Former President Donald Trump is blasting a reported move by Rep. Liz Cheney to focus the final report by the House Jan. 6 committee exclusively on him instead of security officials’ failure to prepare for the attack on the Capitol.
Mr. Trump, who has disparaged the Jan. 6 investigation as a “witch hunt” meant to target Republicans and bar him from running for president again in 2024, said Ms. Cheney, Wyoming Republican and vice chair of the panel, came to the committee with an anti-Trump agenda.
“Those that know Chaney [sic] are not surprised because she is a complete PSYCHO, has no regard for the truth as to what really happened, and is angry that the people of the Great State of Wyoming put her out to pasture in a record setting defeat,” Mr. Trump posted on his social media platform Truth Social. “She blames me for this, but she only has herself to blame. Pelosi loved watching ‘Liz’ go BONKERS!”
The committee is preparing to issue its final report before it disbands at the end of this year, when Republicans will take control as the House majority.
Current and former staff members on the panel have reportedly grown frustrated by Ms. Cheney’s attempts to shape the committee’s report to focus exclusively on Mr. Trump‘s role while ignoring other key details behind the Capitol riot — a self-serving move they say is meant to boost the ousted lawmaker’s future political career. She has not ruled out a bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.
“We all came from prestigious jobs, dropping what we were doing because we were told this would be an important fact-finding investigation that would inform the public,” one former committee staffer told The Washington Post. “But when [the committee] became a Cheney 2024 campaign, many of us became discouraged.”
Former Trump White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said on Twitter that a Cheney presidential bid in 2024 “was what a lot of this was about from the very beginning.”
Matt Duss, a former aide to independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, tweeted, “Unsurprising that Cheney, who played a leading role in stoking xenophobia during Obama’s presidency, would try to keep the Jan 6 report focused on Trump rather than the larger political context. But doing so would be another form of whitewash.”
The committee’s internal tensions contrast with the heaping praise Democrats have piled on Ms. Cheney, one of just two Republicans to serve on the nine-member panel, throughout the committee’s 18-month investigation.
Citing 15 current and former committee staff who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the Post reported that divisions within the committee boiled over earlier this month when they were told that the panel’s final report would exclude investigative work that did not focus on Mr. Trump.
Staffers were told that key details concerning the failure of law enforcement and the intelligence community’s failure to prepare for the attack on the Capitol, an analysis of the financial backing for the riot and an in-depth look at the militia groups involved, among other items, would be left out from the final report stuffed away in an appendix.
Some staffers said focusing the final report solely on Mr. Trump and ignoring other lessons gleaned from the attack went against the committee’s purpose.
Several staffers said Ms. Cheney has been far more outspoken than the committee chairman, Mississippi Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, in pushing for the panel’s series of public hearings and final report to focus almost exclusively on the former president.
Ms. Cheney’s spokesman, Jeremy Adler, defended the lawmaker’s push to hold Mr. Trump accountable in a blistering statement chiding staff members who he says have attempted to interject liberal bias into the final report.
“Donald Trump is the first president in American history to attempt to overturn an election and prevent the peaceful transfer of power,” Mr. Adler said. “So, damn right Liz is ‘prioritizing’ understanding what he did and how he did it and ensuring it never happens again.”
He said: “Some staff have submitted subpar material for the report that reflects long-held liberal biases about federal law enforcement, Republicans, and sociological issues outside the scope of the Select Committee’s work. She won’t sign onto any ‘narrative’ that suggests Republicans are inherently racist or smears men and women in law enforcement, or suggests every American who believes God has blessed America is a white supremacist.”
Committee spokesman Tim Mulvey said the pushback from a “handful of disgruntled staff” won’t derail the committee’s “historic, bipartisan fact-finding effort.”
“They’ve forgotten their duties as public servants and their cowardice is helping Donald Trump and others responsible for the violence of January 6th,” Mr. Mulvey said in a statement. “All nine committee members continue to review materials and make contributions to the draft report, which will address every key aspect of the committee’s investigation. Decisions about the contents of the report ultimately rest with the committee’s bipartisan membership, not the staff.”