The Securities and Exchange Commission’s chief litigator is joining the US attorney’s office handling January 6 cases

Capitol attack explosion fire
The SEC’s chief litigation counsel is taking the No. 2 role in the federal prosecutor’s office handling January 6 cases.

  • The SEC’s top litigator is stepping down to become No. 2 at the DOJ office handling January 6 cases.
  • Before joining the SEC, Bridget Fitzpatrick was a public corruption prosecutor in Washington, DC.
  • The move reunites her with US attorney Matt Graves, who signed the indictment of Steve Bannon.

The Biden-appointed US attorney in Washington, DC, has recruited a top lawyer from the Securities and Exchange Commission for the second-ranking role in the federal prosecutor’s office handling the hundreds of cases stemming from the January 6 attack on the Capitol, Insider has learned.

Bridget Fitzpatrick, the SEC’s chief litigation counsel, is poised to leave the commission to become the top deputy to US attorney Matt Graves, according to multiple people familiar with her plans. For Fitzpatrick, the move marks a return to the US attorney’s office where she once specialized in public corruption prosecutions.

She is expected to start at the end of December or in early 2022 as the so-called first assistant US attorney under Graves, whose early tenure as the top federal prosecutor in Washington has been highlighted by the indictment of Trump ally Steve Bannon on contempt of Congress charges. 

On Monday, the congressional committee investigating January 6 voted to recommend that the full House hold former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows in contempt of Congress, setting the stage for another possible referral for a Justice Department prosecution out of Graves’ office. Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming also is suggesting DOJ should consider criminally charging former President Donald Trump with obstructing Congress for his role in the Capitol riot that halted lawmakers’ plans to certify the 2020 election results.

In their previous stints at the US attorney’s office, Graves and Fitzpatrick both worked in the fraud and public corruption unit — a team that reviews congressional referrals for prosecution and often brings cases against high-profile figures. Fitzpatrick once helped convict a sitting member of the District of Columbia’s city council on charges he embezzled funds earmarked for youth programs, and Graves was involved in the prosecution of former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., who pleaded guilty in 2013 to making lavish purchases and covering personal expenses with campaign contributions.

Fitzpatrick left the US attorney’s office in 2012 for the SEC at a time when the commission was seeking to bring in trial experience ahead of enforcement actions tied to the financial crisis. In her first year at the SEC, she won a court decision finding the former Goldman Sachs trader Fabrice Tourre — the self-proclaimed “Fabulous Fab” who had become a symbol of Wall Street’s role in the financial meltdown — liable for fraud.

Matt Solomon, who once supervised Graves and Fitzpatrick as a senior official in the US attorney’s office, said the two established themselves as stars early in their careers as prosecutors.

“Both of them had incredible white collar instincts, and that’s what sets them apart. They just got white-collar in a way that a lot of prosecutors never do,” said Solomon, who preceded Fitzpatrick as the SEC’s chief litigation counsel and recruited her to the commission.

“And it’s not that white-collar is so much harder than homicide or harder than gang cases, which are incredibly difficult to investigate and prosecute and critically important in the District. But there’s a certain instinct for crimes that are a little grayer because they always involve proving what’s going on inside someone’s head as opposed to pulling a trigger or even having a readily identifiable victim.”

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Meet Steve Bannon’s prosecutor, the most important Justice Department official you’ve never heard of

Bannon court
US attorney Matt Graves signed the indictment of Steve Bannon a week after taking office.

  • Matt Graves brought contempt charges against Steve Bannon just a week after becoming US attorney.
  • His office is handling January 6 prosecutions and is expected to receive more referrals from Congress.
  • Former colleagues say he brings experience with high-profile cases involving public figures.

The federal prosecutors knew that, if they didn’t bring charges, Republicans would accuse the sitting Democratic administration of protecting one of its own. So the decision could not have a whiff of politics.

It was late in the Obama presidency, and House Republicans had referred a top IRS official to the Justice Department in a scandal over whether the tax agency had improperly targeted conservative groups. The IRS official, Lois Lerner, invoked the 5th Amendment to avoid answering questions from the House, but Republicans argued that she had waived her constitutional rights against self-incrimination and should be charged with contempt of Congress.

The Justice Department declined to pursue a case but stressed, in a 2015 letter, that career prosecutors had carefully reviewed the Republicans’ criminal referral. Among the career prosecutors was Matt Graves, then a senior official in the US attorney’s office in Washington, DC.

Six years later, Graves is now the face of that US attorney’s office and grappling once more with politically-charged contempt referrals from the House. 

