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House GOP ousts Trump critic Liz Cheney from top post

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WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans ousted Rep. Liz Cheney from her post as the chamber’s No. 3 GOP leader on Wednesday, punishing her after she repeatedly rebuked former President Donald Trump for his false claims of election fraud and his role in inciting the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.

Meeting behind closed doors for less than 20 minutes, GOP lawmakers used a voice vote to remove the Wyoming congresswoman from her leadership post, the latest evidence that challenging Trump can be career-threatening.

She was Congress’ highest-ranking Republican woman, a daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, and her removal marked a jarring turnabout to what’s been her fast rise within the party.

Cheney has refused to stop repudiating Trump and defiantly signaled after the meeting that she intended to use her overthrow to try pointing the party away from him.

“I will do everything I can to ensure that the former president never again gets anywhere near the Oval Office,” she told reporters.

Cheney’s fate had been clear for some time with Trump, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and No. 2 GOP leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana all arrayed against her. GOP lawmakers complained that Cheney’s offense wasn’t her view of Trump but her persistence in publicly expressing it, undermining the unity they want party leaders to display in advance of next year’s elections, when they hope to win House control.

Even so, stripping Cheney, 54, of her leadership job stood as a striking, perhaps defining moment for the GOP.

One of the nation’s two major parties was in effect declaring an extraordinary requirement for admission to its highest ranks: fealty to, or at least silence about, Trump’s lie that he lost his November reelection bid due to widespread fraud. In states around the country, officials and judges of both parties found no evidence to support Trump’s claims that extensive illegalities caused his defeat.

Cheney’s replacement was widely expected to be Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., who entered the House in 2015 at age 30, then the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. Stefanik owns a more moderate voting record than Cheney but has evolved into a vigorous Trump defender who’s echoed some of his unfounded claims about widespread election cheating.

It was initially unclear when the separate vote on Cheney’s replacement would occur.

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Associated Press

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