Thursday’s hearing is something of a final stand in Congress for Republican Representatives Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois.
Ms. Cheney and Mr. Kinzinger broke sharply with their party after the Jan. 6, 2021, riot on the Capitol and emerged as probably the most outstanding Republicans condemning former President Donald J. Trump for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, pinning responsibility on him for the violence and pressing the case that the party must abandon him.
Their stance prompted Speaker Nancy Pelosi to decide on each of them to sit down on the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 assault — its only Republican members — and is a serious reason that neither will return to Congress next yr.
At nearly every turn because the riot, top Republicans — and voters — sought to drive Mr. Trump’s most vocal critics out of the party. Ms. Cheney was defeated in August by a Trump-backed primary challenger who beat her by 37 percentage points; Mr. Kinzinger opted against in search of re-election after Illinois Democrats adopted a recent congressional map that eliminated his district.
It’s a remarkable arc for 2 figures who would have once been seen as the long run of the party: Ms. Cheney, the daughter of a conservative dynasty, and Mr. Kinzinger, a hawkish Air Force veteran who served in Iraq.
As a substitute, marginalized by Republicans, they’ve used their perches on the select committee to carry up an unflattering mirror to their very own party, attempting to carve out recent political homes for themselves as anti-Trump conservatives.
Thursday’s hearing, the last announced by the committee, may very well be their final opportunity as sitting members of Congress to make a televised closing argument about how the lie of a stolen election threatens the long run of the Republican Party, and democracy itself.
But each Ms. Cheney and Mr. Kinzinger have vowed to proceed their efforts to thwart the ascent of any election denier to higher office, even from outside Congress.
Ms. Cheney has publicly flirted with running for president in 2024, telling Savannah Guthrie on NBC’s “Today” show days after her primary loss that she would make a choice “in the approaching months.”
Mr. Kinzinger has also hinted at higher ambitions, saying when he resigned that he was doing so partly to wage a broader nationwide fight, and adding, “This isn’t the tip of my political future, but the start.”
On Tuesday, he endorsed a gaggle of each Democratic and Republican candidates in races across the country focused on defeating election deniers. The endorsements included Democrats running for secretary of state in key states, reminiscent of Arizona and Michigan, where the Republican candidate has falsely claimed the 2020 election was stolen from Mr. Trump.