A week after being sworn in as US attorney in Washington, DC, Graves signed the indictment charging Donald Trump ally Steve Bannon with contempt of Congress over his defiance of the January 6 inquiry. In the weeks since, the January 6 committee has only turned up the heat with recalcitrant Trump world figures, taking steps to hold former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and the onetime Justice Department official Jeff Clark in contempt.

The Bannon indictment — and potential for additional referrals — landed on the doorstep of the US attorney’s office in Washington at a time when it is also handling the deluge of prosecutions stemming from the January 6 attack on the Capitol. More than 700 prosecutions have arisen out of the January 6 investigation, which federal authorities have described as unprecedented.

The cases have put the US attorney’s office at the forefront of the Justice Department’s dealings with Congress as the House January 6 committee looks to contempt prosecutions to bolster its aggressive push for answers about the Capitol attack.

Former colleagues of Graves described the Reading, Pennsylvania, native as unflappable and almost uniquely made for the moment with his experience in an uncomfortable area for the Justice Department: the intersection of politics and prosecutions.

“He’s not a novice to these issues. To have someone who has firsthand knowledge of the law, on the sort of issues you have to grapple with, it’s huge. He would have picked it up anyway because he’s a bright guy, but his past experience gave him an upper hand to be able to hit the ground running,” said Channing Phillips, who served as the acting US attorney from March until Graves took office in early November.

liz cheney
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) heads to the House floor to vote at the US Capitol on February 3, 2021.

Cheney floats a big fish: Trump  

It remains unclear how many Trump figures the House will refer to the Justice Department for prosecution out of the congressional inquiry into January 6 — though one big fish has come up in recent days for Graves’ office to potentially consider.

Late Monday, as the House committee investigating January 6 voted to recommend holding Meadows in contempt, Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming appeared to raise the possibility that the congressional inquiry could prompt the Justice Department to prosecute Trump over his conduct during the Capitol breach.

Cheney, the committee’s Republican vice chair, said text messages to Meadows were “further evidence of President Trump’s supreme dereliction of duty during those 187 minutes.” 

“And Mr. Meadows testimony will bear on another key question before this Committee: Did Donald Trump, through action or inaction, corruptly seek to obstruct or impede Congress’s official proceeding to count electoral votes? Mark Meadows’ testimony is necessary to inform our legislative judgments,” she said. 

Her comments made waves in legal circles in no small part because it sounded like she was reading straight from the federal criminal statute.

In spite of attention surrounding his office, Graves has so far kept a low-profile in his first month as US attorney. He’s made no comment about a potential Trump prosecution, which shouldn’t be a surprise for someone of his position except for the fact one of his recent predecessors had publicly suggested such a case was under consideration during a controversial interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes” back in March. 

Shortly after his Senate confirmation, Graves delivered remarks at an annual gathering of current and former prosecutors in the US attorney’s office. But he has not given any public interviews or held press conferences since then. A spokesman for his office declined to comment for this article.

Former colleagues said Graves’ early approach is in keeping with his measured, mild-mannered style. But he could begin to step out in coming months as Bannon goes to trial next summer and criminal proceedings pick up against January 6 defendants.

“He won’t seek the limelight but won’t shy away from it either,” said Ron Machen, a partner at the law firm Wilmer, Cutler, Pickering, Hale and Dorr who served as the US attorney in Washington under the Obama administration.

In his current job, Graves is the face of the largest US attorney’s office in the country — a size owed, in part, to its unique role as a federal and local prosecutor for the District of Columbia. Graves could adopt a more public-facing posture as the nation’s capital confronts a year in which it recorded 200 homicides, a level of deadly violence it has not seen since 2003.

Jackson Court
Graves previous stint as a prosecutor was highlighted by a case against former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.

Jesse Jackson Jr. and Roger Clemens

Graves previously served in the US attorney’s office from 2007 to 2016, a period in which he rose to become a top public corruption prosecutor. His nearly decade-long tenure was highlighted by the prosecution of former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. of Illinois, a onetime rising star in Democratic politics who pleaded guilty in 2013 to making lavish purchases and other personal expenditures with campaign funds.

Jackson’s guilty plea and 30-month prison sentence marked a triumph for the US attorney’s office in a high-profile, politically-sensitive case against the son of the influential civil rights leader. But Graves also witnessed earlier in his tenure the failed prosecution of the former baseball star Roger Clemens on charges he lied to Congress in insisting that he never used steroids during his long career.

