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Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the No. 3 Republican on the House, tweeted Monday that anyone promoting "THE BIG LIE" that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump is "turning their back on the rule of law" and "poisoning our democratic system."

Why it matters: Top Republicans are now openly suggesting that Cheney could be removed from her leadership position because of her criticism of Trump, who remains the most popular figure in the GOP. Cheney was one of ten House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

  • In February, the House GOP conference held a secret ballot about whether to retain Cheney in her current role. She won overwhelmingly, 145-61.
  • Since then, Cheney has increasingly been at odds with other top House Republicans, including Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), about whether Trump should be a part of the GOP's future.

What they're saying: "This idea that you just disregard President Trump is not where we are, and, frankly, he has a lot to offer still," Scalise told Axios Friday.

The other side: "If a prerequisite for leading our conference is continuing to lie to our voters, then Liz is not the best fit,” Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio), who also voted to impeach Trump, told The Hill last week.

  • "Liz isn't going to lie to people. Liz is going to say what she believes. She’s going to stand on principle. And if that's going to be distracting for folks, she's not the best fit. I wish that weren’t the case," Gonzalez added.

The big picture: The divisions between the pro-Trump GOP and Cheney, as well as her allies like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), threaten to derail the Republicans' chances of winning control of Congress in the 2022 midterms.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct the attribution of a quote to Rep. Steve Scalise.

Go deeper

May 4, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: GOP wants to replace Cheney with another woman

Via Twitter

House Republicans are moving closer to ousting Conference Chair Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) from leadership, and are already considering replacements — including Reps. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), Ann Wagner (R-Mo.) and Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.), congressional aides tell Axios.

What we're hearing: Most members recognize Cheney can't be succeeded by a white man, given their top two leaders — House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) — fill that demographic.

Updated Apr 30, 2021 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation on Biden's first 100 days

On Friday, April 30, Axios political reporter Hans Nichols and congressional reporter Alayna Treene hosted a discussion on President Biden's first 100 days in office, featuring Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.) and House Minority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.).

Sen. Hickenlooper unpacked bipartisan policy efforts, economic recovery after COVID-19, and climate change initiatives impacting the state of Colorado.

  • On Biden's American Rescue Plan: "He could not get a bipartisan, collaborative bill for the recovery plan...I think he did what he should have done, which is to put a bill together that would not just win the battle against COVID-19, but get us out of this recession."
  • On what he's hearing from Republican colleagues behind closed doors: "What they're saying publicly is pretty much what I'm hearing privately now. Sometimes they will handicap what the probability is of what they think their caucus will do on a specific issue...But I think they're being candid and honest."

Rep. Scalise discussed the Biden administration's infrastructure bill and tension between House GOP leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy and third-ranking Republican Rep. Liz Cheney.

  • On an infrastructure bill he would support: "The plans that I've seen that I like and would support would be plans that are fully paid for without new taxes. And what I mean by that is prioritizing existing federal dollars. There are some good plans that do that."
  • On President Trump's role in the Republican party: "President Trump is still a very active part of our party and a vocal leader in our party... So this idea that you just disregard President Trump is not where we are. And frankly, he has a lot to offer still and has offered what he wants to help us win the House back."

Axios Chief Revenue Officer Fabricio Drumond will hosted a View from the Top segment with Bank of America Global Environmental Executive Alex Liftman, who discussed President Biden's policy initiatives around climate change and the role of the private sector in focusing capital in these areas.

  • "[Addressing] big global issues like climate change...has led us to have a trillion-dollar goal over the next 10 years to help our clients to decarbonize...We need to drive a lot of capital to those existing technologies and help sectors, principally high carbon sectors, to implement those technologies."

Thank you Bank of America for sponsoring this event.

Susan Collins "appalled" by censure attempt against Mitt Romney

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) told CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday she was "appalled" to see her colleague Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) booed and nearly censured at the Utah Republican Party state convention a day earlier.

Why it matters: The effort to censure Romney for his vote to convict former President Donald Trump following the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol failed by a 711-798 vote. A number of Republicans have faced backlash in their home states for voting to convict Trump, as the former president continues to have significant sway over the party.