This story originally was published by Real Clear Wire
By Newt Gingrich
Real Clear Wire
It’s becoming increasingly clear that U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney was dishonest, manipulative, and destructive while serving on the Jan. 6 Committee.
A lawsuit filed by my friend and long-time attorney Stefan Passantino on Dec. 20, 2023 lays it out.
I know both participants well. I entered Congress in 1978 with Liz Cheney’s father, Dick Cheney. I watched Liz Cheney become a competent, effective implementor of American policy around the world. Few things have made me sadder than watching her drift into an anti-Trump fanaticism – which ultimately convinced her that breaking the rules, destroying innocent people, and pandering fake news were justified behaviors.
Years later, I got to know Stefan Passantino. Since 1998, he has been legal counsel for me and for our companies. He is a thoughtful, scholarly, and deeply ethical attorney. Passantino represents his clients with integrity and a passionate commitment to protecting them and seeing justice done.
I was proud of Passantino when he served as Deputy White House Counsel focusing on federal compliance and government ethics. We could not have imagined how he would later be smeared and lied about by Congresswoman Liz Cheney and the Jan. 6 Committee.
Liz Cheney and the committee’s ongoing process of dishonesty, violating attorney-client privilege, and leaking to friendly leftwing media was a total perversion of the congressional system. It was a dishonest effort to destroy innocent people of integrity with one-sided lies and smears.
Fortunately, Chairman Barry Loudermilk, who leads the House Administration Subcommittee on Oversight (on which I served for over a decade), has doggedly looked into the Jan. 6 Committee’s lies and manipulations. In the coming months, we will be shocked at the stunning dishonesty Chairman Loudermilk will reveal.
Passantino represented several witnesses before the Jan. 6 Committee with no problems. He represented Cassidy Hutchinson with precisely the same integrity. In fact, he represented Hutchinson through multiple interviews covering about 20 hours.
Hutchinson was a desirable witness for the Committee, because she entered the White House in her early 20s and became Special Assistant to the President and Coordinator for Legislative Affairs. She reported to Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and had an office in the West Wing just a few feet from the Oval Office.
Liz Cheney apparently decided Hutchinson would make a star witness – if only she would say the right things.
In an amazingly inappropriate and unethical move, Liz Cheney herself (along with a small number of senior staff) approached Hutchinson after her second committee interview without informing her Passantino. Liz Cheney then called Cassidy in for a third interview, with Passantino again serving as counsel, with neither Cassidy nor Cheney ever informing Passantino that they had been speaking without his knowledge. Contacting Hutchinson without informing Passantino was clearly unethical, and it appears as if Liz Cheney instructed Cassidy not to tell Passantino they had spoken. This was a profound breach of legal ethics. Liz Cheney knew this well. She earned her law degree from the University of Chicago.
As a senior member of Congress (and the national media’s anointed hero), Liz Cheney approached and sought to manipulate an isolated, frightened woman in her mid-20s. Does that sound appropriate? I suspect Liz Cheney knew she was doing something wrong because she apparently did not tell her fellow committee members.
After being manipulated by Cheney, Hutchinson dismissed Passantino and hired a new lawyer who was eager to cooperate with the committee. Suddenly, Hutchinson’s testimony started changing. As Chairman Loudermilk has said:
“Cassidy Hutchinson tried to explain her dramatic changes in testimony by blaming her initial lawyer, Stefan Passantino. Our discovery of Cassidy’s errata sheet showing just how substantially her story changed, raises serious concerns about her credibility. Until now, her version of the story was the only one.”
As John Solomon at Just the News reported:
“As the Jan. 6 congressional investigation rushed to a close in 2022, one of the House Democrats’ star witnesses waived her attorney-client privilege with her first lawyer in a move that could now open the door for House Republicans to question both her and her attorney, correspondence obtained by Just the News shows. Former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony played a large role in shaping House Democrats’ final report sharply criticizing Donald Trump for the Capitol riot that ensued on Jan. 6, 2021, but Republicans on the House Administration’s Subcommittee on Oversight led by Chairman Barry Loudermilk recently discovered an errata sheet she submitted to Congress that made substantial changes to her account midway through the Democrat-led inquiry. Errata sheets are routinely provided to deponents and witnesses by stenographers to allow for correction of typographic errors and dropped words.”
The Jan. 6 Committee did everything it could to avoid being reviewed. It has not released transcripts of many interviews. It claims to have destroyed some videos of interviews. In one deliberately opaque move, the committee seems to have sent some of its documents to various other agencies, making them difficult to gather.
Further, the committee called in thousands of witnesses to interview. Yet, it never interviewed Passantino. This is the biggest clue that Liz Cheney and the committee were interested in promoting their narrative rather than finding the truth.
The Republican House has since brought the Jan. 6 Committee materials back from the National Archives, and they are being studied by the Committee on House Administration. Some surprisingly bad examples of rule-breaking and simply lying to the American people are beginning to emerge.
Passantino’s courage in bringing his lawsuit will accelerate the process of learning just how bad the Jan. 6 Committee was – and reveal the depth of its most aggressive members’ dishonesty and manipulation.
History will not grant Liz Cheney or the Jan. 6 Committee members the profile in courage they wanted. It will record a profile in deception, distortion, and vengeance.
I have no doubt Stefan Passantino will emerge from this lawsuit with his integrity intact and reputation restored. I can’t say the same for Liz Cheney.
For more commentary from Newt Gingrich, visit Gingrich360.com.
This article was originally published by RealClearPolicy and made available via RealClearWire.