s (R-Ky.) primary challenger before later retracting her endorsement and campaign contributions after it emerged the candidate had posted controversial tweets. 

Tensions between conservatives and Cheney cooled in November after she vowed she wouldn’t donate to an incumbent’s primary rival going forward. 

But the impeachment vote reignited the feud. 

“She should not be serving this conference. That’s it. This is crap, right here. You can put that down,” Biggs said Tuesday. 

— Updated 4:18 p.m. 


Source: The Hills

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