Graves was not personally involved in the case, but former officials in the US attorney’s office said the verdict underscored the challenges and pitfalls of politically-fraught prosecutions. Former officials said Graves is likely to draw on those experiences as closely-watched cases connected to the Trump era continue coming to the US attorney’s office.

“He’s not somebody who is going to be influenced one way or the other. I think he really will do the right thing, regardless of whether it’s a referral with pressure from Democrats. “And, if the tables turn in 2022, who knows what referrals are going to come then?” said Matthew Solomon, a former top official in the US attorney’s office who once supervised Graves. 

“In these kinds of cases, it’s like brain surgery, and you have to have the judgment,” he added. “You have to have an understanding of history, of what’s happened in the past with these cases, and of political dynamics. And of course the touchstone is, in the end, doing what is right – but that often means cutting through a lot of noise and that takes force of personality as well as finesse.

People walking out of the SEC building US Securities and Exchange Commission
The Securities and Exchange Commission headquarters in Washington, DC

Firepower from the SEC

As Graves has settled in as US attorney, he is also reconnecting with a former colleague from his time as a career prosecutor.

Graves has recruited Bridget Fitzpatrick, a former federal prosecutor now serving as the Securities and Exchange Commission’s chief litigator, to return to the US attorney’s office as his top deputy, according to multiple people familiar with his pick. Fitzpatrick is expected to join the office later this month or in early 2022 after completing a background process.

In her more than five-year tenure as a public corruption prosecutor, Fitzpatrick helped convict a sitting member of the District of Columbia’s city council on charges he embezzled more than $350,000 earmarked for youth programs. She left the US attorney’s office in late 2012 to join the SEC as the commission pushed to bring in more trial expertise in the aftermath of the financial crisis.

In 2013, she won a court decision finding the former Goldman Sachs trader Fabrice Tourre — the self-proclaimed “Fabulous Fab” — liable for fraud. Tourre had become a symbol of Wall Street’s role in the financial meltdown.

The January 6 cases and contempt referrals from Congress will dominate the headlines of Graves and Fitzpatrick’s tenure. But with their combined experience, Graves and Fitzpatrick have a chance to reinvigorate an office that was demoralized in the final year of the Trump administration as Justice Department leaders intervened in prosecutions to the benefit of the then-president’s political allies, former officials said.

“Yes, they have to see through the January 6 cases. Yes, they have to deal with the congressional referrals. But, to me, I think a big project for them is also going to be rebuilding a significant white collar portfolio in that office,” said Solomon, who served as the SEC’s chief litigation counsel following his stint in the US attorney’s office and recruited Fitzpatrick to the commission.

Solomon said they have the “full package, which is incredibly rare, of being incredibly hard-working, having really good white-collar instincts and being very, very intelligent and also very good trial lawyers.”

ben carson 2013
Graves represented Ben Carson, a former Trump cabinet official, while in private practice.

Ben Carson, Nike & GE

Graves joined the law firm DLA Piper as a partner after stepping down in 2016 as the chief of the fraud and public corruption unit within the federal prosecutor’s office. His role at the Justice Department put him in charge of the team that reviewed referrals from Congress and other cases involving well-known figures.

In private practice, his work continued to feature public figures and closely-watched cases.

Among his clients was Ben Carson, a former 2016 Republican presidential candidate who served in the Trump administration as secretary of housing and urban development. Graves’ roster of corporate clients included Nike, General Electric and the news outlet Al-Jazeera, according to his financial disclosure.

Public court filings show that Graves represented Al-Jazeera in litigation involving the professional baseball players Ryan Zimmerman and Ryan Howard, who sued the news outlet over a documentary alleging that they used performance-enhancing drugs. Graves withdrew from the case in July after President Joe Biden nominated him for the US attorney role.

In recent years, he has also represented the oil-rich state of Qatar, T-Mobile and the Bank of Palestine, amassing a client roster that has concerned good-government advocates who have raised alarm over the private sector ties of Biden appointees.

But former leaders of the US attorney’s office said the defense-side perspective will only help Graves as he makes closely-scrutinized decisions in the political crucible.

“He’ll game it out, he’s methodical. He’ll look at the case law precedent and weigh the pros and cons. He’s not just a career prosecutor but has been on the defense side and represented individuals and organizations as well,” Machen said. 

“The ability to understand both sides of an issue rather than view the matter through only one type of lens is critical in these sorts of high-profile matters,” added Machen, who held Graves’ job from 2010 to 2015. “You have to be able to see the whole playing field and he has got the experience to do that and to do it effectively.”

