Liz Cheney's closing argument: Election denialism is a cancer that threatens the country

Within about an hour of her posting the video below, this news started getting attention on Twitter.

There’s zero evidence as I write this that that incident has to do with the FBI searching Trump’s property but it’s a matter of record that some of his most febrile supporters reacted to the search this week with the most absurdly thuggish populist outburst America has seen since January 6. Chris Wray, a figure appointed by Trump, had to remind the public this morning amid a deluge of threats that trying to intimidate federal agents is “deplorable,” a word freighted with political meaning which he may or may not have intended.

Wray knows that the sort of person who brings a “thin blue line” flag to the Capitol and then uses it to beat cops during a riot isn’t to be taken lightly. Meanwhile, the judge who signed off on the search warrant for Mar-a-Lago is getting the usual treatment reserved for major Trump antagonists:

“This is the piece of sh*t judge who approved FBI’s raid on Mar-a-Lago,” a user wrote on the pro-Trump message board formerly known as TheDonald. “I see a rope around his neck.”

Responding, another user wrote: “Idgaf [I don’t give a f***] anymore. Name? Address? Put that sh*t all up on here.” Moments later, a different member replied with what appears to be Reinhart’s current address, phone numbers, previous addresses, and names of possible relatives.

In another post on the same message board, one user commented, “Let’s find out if he has children….where they go to school, where they live…EVERYTHING.”

Are those just online blowhards or do they mean business? After January 6, who’d want to gamble? Cheney hasn’t gambled: The Times reported recently that she’s “had a full-time Capitol Police security detail for nearly a year because of the threats against her — protection few rank-and-file lawmakers are assigned. She no longer provides advance notice about her Wyoming travel and, not welcome at most county and state Republican events, has turned her campaign into a series of invite-only House parties.”

Have no doubt that Trump enjoys every bit of that. From the time he speculated about “riots” in 2016 if he were denied the nomination to him musing to Mark Meadows on January 6 that maybe Mike Pence deserved to be hanged, nothing seems to gratify his narcissistic need for loyalty like seeing how far some his fans will go to exact revenge on those who’ve crossed him. That’s one of the many facets of his personality that resembles those of a mob boss. Another is forever worrying about who the stoolies around him might be:

Moreover, on at least a couple of occasions since May, the former president has wondered aloud if there were any Republicans visiting his clubs who could be “wearing a wire,” according to another person close to Trump and a different source familiar with the matter. Trump and his allies are baselessly floating the idea that federal agents could be guilty of “planting” incriminating evidence at his private resort. And the ex-president and several of his longtime advisers are trying to figure out if they have, in their terminology, a “mole” or a “rat” in Trump’s inner sanctum who is slipping his secrets to the feds…

One Trump adviser tells Rolling Stone that since Tuesday, MAGA loyalists have been asking to pass their suspicions to Trump, telling him not to trust certain individuals and to investigate them for possible contacts with federal authorities. “I’m getting a lot of messages saying [things like], ‘This guy must be the informant,’ and others … calling for the [former] president to start doing phone checks of his staff,” says the adviser. “To be honest, a lot of it feels like people trying to screw over the ones they don’t like [in Trumpworld].”

All of that provides an ironic backdrop for Cheney’s closing argument, a plea for sanity at a moment when any right-winger who wants a future in Republican politics or conservative media is compelled to screech about civil war or defunding the FBI because the DOJ came to the conclusion that Trump isn’t above the law. We don’t need to rehash Cheney’s anti-strategy strategy at this point: She gave up on getting reelected long ago and has since pivoted to using her platform as a public official to focusing voters’ attention on the threat Trump poses to the country’s civic traditions. Still, it’s bracing to see her continue to lean into that message at this particular moment, especially after fellow impeachers like Peter Meijer and Jaime Herrera Beutler went down to defeat in their own primaries. Meijer and Beutler tried to avoid the subject of their impeachment votes, resisting Trump’s attempt to turn their primaries into referendums on Republican voters’ absolute loyalty to him. Cheney has embraced it, though, believing correctly that Meijer’s and Beutler’s strategy was folly. If you’re going to be punished for trying to hold Trump accountable — and you are — you might as well go all the way and do him some damage.

She went all the way.

In lieu of an exit question, read Quin Hillyer’s argument for why she’s the proper conservative choice in Wyoming’s primary. Not the proper Republican one, knowing what “Republican” now entails, but the proper conservative one.

Trending on Hotair Video