The Republican National Committee (RNC) voted on Feb. 4 to censure Representatives Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) for participating in the inquiry into the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Cheney and Kinzinger had been the most outspoken GOP lawmakers by that point, condemning the attack on the Capitol and criticizing Former President Donald J. Trump for his role in the day’s events. The GOP referred to the two lawmakers, stating they were participating in “persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse.”
RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said: “Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger crossed a line … They chose to join Nancy Pelosi in a Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens who engaged in legitimate political discourse that had nothing to do with violence at the Capitol.”
The January 6 committee was formed on July 1, 2021, to investigate the events of Jan. 6. Its membership was a point of significant political contention, as Cheney and Kinzinger were the only two House Republicans to serve on the committee, prior to the RNC censuring them for their participation.
Representative Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), also a member of the special House committee investigating the Capitol attack, countered Republican lawmakers' decision in rebuking Cheney and Kinzinger telling the NYT, “It is a scandal that historians will be aghast at, to think that a major political party would be denouncing Liz Cheney for standing up for the Constitution and not saying anything about Donald Trump’s involvement in the insurrection.”
Kinzinger already announced he will not seek re-election, as have some other House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for inciting the Capitol attack. Cheney, however, has vowed to stand for re-election.Democratic lawmakers are now ardently working to remove any member of Congress implicated in the January 6 riots at the Capitol, following reporting that witnesses recently informed congressional investigators of their coordination with lawmakers; they have cited those who participated or sent top staffers to Washington D.C. include GOP Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), Mo Brooks (R-Alaska), Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.), Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) and Louie Gohmert (R-Texas).
Cawthorn has developed a national following as one of the most far-right members of Congress, and his ability to run for reelection in the fall of 2022 is being challenged, in part because of his actions on the day of the attack on the U.S. Capitol over one year ago.A team of lawyers says Cawthorn violated Section 3 of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The amendment to the Constitution was passed following the Civil War in order to prevent Confederates from holding public office, and it states that no individual can hold office if he or she took an oath to support the Constitution and then “engaged in insurrection.”Ron Fein is the legal director for Free Speech for People, an organization that serves as co-lead counsel and is helping fund the challenge to Cawthorn's candidacy. Fein said: “It's not just that Cawthorn spoke at that pre-attack demonstration — one of only two members of Congress who spoke there — alongside other speakers who were demanding trial by combat and talking about sacrificing blood to fight for America … But we also have reliable reporting that Cawthorn and his team were communicating with the planners ahead of Jan. 6 and helped to plan some of these events.”
Cawthorn — the youngest member of Congress at 26 — also promoted President Donald Trump's January 6 rally near the Capitol, writing on Twitter that “the future of this Republic hinges on the actions of a solitary few.”