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Fox News hosts pleaded with Mark Meadows in text messages during January 6 siege, asked for Trump to end the violence

Trump mob Capitol attackers fight with police
Violent Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier at the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

  • Rep. Liz Cheney said the January 6 committee obtained text messages from Fox News personalities.
  • The messages were handed over by Mark Meadows, former President Trump’s chief of staff.
  • The messages implore Trump to speak out against the violence.

Fox News host Laura Ingraham mocked police officers who testified about what they faced from a pro-Trump mob on January 6, suggesting they should win awards for “best performances” after recounting fears they would be killed or maimed.

But in a text message the day of the attack, released Monday by the House select committee probing the attack, Ingraham herself expressed shock at the images coming from Capitol Hill.

“Mark, the president needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home,” Laura Ingraham texted Mark Meadows, former President Trump’s chief of staff. “This is hurting all of us. He is destroying his legacy.”

The exchange was brought to light by Rep. Liz Cheney, a Wyoming Republican who is vice chair of the special committee investigating January 6. The panel met Monday to recommend that Meadows be charged with criminal contempt for ending his cooperation with its investigation.

Before he stopped helping investigators, however, Cheney said Meadows had handed over text messages he received the day of the insurrection, including from other on-air Fox News personalities who asked for Trump to call off his supporters.

“Multiple Fox News hosts knew the president needed to act immediately,” Cheney said.

Brian Kilmeade, a cohost of the morning show “Fox & Friends,” echoed his colleague.

“Please get him on TV,” he texted Meadows. “Destroying everything you have accomplished.”

“Can he make a statement?” host Sean Hannity wrote Meadows. “Ask people to leave the Capitol.”

Insider could not immediately reach Fox News about the text messages read by Cheney.

Those were just some of many messages that Cheney said Meadows had turned over. Others came from people witnessing the January 6 attack in person, “imploring that Mr. Trump take this specific action his duty required,” Cheney said.

“We are under siege here at the Capitol,” one person texted.

“Mark, protesters are literally storming the Capitol, breaking windows on doors, rushing in. Is Trump going to say something?” another texted.

“Mark, he needs to stop this now,” another wrote, according to the committee.

“POTUS has to come out firmly and tell the protesters to dissipate. Someone is going to get killed,” read another text.

Another message, sent in all-caps: “TELL THEM TO GO HOME.”

And another: “POTUS needs to calm this shit down.”

It would take several hours before Trump would make a statement urging his supporters to go home. In the meantime, as Insider previously reported, White House officials said he was watching the action unfold on television.

Have a news tip? Email this reporter: cdavis@insider.com

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Mike Pence staffer who Trump banned from the White House is cooperating with January 6 committee: CNN

Vice President Mike Pence, joined at left by chief of staff Marc Short, finishes a swearing-in ceremony for senators in the Old Senate Chamber at the Capitol in Washington, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021.
Vice President Mike Pence, joined at left by chief of staff Marc Short, finishes a swearing-in ceremony for senators in the Old Senate Chamber at the Capitol in Washington, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021.

  • The January 6 committee is getting “significant cooperation with Team Pence,” CNN reported.
  • Marc Short, former Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, is complying with a subpoena.
  • Trump banned Short from the White House after the January 6 insurrection.

The congressional panel looking into the January 6 insurrection is getting “significant cooperation from Team Pence,” a source told CNN on Monday, with the former vice president’s ex-chief of staff reportedly complying with the committee’s investigation.

Marc Short, the Pence aide, could provide key testimony concerning both the lead-up to the attack on the US Capitol and events on January 6 itself to the committee, which is led by Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, and Rep. Liz Cheney, a Wyoming Republican.

As Insider previously reported, Short was critical of the legally dubious effort, spearheaded by right-wing attorney John Eastman, to have Pence block the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election.

One constitutional law expert described the plan as a “proposed coup cloaked in legal language.” Short himself called it “boneheaded analysis.”

Eastman, by contrast, has refused to comply with the investigation by the House select committee, recently invoking his 5th Amendment right to remain silent.

Short was with Pence on January 6 when a mob of former President Donald Trump’s supporters ransacked Congress in an effort to block Biden’s victory, some of them demanding that Pence be executed for declining to do so himself.

After the attack, Trump barred Short from the White House.

A spokesperson for the committee did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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Paul Gosar responds to House censure by posting a #gosarlife meme on Gettr and retweeting the same anime video about AOC that got him censured

gosar life gettr
Rep. Paul Gosar posted a “#gosarlife” meme on Gettr, captioned “Can’t keep me down.”

