In their final phone conversation before rivalries emerged, Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney called political ally-turned-primary challenger Harriet Hageman to weigh the consequences of demanding that President Donald Trump concede the election.
In Cheney’s recounting of the call in The New York Times on Wednesday, the incumbent congresswoman, who had just captured her third term at the time of the call, told Hageman it was unconstitutional to cast objections over the electoral votes of other states.
“And she said that she warned of setting a precedent that would allow Democrats in Congress to decide the legality of Wyoming’s electoral votes,” the Times reported.
Except the precedent had already been set by Cheney’s own allies on the Jan. 6 Committee.
In 2017, Democrats objected to more states attempting to certify their electoral votes than Republicans did last year. Democrat Reps. Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, Pramila Jayapal of Washington, Raul Grijalva of Arizona, Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, Barbara Lee and Maxine Waters of California, and Jamie Raskin of Maryland, who was an impeachment manager and now serves alongside Cheney on the House probe to criminalize such conduct, each objected to Trump’s 2016 victory, citing Russian interference and alleged voter suppression.
Democrats then embarked on a four-year campaign to achieve the top item on their policy agenda of impeachment with made-up narratives of Trump-Russian collusion, allegedly illegal Ukrainian interference, and “incitement of insurrection” as the finale with Cheney’s support.
“I will fight every day until he is impeached,” Waters cried out in Washington three months after Trump’s inauguration, which she boycotted in protest.
Democrats also objected to electoral certification in 2005 and 2001 following George W. Bush’s two victories.
Cheney told the Times she was bewildered to find that Hageman didn’t share the view that Republicans were unable to raise the same concerns over election integrity that Democrats did in the last three out of five contests.
“I was surprised that she seemed not to be exactly where I was on the issue,” Cheney told the paper as she mingled with reporters instead of “crazy” constituents. “I thought she would have been.”
Hageman told the paper she made clear to Cheney that Republicans were able to invoke the same procedural rules as Democrats over the prior two decades.
“I just said, ‘I think that there were some legitimate questions, and we have every right to ask them,’” Hageman told the Times. “This is America. We get to ask questions.”
The two are now competing for the state’s sole seat in the lower chamber, while Cheney, the incumbent at-large lawmaker, escalates her attacks on Trump and his supporters in her state, which Trump won by a wider margin than anywhere else in the country a year and a half ago.
Hageman, a land-use attorney and former longtime political confidante of Cheney’s, launched her own campaign for the House with Trump’s endorsement late last summer.
“When she ran for Congress the first time, she asked me to introduce her at the Republican state convention,” Hageman told supporters at a campaign kickoff in Cheyenne. “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.”
Hageman told The Federalist immediately after the speech that it was Cheney’s crusade to punish Republican voters for raising questions over the election’s outcome, which featured historic turnout in the form of mail-in ballots, that ultimately severed their relationship.
“She called me and said that there were no election irregularities, that President Biden was the legitimate president, that Donald Trump needed to concede. And I said that I believed that there were issues that needed to be looked at,” Hageman told The Federalist in September. “That was probably the end of our relationship. I haven’t spoken with her since then.”