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House GOP
Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo.Tom Williams / CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

House conservatives want to oust Liz Cheney from GOP leadership

Some Republicans want to hold Liz Cheney accountable, but not Trump, and he's the one who incited a deadly insurrectionist attack on the U.S. Capitol.

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As the vote on Donald Trump's second impeachment drew closer this week, it was unclear how many, if any, House Republicans would vote with the Democratic majority. By late Tuesday, a few members had stepped up, including Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the #3 leader in the House Republican conference, who said, in reference to Trump's conduct, that there had "never been a greater betrayal by a president of the United States."

Not surprisingly, the vast majority of the Wyoming congresswoman's GOP colleagues disagreed. But this is no longer simply a matter of competing perspectives: as Politico reported, some of Trump's right-wing allies are taking steps to oust Cheney from her leadership post.

Members of the Freedom Caucus began circulating a petition Wednesday to force a special conference meeting so they could debate and vote on a resolution calling on Cheney to resign from her post.... "The conference ought to vote on that," Rep. Jim Jordan (Ohio), a co-founder of the arch-conservative caucus, said in the Capitol on Wednesday. "We ought to have a second vote."

There was a degree of irony to the circumstances: Jordan pushed back against impeachment this week by equating it with "cancel culture," and yet, after Cheney cast a vote he disagreed with, the Ohio Republican decided she's worthy of cancelation.

For her part, Cheney appeared unmoved yesterday, telling reporters, "I'm not going anywhere. This is a vote of conscience. It's one where there are different views in our conference. But our nation is facing an unprecedented, since the Civil War, constitutional crisis. That's what we need to be focused on. That's where our efforts and attention need to be."

If Jordan and his cohorts proceed with these plans, they'll need 20% of House Republicans to sign a petition to force a conference meeting, but as Politico's report added, a majority of the GOP conference "would need to agree to the resolution in order for it to be adopted."

Cheney, who was elected to her leadership post in November without an opponent, has allies, including Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.) -- the first House Republican to announce his support for Trump's impeachment this week -- who yesterday began circulating a pro-Cheney letter among members.

And while the intra-party drama is notable in its own right, it's the big picture that matters most: some House Republicans apparently want to hold Liz Cheney accountable, but not Trump, and he's the one who incited a deadly insurrectionist attack on the U.S. Capitol.