If the House’s January 6 Committee wasn’t already the Liz Cheney show, it is now.
On Friday, the partisan probe drew its latest recruitment with former U.S. Attorney John F. Wood, a close friend of the Cheney family, to serve as the investigation’s top legal adviser.
“Mr. Wood has an impressive track record working inside and outside of government, and his expertise will enhance our efforts to investigate the events surrounding January 6th and understand what led to the attack against the U.S. Capitol that day,” wrote Democrat Committee Chair Bennie Thompson of Tennessee with Cheney in a joint statement. “Furthermore, his addition to the Committee staff underscores the nonpartisan nature of our work.”
It would if the nature of the committee was actually non-partisan. Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger and Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney are the only two Republicans who serve on the committee, a far cry from a truly bipartisan investigation. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appointed the pair of NeverTrumpers to sit on the panel after another slate of other Republicans sent by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California which included Ohio’s Jim Jordan and Indiana’s Jim Banks were kicked off.
Wood’s close affiliation with the vindictive NeverTrump caucus marks the probe’s escalation as a weaponized committee to go after the Democrats’ political enemies, i.e., former President Donald Trump and Trump’s supporters. A former official in the Bush administration, Wood worked under former Attorney General John Ashcroft in the Department of Justice, and was chief of staff for Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.
In 2016, Chertoff endorsed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for president, and has remained an ardent anti-Trumper ever since with an endorsement for President Joe Biden last fall claiming the GOP had been “hijacked.” While Wood worked for Chertoff, Cheney’s husband, Philip Perry, was general counsel at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Through her efforts to escalate a long-running feud with former President Trump and the Republican base, Cheney has championed the polarizing Jan. 6 Commission as a hallmark of her legacy in the lower chamber. She gave the commission’s opening remarks at its first show-trial hearing in June.
“Congress is obligated to conduct a full investigation of the most serious attack on our Capitol since 1814,” Cheney said when presented the gig by Pelosi. Forget about the 1954 raid by Puerto Rican nationalists who shot five congressmen, the 1983 Senate bombing by left-wing militants granted clemency by Democrats, the al-Qaeda terrorists who flew a plane into the Pentagon on 9/11, or the summer of rage last year that perpetuated political violence in the nation’s capital in routine fashion.
In May, the House Republican Conference stripped the third-term representative of her number three role in leadership as she continued to antagonize Republican voters by waging an inner-party civil war that now threatens to kick Cheney out of Congress altogether.
“Liz Cheney betrayed Wyoming. She betrayed all of us, including me,” said former Cheney-ally turned Trump-endorsed primary challenger Harriet Hageman before a crowd of supporters in the state capital of Cheyenne when declaring her candidacy this month. “When she ran for Congress the first time, she asked me to introduce her at the Republican state convention. Had I known what she would do five years later, and side with Nancy Pelosi and the radical left, I would have never answered her first phone call.”
Cheney’s animosity towards Trump in the state that voted for the president in the widest margin of any in the nation last fall was a key theme in Hageman’s kick-off speech, who spoke to a crowd whose disillusionment from their incumbent representative was cast by Cheney’s futile crusade to corral Republican support for Trump’s January impeachment.
“Liz Cheney’s agenda is simple, and right now it is to destroy President Trump,” Hageman said.
Cheney, who was a lead propagandist for the fake Russian bounties news story last summer, ultimately ended up one of 10 Republicans in the House to vote for Trump’s impeachment. Several lawmakers had already announced their intent to vote in favor of Trump’s guilt, raising questions about Cheney’s real influence. This commission is the congresswoman’s vehicle to keep digging at the former president and his supporters, further exposed by its membership.