Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney is all but gone from her lofty position as the House Republican Conference Chair.
In an article that is worthy of Pravda, the New Yorker’s Susan Glasser unwittingly provides Republicans with an additional reason to give her the old heave ho.
Glasser spoke to Eric Edelman, a friend of Cheney’s, who served as a national security advisor to her father, Dick Cheney, during his time as Vice President.
She writes, “Edelman revealed that Cheney herself secretly orchestrated an unprecedented op-ed in the Washington Post by all ten living former Defense Secretaries, including her father, warning against Trump’s efforts to politicize the military. The congresswoman not only recruited her father but personally asked others, including Trump’s first Defense Secretary, Jim Mattis, to participate.”
“She was the one who generated it, because she was so worried about what Trump might do,” Edelman told Glasser. “It speaks to the degree that she was concerned about the threat to our democracy that Trump represented.”
Some readers may recall this piece which was published on Jan. 3, just three days before the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. It was entitled, “Opinion: All 10 living former defense secretaries: Involving the military in election disputes would cross into dangerous territory.”
First, a quick scan of the signers’ names, which included Ashton Carter, Dick Cheney, William Cohen, Mark Esper, Robert Gates, Chuck Hagel, James Mattis, Leon Panetta, William Perry and Donald Rumsfeld, showed ten men who despised former President Donald Trump. These men would likely sign anything if it meant hurting Trump.
The Jan. 3 editorial was no different than the October 2020 letter claiming the Hunter Biden laptop story was actually Russian disinformation, which was signed by more than 50 former senior US intelligence officials. Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe’s prompt, strong public denial of their premise, that there was no intelligence to support the arguments made by the 50 former officials, did not reverse the damage done by the letter. In fact, Biden used the letter as “evidence” during a debate when Trump raised the issue of his son’s laptop.
Both were intended to undermine then-President Trump.
The Jan. 3 letter which Cheney’s friend claims she “secretly orchestrated,” was based on conspiracy theories that were being advanced by Democrats in the weeks following the November election.
These theories were rooted in various ideas about how best to deal with the destructive riots spreading throughout the U.S. last summer in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death. There were calls among Republicans for the President to invoke the Insurrection Act to quell the violence and the looting.
In an interview with Fox News host Jeanine Pirro which aired on Sep 12, Trump was asked about “reports of left-wing demonstrations being planned across American should be win reelection.” He told Pirro that “we’ll put them down very quickly if they do that. We have the right to do that. We have the power to do that if we want. Look, it’s called insurrection. We just send in and we, we do it very easy. I mean, it’s very easy. I’d rather not do that, because there’s no reason for it, but if we had to, we’d do that and put it down within minutes, within minutes.”
Clearly, he was talking about ending the riots which were widely expected across the country if he won, but Democrats put those remarks together with messages from far-right groups on social media to set a new narrative as they have done since his candidacy in 2015.
On Election Night, Trump was prevailing in many, if not all of the swing states, when suddenly counting stopped. When counting resumed in the early hours of the next morning, Biden inexplicably had taken the lead. Although the many irregularities that occurred on and after Election Day is beyond the scope of this article, the odd patterns were the reason Trump’s legal team hoped to gain access to the voting machines for forensic analysis.
At the same time, posts from individuals falsely claiming to be Trump began circulating on social media suggesting he planned to invoke the Insurrection Act to remain in office. (Below, I present a Reuters fact check which debunks those posts.)
There were also legitimate calls on the right for Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act to gain access to the voting machines.
On December 14, the editorial board of The Epoch Times wrote: “Trump should use those [presidential] powers as president to safeguard the future of our republic and arrest those who have conspired to deprive people of their rights through election fraud. The Insurrection Act enables Trump to use the military to seize the key electoral evidence in contested states and deliver a transparent, accurate accounting of the vote. Our system is in crisis. Trump should act to restore the rule of law. Through opening the books, honesty can defeat fraud. The wishes of the majority of the people will be realized and communism defeated. Our system is in crisis. Trump should act to restore the rule of law.”
Several days after this editorial was published, Politico highlighted it in a widely read article entitled “MAGA leaders call for the troops to keep Trump in office.”
And suddenly the new false narrative that Trump would invoke the Insurrection Act to remain in office began to gain traction.
In January, Reuters published a fact check: “Donald Trump has not invoked the Insurrection Act to hold on to power.”