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Liz Cheney’s role on Jan. 6 committee grows after GOP pulls participation

WASHINGTON — In May, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., was stripped of her role as the third-ranking Republican in the House by fellow party members who said they had tired of her frequent and vocal opposition to former President Donald Trump’s false claims of massive election fraud, as well as her vote to impeach him for inciting the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Just two months later, Cheney’s stature is rising again, this time as the first Republican named to the House select committee charged with investigating that Jan. 6 attack. While her participation has triggered more attacks from Trump and others within her own party, she’s drawing strong reviews from Democrats who praise her work ethic and contributions to the committee thus far.

After Cheney was appointed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the committee, her role was always meant to send a message of bipartisanship. But when House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., pulled his own Republican appointees this week, Cheney’s role has only grown, Democratic aides and lawmakers told NBC News.

She won’t be alone — Pelosi on Sunday added another Trump critic, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., to the panel in an effort to bulk up Republican participation — but her role will still be distinct.

“She will definitely have an elevated role and an amplified voice,” Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., a member of the select committee, said in an interview.

He said Cheney speaks for millions of Americans, including Republicans, who are looking for answers to many lingering questions about Jan. 6. “She comes in with a lot of credibility and legitimacy,” he said.

Cheney remains a steadfast opponent of House Democrats on most fronts as well as a vocal and frequent critic of President Joe Biden’s policy agenda, including major issues of taxes, immigration, abortion, national security and government spending.

But she has joined the Democrats on the Jan. 6 committee seamlessly, those members say, gaining trust that is rarely found across the political aisle, especially after the attack on the Capitol. She attends Zoom and in-person preparation meetings and has displayed an impressive level of commitment, knowledge and a “ferocious” work ethic.

“If you close your eyes, in our meetings, our Zooms, you wouldn’t be able to distinguish which voice she was,” committee member Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., said. “That’s the truth. We’re all talking about next steps and process and what we want to get out of this, and she’s been a committed partner in that.”

The members have also been in regular contact through a group text established by the panel’s chairman, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss. One Democratic member called her “brilliant.”

“In the meetings that we’ve had thus far, she is very determined to get to the truth, and operates in a very no-nonsense fashion,” Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said of Cheney.

She has joined the group for two meetings in Pelosi’s office and spoken with her on the phone at least once, when Pelosi offered her a position on the committee. Cheney accepted the position but told Pelosi she couldn’t go to the news conference announcing the picks because she had to take her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, to the doctor, a source familiar with the conversation said.

Before Jan. 6, it would have been unimaginable to think that the most powerful Democrat in Congress, known for her political prowess and progressive résumé, would tap a deeply conservative, politically astute and Teflon-tough Republican politician who also happens to be the daughter of a vice president that Democrats bitterly battled for decades.

But the interests of the two women have merged with their public insistence that vital questions about the attack on their place of work must still be answered.

That connection was strengthened this week when Cheney came to Pelosi’s defense after the speaker refused to accept two of McCarthy’s committee selections — Reps. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Jim Banks, R-Ind. — with Cheney insisting the investigation “must go forward” and declaring she is “absolutely dedicated and committed to making sure that this investigation holds those accountable who did this and ensures that it never happens again.”

“She resonated with Speaker Pelosi this week because both of them are, you know, women in a male-dominated profession who are not going to be pushed around,” Raskin said.

Pelosi’s rejection of the two Republicans is what led to McCarthy pulling all of his appointees, forgoing GOP representation, except for Cheney.

Pelosi even toasted Cheney. In one meeting with the committee members, Pelosi raised a glass of water, saying, “Let us salute Liz Cheney for her courage.”

Cheney has little in common with most of her Democratic colleagues.

Raskin, a constitutional lawyer and professor, and Cheney have vastly different perspectives about constitutional law and issues of war and the role of government. But they, too, have found common ground.

Raskin said that during a recent phone conversation between the two, Cheney asked him a question about First Amendment law on behalf of her son who is entering law school. Raskin, who lost his son, who was also in law school, to suicide this past winter, said he’s going to work on the answer this weekend and that the discussion touched him.

“I’m somebody who completely mixes my political life and commitments with my family life,” Raskin said. “Our kids have always been part of what we’re doing, and I think that, you know, her kids are also very much on her mind and in her heart during this time.”

Her district went for Trump by almost 44 points, while Raskin’s district went for Biden by more than 40.

Cheney has already put her stamp on the committee. She has requested that a Republican adviser be hired and has requested former Virginia Rep. Denver Riggleman, a source familiar with the committee’s discussions said. Riggleman was defeated in a primary during the 2020 election cycle and has since gathered extensive research on extremism.

“I think she brings a very important perspective, and I think she brings a conservative stature and pedigree that will be valued,” Schiff said of Cheney.

Because the committee is still in the beginning stages, its members have not yet divvied up roles or assignments. But members point to her background in national security as an asset in helping understand domestic terrorism and extremism.

