By Leo Wolfson, Cowboy State Daily
Congressional candidate Harriet Hageman strongly criticized the committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol, calling its work an attempt to discredit former President Donald Trump and influence future elections.
“It’s clear that this is an effort to make sure that President Donald Trump is never able to run for presidential office again,” Hageman said on Newsmax on Tuesday. “That’s what this committee is about. This is a politicization of the congressional process.”
There have been no counter-proposals issued from any committee member offering alternative opinions to the committee’s majority consensus that Trump was connected to the Capitol riot.
Hageman’s opponent, U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, was selected by House Speaker Pelosi, D-California, for the panel.
“It isn’t for Liz Cheney to determine without any defense whatsoever that Donald Trump is guilty,” Hageman said. “We did not send her to Washington D.C. to be the judge and jury against Donald Trump.”
Hageman said Cheney should turn her attention to issues affecting Wyoming residents. She said the purpose of the committee is to distract from the failures of President Joe Biden’s administration.
“We support the America-first agenda, which she has not, and never has,” Hageman said. “That’s the real battle between Liz Cheney and the rest of Republicans and Donald Trump. Liz Cheney wants to make this all about Donald Trump. Donald Trump wasn’t there that day.”
Trump was in the vicinity of the Capitol earlier in the day, giving a speech many have said inspired his supporters to start rioting at the Capitol later in the day. Hageman said the people involved with the 2021 riot are being prosecuted and “rightfully so.”
During Thursday’s hearing, the third day of hearings, the committeefocused on the pressure Trump placed on former Vice President Mike Pence not to vote for certification of the election results. As president of the Senate, Pence could have cast a tie-breaking vote if needed.
During the testimony, evidence was also given that Trump ignored pleas made by his staffers to condemn the rally, and instead stoked the flames by attacking Pence on Twitter.
“What the President wanted the vice president to do was not just wrong. It was illegal and unconstitutional,” Cheney said.
More than a dozen former Trump staffers, including his daughter Ivanka Trump, have testified to the committee on the former President’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 elections. Donald Trump Jr., who appeared at two events with Hageman in Wyoming this week, gave testimony to the Committee last month. None of his testimony has been publicly aired at this point.
As she has in each of the previous two hearings in her role as vice chair, Cheney gave opening and closing remarks for the Committee on Thursday morning, referencing advice Trump was given on the election.
“An honorable man receiving the information and advice that Mr. Trump received from his campaign experts and his staff, a man who loved his country more than himself, would have conceded this election,” Cheney said. “Indeed, we know that a number of President Trump’s closest aides urged him to do so.”
Hageman, meanwhile, said Wyoming voters aren’t concerned with the Capitol riot, but rather with the skyrocketing inflation and high gas prices hitting the country.
“We know what happened on Jan. 6, but what this committee is not going to do is actually disclose what happened in terms of the failure in security,” she said.
It was disclosed during a committee hearing that Trump brought up the idea of bringing a large number of National Guard troops to be deployed in D.C. on the day of the rally. His recent claim that Pelosi rejected this idea has been disproven.
“He hit the nail on the head,” Hageman said, continuing to support Trump’s statement.
She said the committee will collapse like a “house of cards” when more details come out regarding what Pelosi, Cheney and the Democrats have done over the past year.
A variety of political action committees and Super PACs have supported Hageman in her campaign against Cheney, most prominently the Wyoming Values Super PAC, which has provided $562,224. The group has contributed $432,224 on behalf of Hageman and $130,000 directly against Cheney.
Super PACs spend money on behalf of candidates but cannot give money directly to them, while PACs can only give money directly to a candidate.
Wyoming Values was organized by James Blair and Andy Surabian. Blair is a Republican strategist from Florida while Surabian is a Massachusetts man who served as an advisor to Donald Trump Jr., who is the honorary chairman of their super PAC.
Surabian was subpoenaed to appear for and present documents to the Jan. 6 Committee.
The second largest fundraiser for Hageman has been the House Freedom Action super PAC, contributing $163,394 on behalf of her campaign. House Freedom Action is an arm of the conservative U.S. Congressional House Freedom Caucus. This group also runs the House Freedom Fund PAC, which has donated $35,193 to Hageman’s campaign.
The Club for Growth Action super PAC, which campaigned against Cheney in the summer of 2021 before Hageman entered the race, recently released a commercial on Hageman’s behalf. CFGA has spent $59,355 against Cheney.
The House Freedom Fund has endorsed some of the most conservative members of Congress in the country, including U.S. Reps. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, Scott Perry, R-Pennsylvania, Lauren Boebert, R-Colorado, and Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Georgia.
The biggest contributor to Cheney’s campaign has been the Great Task PAC, which has given $550,735 to her campaign. Great Task is based out of Cheyenne and managed by Beverly Shea. Cheney has received more than 10 times as much direct in PAC contributions as Hageman at $832,645. She has also received $79,500 from GOP leadership PACs and $12,900 from candidate committees.
Priorities USA Action, a left-wing hybrid PAC and super PAC, has spent $9,622 against Hageman.