The Jan. 6 Committee Won’t Be Intimidated by Liz Cheney.

I keep on my desk a copy of the oath my great-great-grand­fa­ther signed when he re-en­listed in the Union Army in 1863. Like the oath given by all those who serve in gov­ernment and every mem­ber of our armed forces, Samuel Fletcher Ch­eney swore to “sup­port and de­fend the Con­sti­tu­tion of the United States against all en­e­mies for­eign and do­mes­tic.” Gener­ations of Amer­i­cans have sworn that same oath and given their lives to de­fend the Con­sti­tu­tion and our na­tion.

Last week, for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence spoke about the events of Jan. 6, 2021. Pres­i­dent Trump was “wrong,” he said, to in­sist that Mr. Pence or any vice pres­ident could “over­turn” the elec­tion by re­fus­ing to count cer­ti­fied slates of elec­toral votes. That no­tion was, as Mr. Pence said, “un-Amer­i­can.” What Mr. Trump had in­sisted that Mr. Pence do on Jan. 6 was not only un-Amer­i­can, it was un­con­sti­tu­tional and il­le­gal.

Ar­ti­cle II and the 12th Amend­ment gov­ern how the na­tion se­lects the pres­i­dent. Con­gress doesn’t se­lect the pres­i­dent; the states do. Every state in the union now se­lects a pres­i­den­tial can­di­date through a pop­u­lar vote. And every state iden­ti­fies the man­ner in which dis­putes re­gard­ing the elec­tion are ad­dressed un­der state law. Those laws set forth a process for chal­leng­ing an elec­tion when con­cerns arise, in­clud-ing po­ten­tial re­counts or au­dits and an op­por­tu­nity to lit­i­gate dis­puted is­sues in court. When courts have re­solved any elec­tion chal-lenges, and the elec­tion re­sult has been cer­ti­fied by the gov­er­nor of a state, the elec­tion is over. That is the rule of law.

The 12th Amend­ment also leaves lit­tle doubt that Con-gress must count the cer­ti­fied elec­toral votes it re­ceives from the states: “The pres­i­dent of the Sen­ate shall, in the presence of the Sen­ate and House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, open all the cer­tifi­cates and the votes shall then be counted. The per­son hav­ing the great­est num­ber of votes for pres­i­dent, shall be the pres­i­dent.” This pro­vi­sion doesn’t say, for ex­ample, Con­gress must count cer­ti­fied elec­toral votes un­less it has con­cerns about fraud al­le­ga­tions, or un­less it dis­agrees with the out­come of state or fed­eral court lit­i­ga­tion. And the vice pres­i­dent, as pres­i­dent of the Sen­ate pre­sid­ing over the count, can’t sim­ply refuse to count a state’s cer­ti­fied slate of elec­toral votes—ei­ther un­der the Con­sti­tu­tion or un­der the Elec­toral Count Act of 1887.

Repub­li­cans used to ad­vo­cate fi­delity to the rule of law and the plain text of the Con­sti­tu­tion. In 2020, Mr. Trump con­vinced many to aban­don those prin­ci­ples. He falsely claimed that the elec­tion was stolen from him be­cause of wide­spread fraud. While some de­gree of fraud oc­curs in every elec­tion, there was no ev­i­dence of fraud on a scale that could have changed this one. As the Se­lect Com­mit­tee will demon­strate in hear­ings later this year, no for­eign power cor­rupted Amer­ica’s vot­ing ma­chines, and no mas­sive se­cret fraud changed the elec­tion out­come.

Al­most all mem­bers of Con­gress know this—al­though many lack the courage to say it out loud. Mr. Trump knew it too, from his own cam­paign of­fi­cials, from his own ap­pointees at the Jus­tice De­part­ment, and from the dozens of law­suits he lost. Yet, Mr. Trump ig­nored the rul­ings of the courts and launched a massive cam­paign to mis­lead the pub­lic. Our hearings will show that these false­hoods pro­voked the vi­o­lence on Jan. 6. Mr. Trump’s lawyers have be­gun to pay the price for spread­ing these lies. For ex­am­ple, Rudy Giu­liani’s li­cense to prac­tice law has been sus­pended be­cause he “commu­ni­cated demon­stra­bly false and mis­lead­ing statements to courts, law­mak­ers and the pub­lic at large in his ca­pacity as lawyer for for­mer Pres­i­dent Don­ald J. Trump,” in the words of a New York ap­pel­late court.

The Jan. 6 in­ves­ti­ga­tion isn’t only about the in­ex­cus-able vi­o­lence of that day: It is also about fi­delity to the Con­sti­tu­tion and the rule of law, and whether elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives be­lieve in those things or not. One mem­ber of the House Freedom Cau­cus warned the White House in the days be­fore Jan. 6 that the pres­ident’s plans would drive “a stake in the heart of the fed­eral re­pub­lic.” That was ex­actly right.

Those who do not wish the truth of Jan. 6 to come out have pre­dictably re­sorted to at­tack­ing the process—claim­ing it is tainted and po­lit­i­cal. Our hear­ings will show this charge to be wrong. We are fo­cused on facts, not rhetoric, and we will present those facts with­out ex­ag­ger­a-tion, no mat­ter what crit­i­cism we face. My friend the late Charles Krautham­mer once said: “The les­son of our his­tory is that the task of merely main­tain­ing strong and sturdy the struc­tures of a con­sti­tu­tional or­der is un­ending, the con­tin­u­ing and cease­less work of every gen­er­a­tion.” Every gen­er­a­tion of Amer­i­cans has ful­filled its duty to sup­port and de­fend the Con­sti­tu­tion. That re­sponsi­bil­ity now falls to us.

Ms. Ch­eney, a Wyoming Re­pub­li­can, is a U.S. rep­re­sen-ta­tive and vice chair of the House Se­lect Com­mit­tee on the Jan­uary 6 At­tack. Wall Street Journal. February 11, 2022


February 11, 2022

Voices4America Post Script. Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY) in her WSJ op-ed today, “What Mr. Trump had in­sisted that Mr. Pence do on Jan. 6 was not only un-Amer­i­can, it was un­con­sti­tu­tional and il­le­gal.” She got that right!

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