Unsurprisingly, Republican members have distanced themselves from her as an outlier in the GOP.

“I think she’s put herself on a little bit of an island,” Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, said of Cheney.

But living in House Republican exile seems to be her only punishment for the time being. McCarthy had earlier warned his members that anyone taking a select committee post from Pelosi could be putting their other committee assignments at risk. So far he has not acted on that threat.

Asked how Republicans should interact with Cheney, McCarthy said, “The way we interact with any Democrat in the process.”

Cheney’s participation is unlikely to win her further support among Republican voters. Trump has made his desire to see her defeated in a GOP primary clear, and at least a half-dozen Republicans in Wyoming have stated their intention to run. But she’s raised more than $3 million for her re-election bid since Jan. 6 and members of the committee say she seems undeterred.

“Liz Cheney feels the urgency of this task in her bones,” Raskin said. “She was there on Jan. 6, and she has not suppressed her memories of profound danger.”

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Pop mogul Simon Cowell was a racing flop with ‘awful’ £35,000 horse he owned with Ant and Dec – that didn’t win a penny

SIMON COWELL conquered the music world – but his foray into racing ended in disaster with an ‘awful’ £35,000 horse he owned with Ant and Dec.

The music mogul, 62, has done it all with bands like One Direction, Little Mix and solo acts Olly Murs and James Arthur, to name but a few.

Cowell owned an 'awful' £35,000 horse with Ant and Dec - but the runner didn't win a single penny in six races

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Cowell owned an ‘awful’ £35,000 horse with Ant and Dec – but the runner didn’t win a single penny in six racesCredit: PA:Press Association
Cowell remains a massive racing fan and loves Royal Ascot and the Epsom Derby

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Cowell remains a massive racing fan and loves Royal Ascot and the Epsom Derby

His Syco label – plus shows such as Britain’s Got Talent – have dominated the entertainment industry and brought him an estimated net worth of £385m.

A lover of Royal Ascot and the Epsom Derby, he looked perfectly poised to strike a knockout blow in the world of thoroughbreds.

But it turns out his runner was far from No1 in the charts – and never even finished better than fifth during a doomed six-race career.

Things looked promising at the start.

Named It’s A Yes From Me, the runner was trained with the respected James Fanshawe and sent off at 8-1 for his first race in June 2014.

But coming last of five by 13-and-a-half lengths was unfortunately about as good as it got for the gelding.

A month’s rest followed before he was sent off at 40-1 in a six-furlong sprint at Doncaster.

But there he could only manage fifth again, and it was same at Redcar the next month.

‘Dreadfully slow’

By October that year – with further finishes of sixth and tenth – It’s A Yes From Me came second-last in a one-mile race at Kempton.

One analysis of the race warned punters the horse was ‘one to tread carefully’ with.

Well, Cowell and Ant and Dec took that advice to heart as they never raced him again.

The horse was penniless from six races, never finishing high enough to recoup some of that £35,000 investment.

It’s doubtful Cowell, with hundreds of millions in the bank, lost any sleep over that.

But Ant and Dec revealed just how bad things has got with the horse during an interview last year.

Dec said of It’s A Yes From Me: “It was awful, it was a dreadfully slow horse.

“It wasn’t a racehorse it was just a horse, because it didn’t race.

“Every time we got to the BGT studio Simon would say, ‘I keep paying stable fees on this horse, but I’ve never seen it run’.”

Cowell originally wanted to name the nag after himself, but they settled on It’s A Yes From Me when they bought it in 2013.

‘It was awful’

Dec revealed its eventual fate: “I think it got rehomed.”

Of course it’s not all been bad for Cowell at the races.

He was one of the exclusive few at the Epsom Derby in June, having a great time with partner Lauren Silverman and Piers Morgan.

And two weeks later he was at Royal Ascot – where he first discovered his love of racing.

Cowell told SunSport’s Matt Chapman during a chat at Epsom: “I’ve got my son Eric with me today.

“My mum and dad years ago used to take me to Ascot and I was probably about his age – seven or eight.

Cowell with partner Lauren at Epsom earlier this year

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Cowell with partner Lauren at Epsom earlier this yearCredit: Getty
It's A Yes From Me trails behind in last during one of his six races

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It’s A Yes From Me trails behind in last during one of his six races
The music supremo tweeted about his horse's bad start... which never got much better

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The music supremo tweeted about his horse’s bad start… which never got much better

Most read in Horse Racing

“So the fact I can now bring him to the races as well is brilliant. It brings back a lot of good memories.

“Making TV shows is my passion. But racing is actually my second passion.”

He hasn’t made that passion the money-maker his music label is, but don’t rule out Cowell staging his own comeback at the track in the near future.