  • Rep. Paul Gosar posted a #gosarlife meme on Gettr, a play on the “thug life” meme.
  • Gosar also re-tweeted the same anime video that got him censured in the first place.
  • He was censured for tweeting a violent anime edit of himself slaying Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Arizona Republican Rep. Paul Gosar has responded to being censured by the House by posting a #gosarlife meme of himself and re-tweeting the same violent anime edit that left him stripped of his committee positions. 

Congress voted on Wednesday on a resolution introduced by House Democrats to censure Gosar for an edited anime video that depicted him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The video prompted Ocasio-Cortez to call Gosar a “creepy member I work with who fundraises for Neo-Nazi groups” who shared a “fantasy video” of himself killing her.

Democratic reps, including Cori Bush and Adam Schiff, have rebuked Gosar for posting the video. Meanwhile, GOP Rep. Liz Cheney commented that the Republican leadership has “lost their moral compass” over their silence on Gosar’s video. 

Gosar later released a statement saying the video was a symbolic portrayal of the fight in Congress over immigration. He also told GOP colleagues this week that he does not “believe in violence against any member.”

However, on Wednesday, Gosar refused to apologize for posting the video on the House floor, comparing his censure to Alexander Hamilton’s. Hours after the censure, Gosar re-tweeted the AOC video. 

Gosar then made a post on social media platform Gettr on Wednesday night, re-posting an edited image of himself complete with a heavy gold chain and shades superimposed onto his face. The image featured the words “GOSAR LIFE” — a reinvention of the #thuglife meme often used to highlight “gangster” or explicit behavior from teens.

Gosar captioned the image with the phrase “can’t keep me down,” and also made a video statement on the platform. 

“I just got back from the floor with the Democrats, who have censured me for challenging their America Last agenda. They should know I won’t be bullied, even if they challenge me and try to take away my America First agenda,” Gosar said in his video statement. “It’s great to be on a service that’s not going to be censored. And if you like cartoons, I love that. I’m looking forward to having a great discussion with you soon.” 

Separately, Gosar re-tweeted the same video that got him censured just hours after lawmakers voted to censure him and strip him of his committee positions. 

 

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Only 2 House Republicans voted to censure Paul Gosar over a violent anime video that showed him killing AOC. Another Republican voted present.

A side view of Rep Paul Gosar's head and shoulders, in front of a microphone.
Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar.

  • The House voted on Wednesday to censure Rep. Paul Gosar and remove him from two committees.
  • Only Reps. Cheney and Kinzinger voted to condemn Gosar over his violent AOC anime video.
  • Republican Rep. David Joyce, who serves on the ethics committee, voted “present.”

Just two Republicans broke with their party and joined every Democrat to censure GOP Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona and remove him from his committees.

Only Republican Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois voted for it. Another Republican, Rep. David Joyce of Ohio, voted “present.”

Censure refers to a formal condemnation of an elected official. The disciplinary measure comes after Gosar posted an edited anime video depicting him killing Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Gosar became the 24th House member in history who has been censured. The last time the House voted to censure a member was in 2010, when then-Democratic Rep. Charlie Rangel was rebuked over ethics violations. 

Cheney and Kinzinger, who both serve on the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the US Capitol, were unequivocal in their support for the resolution.

“We have to hold Members accountable who incite or glorify violence, who spread and perpetuate dangerous conspiracies,” Kinzinger said in a statement ahead of the vote. “The failure to do so will take us one step closer to this fantasized violence becoming real.”

After days of silence from Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on the video, Cheney told the Associated Press last week that “it’s a real symbol of his lack of strength, the lack of leadership in our conference right now, and the extent to which he and other leaders seem to have lost their moral compass.”

Kinzinger is not seeking re-election, while Cheney faces a primary challenger from former RNC committeewoman Harriet Hageman, who’s been endorsed by former President Trump. The Wyoming GOP voted on Tuesday to no longer recognize Cheney as a Republican.

Joyce, who serves on the House Ethics Committee, said his “present” vote was a matter of fairness.

“How can I be fair and impartial as a member of the ethics committee unless you listen to the evidence that’s going to be presented to that committee?” he told reporters on his way to a meeting of that committee. “So I don’t want to prejudge anyone.”

‘I think kicking people off committees is bad.’

Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene speaks with reporters about the Gosar censure resolution outside the House on November 17, 2021.
Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene speaks with reporters about the Gosar censure resolution outside the House on November 17, 2021.

