Inside Thompson and Cheney’s Jan. 6 probe alliance — both genuine and strategic
In interviews with POLITICO, the Democrat and Republican leading the insurrection select committee revealed a surprisingly thriving partnership.
Bennie Thompson and Liz Cheney had never interacted one-on-one before a deadly insurrection thrust them onto the same political path.
But these days, the progressive raised in the segregated South and the conservative scion are inseparable as they lead the Democrat-driven investigation into the Capitol riot and former President Donald Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election. They call and text daily, often while darting between airport gates. When the select committee’s work is behind him, Thompson hopes to join Cheney for an elk hunt in her home state of Wyoming.
Unusual alliances are fairly common in Washington, despite its increasing gridlock and polarization. Thompson and Cheney are more than strange bedfellows, though — their partnership on the Jan. 6 panel is thriving to a degree that neither seems to have predicted. That give-and-take between the GOP’s most influential Trump critic and a respected lieutenant of Speaker Nancy Pelosi gives their probe a real shot at yielding results, despite a compressed timetable.
“This is really how a legislative committee should operate,” Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) said of the nine-member Jan. 6 panel he also sits on. “We do not engage in constant partisan crossfire and polemical attacks on one another.”
The collegiality between the committee’s two Republicans and seven Democrats, Raskin added, “does give you a glimpse of what we could do if we didn’t have one wheel stuck in the mud.”
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