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Liz Cheney: Jan. 6 Committee Won’t Be Intimidated

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By U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, guest columnist

I keep on my desk a copy of the oath my great-great-grandfather signed when he re-enlisted in the Union Army in 1863. Like the oath given by all those who serve in government and every member of our armed forces, Samuel Fletcher Cheney swore to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic.” Generations of Americans have sworn that same oath and given their lives to defend the Constitution and our nation.

Last week, former Vice President Mike Pence spoke about the events of Jan. 6, 2021. President Trump was “wrong,” he said, to insist that Mr. Pence or any vice president could “overturn” the election by refusing to count certified slates of electoral votes. That notion was, as Mr. Pence said, “un-American.” What Mr. Trump had insisted that Mr. Pence do on Jan. 6 was not only un-American, it was unconstitutional and illegal.

Article II and the 12th Amendment govern how the nation selects the president. Congress doesn’t select the president; the states do. Every state in the union now selects a presidential candidate through a popular vote. And every state identifies the manner in which disputes regarding the election are addressed under state law.

Those laws set forth a process for challenging an election when concerns arise, including potential recounts or audits and an opportunity to litigate disputed issues in court. When courts have resolved any election challenges, and the election result has been certified by the governor of a state, the election is over. That is the rule of law.

The 12th Amendment also leaves little doubt that Congress must count the certified electoral votes it receives from the states: “The president of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted. The person having the greatest number of votes for president, shall be the president.”

This provision doesn’t say, for example, Congress must count certified electoral votes unless it has concerns about fraud allegations, or unless it disagrees with the outcome of state or federal court litigation. And the vice president, as president of the Senate presiding over the count, can’t simply refuse to count a state’s certified slate of electoral votes—either under the Constitution or under the Electoral Count Act of 1887.

Republicans used to advocate fidelity to the rule of law and the plain text of the Constitution. In 2020, Mr. Trump convinced many to abandon those principles. He falsely claimed that the election was stolen from him because of widespread fraud.

While some degree of fraud occurs in every election, there was no evidence of fraud on a scale that could have changed this one. As the Select Committee will demonstrate in hearings later this year, no foreign power corrupted America’s voting machines, and no massive secret fraud changed the election outcome.

Almost all members of Congress know this—although many lack the courage to say it out loud. Mr. Trump knew it too, from his own campaign officials, from his own appointees at the Justice Department, and from the dozens of lawsuits he lost.

Yet, Mr. Trump ignored the rulings of the courts and launched a massive campaign to mislead the public. Our hearings will show that these falsehoods provoked the violence on Jan. 6. Mr. Trump’s lawyers have begun to pay the price for spreading these lies.

For example, Rudy Giuliani’s license to practice law has been suspended because he “communicated demonstrably false and misleading statements to courts, lawmakers and the public at large in his capacity as lawyer for former President Donald J. Trump, ” in the words of a New York appellate court.

The Jan. 6 investigation isn’t only about the inexcusable violence of that day: It is also about fidelity to the Constitution and the rule of law, and whether elected representatives believe in those things or not. One member of the House Freedom Caucus warned the White House in the days before Jan. 6 that the president’s plans would drive “a stake in the heart of the federal republic.” That was exactly right.

Those who do not wish the truth of Jan. 6 to come out have predictably resorted to attacking the process—claiming it is tainted and political.

Our hearings will show this charge to be wrong. We are focused on facts, not rhetoric, and we will present those facts without exaggeration, no matter what criticism we face.

My friend the late Charles Krauthammer once said: “The lesson of our history is that the task of merely maintaining strong and sturdy the structures of a constitutional order is unending, the continuing and ceaseless work of every generation.” Every generation of Americans has fulfilled its duty to support and defend the Constitution. That responsibility now falls to us.

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Sam Galeotos: A Call for Civility and Leadership

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By Sam Galeotos, guest columnist

Just like many of you, I’ve been busier than heck lately. Let’s face it, we are all busy, and there’s a lot going on around us. Some of which we should be paying very close attention to. Through all the hustle and bustle, I couldn’t help but notice one of the most disappointing episodes unfold right here in the great State of Wyoming over the past few weeks. 

Apparently by all accounts, a Park County Republican Precinct Committeeman by the name of Troy Bray, sent one of the most despicable, vulgar and repugnant pieces of correspondence to State Senator Tara Nethercott (Laramie County). Within the letter, Mr. Bray suggested Ms. Nethercott kill herself, and referred to her in the most vulgar of terms any man could use toward a woman. I will not repeat them here, but you can easily find them with a simple search of the internet.

