Several Jan. 6 panel staffers angry at Cheney for focusing so much of report on Trump (and in the process absolving law enforcement, GOP)


HR Legend
Nov 10, 2006
Since Rep. Liz Cheney accepted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's offer to serve as the vice chair of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, the Wyoming Republican has exerted a remarkable level of control over much of the committee's public and private work.
Now, less than six weeks before the conclusion of the committee's work, Cheney's influence over the committee's final report has rankled many current and former committee staff. They are angered and disillusioned by Cheney's push to focus the report primarily on former president Donald Trump, and have bristled at the committee morphing into what they have come to view as the vehicle for the outgoing Wyoming lawmaker's political future.
Click to shrink...

Fifteen former and current staffers, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, expressed concerns that important findings unrelated to Trump will not become available to the American public.

The feuding brings to the fore a level of public acrimony within the Jan. 6 committee that previously had largely played out behind the scenes, as public attention was focused on a series of blockbuster public hearings focused on Trump's role fomenting the attack.
Click to shrink...

Potentially left on the cutting room floor, or relegated to an appendix, were many revelations from the Blue Team — the group that dug into the law enforcement and intelligence community's failure to assess the looming threat and prepare for the well-forecast attack on the Capitol. The proposed report would also cut back on much of the work of the Green Team, which looked at financing for the Jan. 6 attack, and the Purple Team, which examined militia groups and extremism.
Click to shrink...

"Donald Trump is the first president in American history to attempt to overturn an election and prevent the peaceful transfer of power," Adler said. "So, damn right Liz is 'prioritizing' understanding what he did and how he did it and ensuring it never happens again."

Adler added, "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."
Click to shrink...

"They've forgotten their duties as public servants and their cowardice is helping Donald Trump and others responsible for the violence of January 6th," Mulvey's statement continued. "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."
Click to shrink...

Some staffers noted that the mission of the committee — as spelled out in the resolution authorizing its formation — was to discover what political forces and intelligence and security failures allowed the U.S. Capitol Police and its partners to be so overwhelmed and ill-prepared for the attack and to ensure that such an event could not happen again. Leaving any relevant information out of the final report would ignore important lessons for the future and issues that will outlive Trump, they argued.

But in the wake of an NBC News story earlier this month that the final report would not include much of the panel's work not directly related to Trump, lawmakers on the committee are now reassessing what to include in the final draft and also eyeing different ways to publicly share more of the investigators' work outside of the report. That could include sharing findings on the committee's website or releasing internal transcripts.
Click to shrink...

The announcement, this staffer argued, was premature and based on negative reactions from lawmakers who concluded that draft chapters written by non-Gold investigative teams should not be included because they were either too long or too academic in nature. However, the staffer said, while committee members disliked those chapters, they were open to including some of that material in a more concise or streamlined form.
"It's not a class project — everyone doesn't get a participation prize," said a senior Democratic aide. "The Green Team has chapters and chapters of good work, but the problem is they've learned a lot of great stuff about objectionable but completely legal things."
Click to shrink...

Tensions among lawmakers on the committee are also high, with some members angry about information being shared with the press regarding internal discussions on what to include or exclude from the final report, according to people familiar with the mood on the committee. Some distrust has been sown between lawmakers and staff over the NBC News story, and some senior staff called complaints about Cheney from committee staff unprofessional — and said that ultimately, the members call the final shots.

"Ten years from now, most of us are going to think that the work of the committee has been the most important thing we've ever done in our careers, and I think it's just very shortsighted to have these kinds of smaller, petty kind of complaints," a senior committee staffer said.
Click to shrink...

"They were headed for a worse version of the Mueller report, which nobody read — and Cheney knew that," this person said.

Some staff vehemently objected to the characterization that some of the work product was weak or inconsistent, and countered that it's long been clear that Cheney deprioritized findings that didn't fit a specific narrative about Trump's efforts to foment the insurrection.
Click to shrink...

"Trump lit the fuse on all of this, but he is kind of irrelevant now — it doesn't matter if he runs for president. … Of course we want to stop Trump in any way possible, but we'll still be facing these organized militia types or lone-wolf attackers in five to 10 years," said one committee staffer. "I don't think it's good for the committee or democracy at large if this entire final report is the case against Trump."

The committee is well aware that Republicans are eager to get their hands on whatever materials become available to them when the House GOP conference takes back the majority.
"I expect them to do a document dive and cherry pick from the documents," said a staffer working on the final report. "I have 100 percent confidence they're going to do that — I just don't think it's as exculpatory as they're going to make it out to be."
  • Haha
Reactions: CoachJaxKnows