When we last checked in with Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the House Republican Conference chair, she was accusing House Democrats of “helping Vladimir Putin” by investigating the Russia scandal. And if you thought that was weird, wait until you see what the #3 Republican in the U.S. House said over the holiday weekend.
On ABC News’ “This Week,” Martha Raddatz asked Cheney about the back and forth between Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). The Republican congresswoman changed the subject:
“I think what is crucially important to remember here is that you had Strzok and Page, who were in charge of launching this investigation, and they were saying things like, ‘We must stop this president.’ ‘We need an insurance policy against this president.’
“That, in my view, when you have people that are in the highest echelons of the law enforcement of this nation saying things like that, that sounds an awful lot like a coup. And it could well be treason.”
Predictably, the American president took time out from his trip to Japan to express his satisfaction with Cheney’s comments.
That wasn’t surprising. Trump has been enthusiastic in accusing his detractors of “treason,” so I imagine the Republican was delighted to get some support, especially from a high-profile member of his party’s congressional leadership.
But that doesn’t make the over-the-top allegations against Peter Strzok and Lisa Page any less reckless.
For one thing, there’s literally no evidence of Strzok and Page having committed capital crimes. There are a handful of texts that have been stripped of context and made to seem controversial, but they do not a scandal make.
For another, Trump and Cheney must be sharing the same flawed dictionary, because neither of them seems to understand what “treason” means.
But pay particular attention to the observations former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance White shared with the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin over the holiday weekend: “I think what is crucially important to remember here is that two FBI agents can’t launch a coup against a president, even if they want to.”
Vance added. “Our system is set up so that independent judges must sign off on warrants and wiretaps. And given all the contact between the campaign and Russia, it would have been irresponsible for the FBI not to investigate… I have never heard a response from Trump to that point.”
Under the circumstances, it appears the president, whose authoritarian instincts and affection for dictators is well documented, would like to criminalize investigations into his alleged wrongdoing. Ideally, we’d see congressional leaders from both parties denouncing such efforts.
Instead, we see Liz Cheney doing the opposite.