I want to draw everyone’s attention to this matter, as it appears many folks are unaware of it occurring, and there are others, whom I believe should be more aggressively pressing for the censure and resignation of Mr. Bray, based on his conduct as a precinct committeeman.

This is truly a Watershed moment for the Wyoming Republican Party, and for that matter the State of Wyoming.

Mr. Bray’s vulgar communication is indicative of the decorum we are witnessing outside of Wyoming, it is unacceptable behavior measured by any standard, and is something we should not tolerate here in Wyoming. Political or otherwise.

Bray should resign his Precinct position immediately. After being called out for his inexcusable behavior, Mr. Bray says he has apologized to Ms. Nethercott, but states he will not be bullied into resigning by what he calls “leftist/RINO class scum”.

What should be even more bothersome to state republicans, is what I would call a tepid response at best, by Republican Park County Chairman Martin Kimmett and Republican State Party Chairman Frank Eathorne. In fairness, both have stated they do not support Mr. Brays comments, but qualify their response by stating he is in an elected position and they can do nothing about terminating his service as a precinct committeeman. I beg to differ, since he will not resign, they should censure Mr. Bray as soon as possible. History is full of individuals in elected positions stepping out of line and ultimately resigning due to pressure from their constituents. Kimmett, Eathorne, and other state party leaders need to step into the public venue with a strong call for Mr. Bray to resign, and distance himself from the party. Let’s hear it loud and clear Republican Party leaders. Remember the “fish rots from the head down!”

There is another troubling scenario that causes concern. It has been reported, that through his Facebook posts Bray received Facebook “liked” support from three legislators: Senator Troy McKeown (Campbell County), Representatives Dan Laurson (Powell), and Robert Wharff (Evanston). Without judgement, I would ask these men what they intended in their posts?

I should point out the quick response from Senate President Dan Dockstader and House Speaker Eric Barlow, who both quickly denounced Brays actions.

No matter what side of the aisle, or whether you are considered conservative or liberal, every Wyoming resident should be concerned with this type of behavior, political or otherwise.

Please join me in encouraging a more forceful cry for censure and resignation from Kimmett, Eathorne, statewide elected officials, legislators, and the Park County community.

I would also highly encourage the Laramie County GOP, where Ms. Nethercott is a respected representative, along with other republican county committees, to standup and demand censure and resignation.

Pursuing accountability for this current situation will discourage similar episodes in the future, and go a long way toward promoting civil debate as a continuing standard in Wyoming.

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Dennis Sun: County Fairs Are The Best Time Of Year For Ag Folks

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By Dennis Sun, columnist

In Wyoming and across the region, it’s the start of county fair season. I like to think of this as a time of celebration for agriculture. 

This celebration is taking place in the show barns, show rings and the 4-H and FFA livestock auctions. It is serious business and the level of anxiety is a result of many months of hard work preparing for the county fairs. While not all of the competition consists of livestock, the livestock shows attract the most attention. 

It is important to remember this is a business for youth involved in these livestock shows. They need to acquire new animals for the next summer’s county fairs, buy feed and supplies and save some for college. In truth, it is a business that prepares these young people for the sometimes harsh world of being a grownup. They learn work ethic as a way to succeed at their goals.

County fairs are also a social time for all. The youth, while busy with animals, do have some down time to enjoy friends and meet new ones. The parents have been planning and making sure everything is perfect to have time to visit. Grandparents have the most fun of all – they come to watch, visit with others and to brag on their perfect grandkids. It is a family ritual that happens every summer.

County fairs are an introduction to life – they show hard work and a good attitude usually pay off. While in a show ring, youth exhibitors and their animal have to work as one. The youth also realize that no matter how much training and time spent, an animal is still an animal and one has to be prepared for the unexpected. That is life as grownups know it.

The youth also realize the judge in the show ring has a job to do and as everyone and their animals walks into the show ring, they all have an equal chance to do well, but the judge is human and they have their likes and dislikes. They are not robots, but at that moment, they are running the show and deserve respect. While most youth don’t realize it, most judges have been in their shoes during their youth. 

Showing livestock at county fairs is an opportunity for youth, and some day they will look back at the experience and realize what it taught them about life and business, and they will figure out the fun and games were not the most important part.  