The video, which Gosar posted on Twitter on November 7, featured an edited version of the opening credits of a Japanese animated series called “Attack on Titan,” a show that is centered on a hero who fights giant creatures called Titans. In the 90-second clip, Gosar, along with fellow GOP Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert, are seen attacking the “Titan” characters. Gosar’s face is superimposed over one character that kills a Titan with Ocasio-Cortez’s face on it. Gosar’s character also swings two swords at a Titan with Biden’s face on it. The tweet was captioned: “Any anime fans out there?”

Gosar has also sought to defend himself amid the backlash, both in private with his GOP colleagues on Tuesday and via public statements. “The cartoon depicts the symbolic nature of a battle between lawful and unlawful policies and in no way intended to be a targeted attack against Representative Cortez or Mr. Biden,” Gosar said in a November 9 statement, in which he misspelled Ocasio-Cortez’s last name.

McCarthy, who first spoke publicly on the issue this week, has largely stayed in Gosar’s corner. And Republicans generally pointed out the precedent that would be set over committee removal in justifying their votes against the resolution. 

“If they would have stuck to a censure or reprimand, I likely would have been there,” Rep. Don Bacon told reporters after the vote. Bacon was one of the 13 Republicans to vote for President Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill. “But I think kicking people off committees is bad.”

Kinzinger and Cheney, for their part, are only likely to face more criticism from their own party. The GOP is roiling with tension after 13 House Republicans voted for a bipartisan infrastructure bill last week, nine Republicans voted to hold Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress, and 10 Republicans voted to impeach former President Donald Trump in February.

“We all know they’re Democrats anyhow,” Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia told Insider, referring to Cheney and Kinzinger. Greene also said she had asked McCarthy to kick the duo out of the GOP conference entirely.

“The excuse I was given by Kevin McCarthy is that we would lose committee seats,” she told Insider. “But you know what, I got kicked off committees, and now Democrats are going to remove Paul Gosar so I don’t think they really care about committee seats.”

Greene was referencing when House Democrats voted to strip her of her committee assignments back in February over her past support for right-wing conspiracy theories and political violence on social media.

Greene reiterated that any Republican who voted for the censure resolution should be removed from the House GOP conference and have their committee seats revoked, while also taking aim at Republicans that voted for the infrastructure bill.

“There’s no accountability for Republicans that are helping Joe Biden pass his agenda,” she told Insider.

Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw of Texas, on the other hand, said Cheney and Kinzinger shouldn’t be punished.

“This is all stupid, everything that is happening,” Crenshaw told Insider. “What Paul Gosar did was stupid, the censure vote is stupid. All of these conversations are stupid locker room politics, they don’t matter a damn to anybody in this country. It’s very annoying.”

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Liz Cheney says Ted Cruz should be ‘defending his wife, and his father, and the Constitution’ after attacks from Trump

liz cheney
Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming speaks to members of the press at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on May 12, 2021.

  • Rep. Liz Cheney blasted Sen. Ted Cruz over his comments that she had “Trump Derangement Syndrome.”
  • Cheney brought up attacks that the former president made against the senator’s family in 2016.
  • “A real man would be defending his wife, and his father, and the Constitution,” she told CNN.

Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming on Wednesday blasted Sen. Ted Cruz for failing to defend his wife and father from attacks by former President Donald Trump after the Texas Republican recently accused her of having “Trump Derangement Syndrome.”

During a Tuesday appearance on the Fox News program “Hannity,” Cruz told host Sean Hannity that the former president “broke” the congresswoman.

“I’ve always liked her, I haven’t agreed with her on everything, I think she’s a bit too eager to send in the Marines and to invade countries all over the planet, but I’ve always liked her and I think she falls into the category of people who Donald Trump just broke, just shattered,” he said.

“She hates Donald Trump so much that it just has overridden everything in her system. She’s lashing out at Trump and Republicans and everything, and she’s become a Democrat and it’s sad to watch what has happened. It is Trump Derangement Syndrome,” he added.

While speaking with CNN’s Melanie Zanona, Cheney said that the Texas Republican, who ran against Trump during the tumultuous 2016 GOP presidential primaries, should have stood up in defense of his family when the former president attacked them.

“Trump broke Ted Cruz,” Cheney told the network. “A real man would be defending his wife, and his father, and the Constitution.”

In March 2016, Trump went after Cruz’s wife, Heidi, in a heated exchange when the then-presidential candidate retweeted what was widely perceived as an unflattering image of the senator’s wife.