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Commercial content notice: Taking one of the bookmaker offers featured in this article may result in a payment to The Sun. 18+. T&Cs apply. Begambleaware.org


Remember to gamble responsibly

A responsible gambler is someone who:

  • Establishes time and monetary limits before playing
  • Only gambles with money they can afford to lose
  • Never chases their losses
  • Doesn’t gamble if they’re upset, angry or depressed
  • Gamcare – www.gamcare.org.uk
  • Gamble Aware – www.begambleaware.org

Commercial content notice: Taking one of the bookmaker offers featured in this article may result in a payment to The Sun. 18+. T&Cs apply. Begambleaware.org


Remember to gamble responsibly

A responsible gambler is someone who:

  • Establishes time and monetary limits before playing
  • Only gambles with money they can afford to lose
  • Never chases their losses
  • Doesn’t gamble if they’re upset, angry or depressed
  • Gamcare – www.gamcare.org.uk
  • Gamble Aware – www.begambleaware.org
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Minnesota wildfire doubles in size, creates its own weather

A wildfire in northeastern Minnesota more than doubled in size Tuesday, growing to more than 19,000 acres, after it produced pyrocumulous clouds that generated lightning and even raindrops, fire officials said.

The Greenwood Fire’s growth, most of which happened Monday afternoon, prompted firefighters to leave McDougal Lake, about 80 miles south-southwest of Duluth, officials said. Authorities fear that structures might have been destroyed or damaged.

“We had crews embedded, and as this fire took off, it was quite an effort to communicate with forces on the ground so they could get out,” said federal fire incident spokesman Clark McCreedy.

The pullout was a success, and no injuries were reported. However, downed trees and necessary cleanup mean crews have been unable to assess damage around the lake, McCreedy said.

In addition to the firefighter pullout, 159 dwellings were evacuated Monday, according to an update from the National Wildfire Coordinating Group. Cabins, homes and recreational sites remain under threat, the group said.

Patrick Prochaska, a Minneapolis resident who built a cabin near McDougal Lake in 2012, told NBC affiliate KARE that he watched via security camera as flames mostly bypassed his property Monday, causing minor damage.

“I was feeling very scared,” he said. “At the same time, I could see that it was not doing anything to the house, and it was kind of reassuring.”

The fire in and north of Superior National Forest has mostly performed according to the weather, fire officials said. On Monday, with dry fuel on the ground and temperatures in the high 80s, it was an expanding inferno punctuated by strobes of lightning.

“The winds were drawn into the fire from all directions,” the incident’s fire behavior analyst, Michael Locke, said in a video update Tuesday. “It created what we call pyrocumulous clouds. And really high in the atmosphere … you’d see a thunderstorm, and in fact they went high enough to produce a few sprinkles of rain and even some lightning.”

Temperatures dipped into the mid-70s Tuesday, and the blaze mellowed. “The real story was cloud cover and cooler temperatures,” McCreedy said.

More of the same, and possibly rain, was in the forecast, giving officials hope that they might be able to close the book on an unusually active and dry fire season in Minnesota.

Experts have said climate change has set the stage for extreme weather, including an increase in the frequency and intensity of wildfires in the Northern Hemisphere.

Firefighters — 426 were assigned to the Greenwood event — have been confronted with “prolonged, severe drought,” making parts of Minnesota look like the fire-prone West this summer, McCreedy said.

The Greenwood Fire, which was detected Aug. 15, is believed to have been sparked by lightning.

So far, firefighters have scored no containment, and areas including McDougal Lake, Sand Lake and the Highway 2 corridor have been under mandatory evacuation orders. The federal Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness was closed Saturday “due to active and increasing fire activity, extreme drought, limited resources,” the National Forest Service said in a notice.

Officials set a goal of Sept. 1 for full containment.

“We’re probably going to get more of that moderating weather for the rest of the week,” McCreedy said. “That opens the door for fire crews to make progress on the ground.”

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Hiker survives grizzly bear attack at Denali National Park

A tourist from Indiana was attacked and injured by a grizzly bear at Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska on Monday night, park officials said.

The 55-year-old tourist, whose name was not released, was hiking alone in dense fog in the Thoroughfare Pass area when a mother bear and multiple cubs charged him from nearby bushes, the National Park Service said in a statement Tuesday.

He had puncture wounds to a calf, his left ribs and his left shoulder, the agency said.

The victim used bear spray that might have cut the attack short, the park service indicated. He walked 1.5 miles to a visitor’s center where “medical personnel” vacationing at Denali treated him as a park bus driver called 911, it said.

The hiker was taken to a medical center near the park before he was transferred to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, about 120 miles away, park officials said. He was stabilized at the Fairbanks hospital, they said.

“Due to the apparent defensive nature of this attack, there are no plans to locate the bear involved,” the park service said. “Female bears with cubs are naturally defensive of their young, especially when surprised. There is no indication that this bear is unusually dangerous.”

Grizzly bears are federally protected as a threatened species in the lower 48 states. According to the National Wildlife Federation, fewer than 1,500 grizzlies are left in the lower 48, but they thrive, comparatively, in Alaska, where they have a population of about 31,000.

The backcountry area of the attack is closed for one week as a precaution, the park service said.

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