In my youth, I was a member of FFA, but never showed any livestock, so I’m not a creditable source on this subject. But I do realize, and have for a long time, what I missed. Before I became associated with the Roundup, I didn’t have a clue of the importance of showing livestock or the opportunities involved. 

 I encourage everyone to read the Code of the West – this is what showing livestock teaches youth. 

We at the Wyoming Livestock Roundup wish all youth showing livestock success at the county and state fairs.

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Bill Sniffin: On The Road In Wyoming: Folks, This Is Construction Season

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By Bill Sniffin, publisher

Confused Asian drivers, crazy drunk van drivers, monstrous RVs, nervous semi drivers, and thousands (perhaps millions) of tourists were among the highlights of a recent trip to Jackson and Pinedale.

We were headed north on Highway 287 to Jackson to attend the open house for the new home of the Hughes Charitable Foundation. But a lot happened before we got there.

For starters, we groaned as a flagman stopped us just as a huge line of cars ahead of us headed off in the distance behind a pilot car. This was barely 8 miles from home. Was this a harbinger of the kind of trip we would endure?

The nice flagman was Russell Warren of Riverton, who was glad to get a construction job close to home. He told us about a van full of drunks who had almost run him down an hour earlier.  They drove right past him, cursed him, and flipped him off. A close call.

While we were talking, a late model car also zipped right by him. 

The car stopped about one-quarter mile up the road and sat there. Finally, a young boy jumped out and came running toward Russell. Was this a kidnapped kid? 

Russell went off to meet with the people in the car and then had an animated chat with the little boy.  

“Well, that’s a first,” Russell told us. 

He said it was an Asian family whose members could not read the traffic signs and could not speak English. The little boy was the only one who could barely speak English, so the family sent him back to the flagman to find out what was up.

A few minutes after that, an old van went flying by us on the right in the borrow pit driving fast and honking.  

“Oh no,” Russell said. “There goes that carload of drunks again.”  

He had turned in their license plate so our assumption was they would soon be off the road. 

And then the pilot car showed up. We said our good-byes to Russell and I turned to Nancy and speculated, “Wow, what kind of trip is this going to be if this all happened now at the beginning?”

Despite a couple more construction areas, the trip to Jackson was eventful only because of its beauty. That is one of the most scenic drives in America.  We love going over Togwotee Pass.

Entering Jackson, the traffic was busy but not as bad as I expected.

We stayed at the 49er Inn, thanks to owner Steve Meadows, a longtime friend from our time in the tourism industry.

We walked up to the Jackson Town Square and got our fix at the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar. Chatted with some folks from Wisconsin who just loved Yellowstone. 

The open house at the Hughes Foundation was fun. These folks have donated over $4 million to Wyoming projects.  Liz Brimmer, formerly of Jackson and now of Lander, is a member of their board. 

Wayne and Molly Hughes have had a home in Jackson for some time but recently moved their entire operation to Wyoming. 

It was fun to re-connect with two former Jackson mayors, Mark Barron and Sara Flitner, at the event.  Bill Scarlett, who I remember as a young boy, was there all grown up.  Radio man Scott Anderson and attorney Jim Coleman offered some great conversation. Sadek Darwiche also was there. His family owns the Hotel Jackson, which is fantastic.  The Hughes event was a nice affair.

Fremont County Native Americans Scott Ratliff and Allison Sage were there with an outstanding drum group.  The Hughes foundation was a major funder of a new Indian Veterans Memorial on Highway 287 at the south entrance to Fort Washakie.  The memorial is very impressive. The foundation also funded Sage’s suicide  prevention group.

Afterward, we headed back to the square and ran into Jim Waldrop at the venerable Wort Hotel and its famous Silver Dollar Bar.  Had some good food there.

While in Jackson Hole, we rode the gondola up the mountain at Teton Village  and enjoyed an amazing view of the valley and various para-gliders sailing off into the abyss.  Although I was a private plane pilot for 30 years, not sure I could ever do that.

We decided to go back to Lander by way of Pinedale, where we joined Dave and Peggy Bell for lunch at the Wind River Brewery.  Nice place with great food (and drink).

Dave is a wonderful photographer and his first coffee table book is coming out very soon. We talked books a bit and then headed up to their cabin on Fremont Lake.  We rode Sea-Doo’s all over the lake. It was a calm day and it was terrific fun. Hope to do that again some time.

One of my favorite places is South Pass on the way back home to Lander. It was at its best on this day and we got home with lots of memories and some new experiences about driving in Wyoming.

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