Trump, seeking to compare Heidi Cruz with his wife, Melania, sent out the tweet with a caption that stated: “No need to ‘spill the beans.’ The images are worth a thousand words.”

Cruz responded furiously to Trump when he spoke with reporters at the time.

“It’s not easy to tick me off. I don’t get angry often, but if you mess with my wife, if you mess with my kids, that will do it every time. Donald, you’re a sniveling coward and leave Heidi the hell alone,” he said.

In May of that year, Trump also blasted the senator’s father, Rafael Cruz, by bringing up a dubious National Enquirer story that sought to link the elder Cruz to Lee Harvey Oswald, who assassinated President John F. Kennedy in November 1963.

The Enquirer article claimed that Cruz had been photographed in the early 1960s distributing leaflets in support of then-Cuban leader Fidel Castro alongside Oswald.

At the time, the Cruz campaign described the Enquirer story as “cheap tabloid garbage.”

Cheney, who has boasted a deeply conservative voting record while in office but has become one of Trump’s most prominent Republican critics since the January 6 insurrection, has not bit her tongue at party members incensed over her vocal criticism of the former president.

When a CNN panel last week discussed Cheney’s possible chances as 2024 presidential candidate, especially as she faces a difficult reelection fight in Wyoming, Cruz mocked the congresswoman’s chances when the panel asked if she had a potential “lane” in the New Hampshire primaries.

The Texas Republican responded on Twitter, writing: “Yes. It’s called the Democratic primary.”

Cheney then replied to Cruz’s remark, calling out the senator for what she said was his courting of voters who weren’t aligned with the country’s founding document and original principles.

“I know you’re posturing for the secessionist vote, Ted. But my party, the Republican party, saved the Union. You swore an oath to the Constitution. Act like it,” she wrote.

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Ted Cruz suggested Liz Cheney should run as a Democrat if she launches a bid for the presidency in 2024

ted cruz liz cheney
Rep. Liz Cheney and Sen. Ted Cruz locked horns after Cruz took a swipe at the Wyoming lawmaker, suggesting that she run for president as a Democrat.

  • Sen. Ted Cruz suggested Rep. Liz Cheney run for president as a Democrat.
  • In response to a clip discussing if Cheney had a shot at the presidency in 2024, Cruz tweeted: “Yes. It’s called the Democratic primary.”
  • This week, the Wyoming GOP voted to not recognize Cheney as a Republican.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has suggested that if Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney wants to run for president in 2024, she should do so as a Democrat.

A clip posted by CNN’s “The Lead” showed a panel discussing Cheney’s chances in the 2024 presidential election. The clip was captioned: “Is there a lane for Liz Cheney in New Hampshire in 2024?”

Cruz retweeted the clip on November 14, writing: “Yes. It’s called the Democratic primary,”

Cheney replied to Cruz several hours later, tweeting: “I know you’re posturing for the secessionist vote, Ted. But my party, the Republican party, saved the Union. You swore an oath to the Constitution. Act like it.”

Her comments likely refer to an earlier comment in which Cruz said that Texas could secede if “things become hopeless” in the US

Cheney has been on the outs with the GOP since she voted to impeach former President Donald Trump and opted to serve as vice-chair of the House select committee set up to investigate the January 6 Capitol riot. She has become one of the prime targets of Trump’s online mocking and was ousted from her role as chair of the House Republican Conference in May.

Cheney has made it clear she still considers herself a Republican, saying in September that she was not ready to “cede the Republican party” to the “voice of extremism.” However, in a symbolic vote on November 15, the Wyoming Republican Party said it would no longer recognize Cheney as a Republican.

Cheney previously told the New York Post she has not ruled out running for president in 2024.

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The Wyoming GOP will no longer recognize Liz Cheney as a Republican

Liz Cheney
Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, April 14, 2021, in Washington

  • GOP Rep. Liz Cheney voted to impeach Trump after the January 6 Capitol riot. 
  • The Wyoming Republican Party voted to censure her following that vote. 
  • On Saturday, the party also voted to no longer recognize her as a Republican. 

The Wyoming Republican Party will no longer recognize Rep. Liz Cheney as a member of their party, the Associated Press reported. 

The party voted on Saturday 31-29 to no longer recognize Cheney, who has been critical of former President Donald Trump.

Republican officials in nine of the state’s counties had previously also voted to no longer recognize Cheney as a member of the GOP. The Casper Star-Tribune reported. The vote does not take any power from Cheney and is only symbolic. 

“It’s laughable to suggest Liz is anything but a committed conservative Republican,” Cheney Spokesperson Jeremy Adler told Insider in a statement. 

Adler added: “She is bound by her oath to the Constitution. Sadly, a portion of the Wyoming GOP leadership has abandoned that fundamental principle, and instead allowed themselves to be held hostage to the lies of a dangerous and irrational man.”

The Wyoming GOP central committee had previously voted in February to censure Cheney for her vote to impeach Trump following the January 6 Capitol riot. 

The party said Cheney defied the will of the state’s residents, who overwhelmingly supported Trump. 

“Does the voice of the people matter and if it does, does it only matter at the ballot box?” Joey Correnti, the GOP chairman in Carbon county said following Cheney’s censure, according to the Associated Press

Cheney had defended her vote to impeach Trump and said she was “compelled by the oath” she “swore to the Constitution.”

The Star-Tribune reported that Cheney’s role as the vice chairwoman of the House select committee has also garnered criticism from her party. 

“To further her own personal political agenda, Representative Liz Cheney has not only caused massive disruption, distraction, and division within the House Republican Conference, but has also willingly, happily, and energetically joined forced with and proudly pledged allegiance to democrat Speaker of the House Pelosi, as a means of serving her own personal interests while ignoring the interests, needs, and expectations of Wyoming Republicans,” the Wyoming GOP’s resolution to oust her as a Republican said, the Star-Tribune reported. 

On Saturday, Sen. Ted Cruz, a Trump loyalist, suggested Cheney should run as a Democrat in the 2024 presidential elections. 

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McConnell told Cheney to stop criticizing Trump, warning it could hurt the GOP in the 2022 midterms: book

Rep. Liz Cheney shakes hands with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell as they await the start of President Joe Biden's first address to a joint session of Congress on April 28, 2021.
Rep. Liz Cheney shakes hands with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell as they await the start of President Joe Biden’s first address to a joint session of Congress on April 28, 2021.

  • McConnell told Cheney to stop criticizing Trump, warning that her stance could hurt the GOP in 2022.
  • Cheney texted McConnell in May 2021 and said he’d made a mistake by blocking a bipartisan Jan. 6 commission.
  • Her text referenced a statue of Clio, the “Muse of History,” that sits in the US Capitol.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told Rep. Liz Cheney to stop criticizing former President Donald Trump, warning her that it could not only hurt the Republican Party’s chances in the 2022 midterms but also damage her own reelection prospects.

That’s according to ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl’s forthcoming book, “Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show,” a copy of which was obtained by Insider in advance of its Tuesday release.

In late May, Senate Republicans voted down the creation of a bipartisan commission to investigate the January 6 storming of the US Capitol.

“After careful consideration, I’ve made the decision to oppose the House Democrats’ slanted and unbalanced proposal for another commission to study the events of January 6,” McConnell said on the Senate floor on May 19.

Following the vote, Cheney sent McConnell a text message telling the Senate’s top Republican that she thought he’d made a mistake. According to the book, her text referenced Greek mythology, and one of the oldest pieces of artwork that sits in the Capitol.

“Historian David McCullough has described the statue of Clio, the Muse of History, standing over the North door and Statuary Hall. She takes notes in her book, reminding all of us that our words will be measured by history,” Cheney wrote in her text to McConnell, according to Karl’s book.

Clio, the “Muse of History,” part of the Car of History Clock in Statuary Hall at the US Capitol on October 11, 2006.
Clio, the “Muse of History,” part of the Car of History Clock in Statuary Hall at the US Capitol on October 11, 2006.

McConnell apparently did not respond that day. He called Cheney a month later to tell her to stop criticizing the former president, Karl wrote.

McConnell reportedly told the Wyoming Republican that it was time to move on, and that her continued public stance against Trump would hurt Republicans in the 2022 midterm elections and potentially imperil her own reelection in Wyoming.

McConnell is supporting Cheney’s reelection effort and in May told Fox News that she is a “leader of deep conviction.”

But, by the time McConnell issued his warning to Cheney, her public condemnation of Trump had already cost her a position among House GOP leaders. Cheney also went on to draw a Trump-endorsed primary challenger in Harriet Hageman, a former family friend.

Cheney now serves as the Republican vice chair of a House select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol attack. The group was created by House Democrats after an unsuccessful attempt to establish a bipartisan commission to probe the insurrection. The committee has issued dozens of subpoenas to associates of Trump and sought the indictment of Steve Bannon, who on Monday was arrested by the FBI on charges of criminal contempt of Congress after refusing to cooperate with the committee.

McConnell’s office did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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