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Rep. Nancy Mace speaks with reporters after voting to hold Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

A small contingent of House Republicans risked their political futures on Thursday, they say, in the name of constitutional responsibility.

Why it matters: The nine Republicans who voted to hold former Trump aide Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress are now in peril of becoming political pariahs. They've opened themselves up to potential primary challengers and public attacks from their party's kingmaker — former President Trump.

  • They also face blowback from their caucus leaders, after House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) tried to rally the GOP against the vote.

The big picture: Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), one of the most conservative lawmakers policy-wise, is a clear example of what's at stake.

  • After she voted to impeach Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, McCarthy moved to strip her of her leadership role, Wyoming Republicans targeted her in her re-election fight and she became the focus of Trump's ire.
  • Now lobbyists are beginning to turn on her, the New York Times' Jonathan Martin reports, with one warning that consultants must choose between her and McCarthy.
  • Cheney continues to dig in — hoping her gamble that voters are less attached to Trump than Republican leaders think will pan out.
  • "It's fundamentally not acceptable," she told Axios after Thursday's vote.

Between the lines: Besides Cheney, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) — the other Republican member of Jan. 6 Select Committee — voted "yea."

  • They were joined by Reps. Peter Meijer (R-Mich.), Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio), Fred Upton (R-Mich.), John Katko (R-N.Y.), Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) — all of whom voted to impeach Trump in January.
  • Reps. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) provided the final two Republican votes to hold Bannon in contempt.

What they're saying: Mace's vote surprised many Republicans, given she didn't vote either for impeachment or the creation of the Jan. 6 commission.

  • Mace, a freshman and the first woman to graduate from The Citadel, told reporters: “I want the power to subpoena when we start to investigate some of the crises that are facing the Biden administration right now, from what's happening at the border, to Afghanistan."
  • Katko said, "I never feel pressure," when asked about the potential repercussions he faces for voting yes. "I do what I think is right."
  • Upton said in a statement: “No one is above the law. That has always been one of my guiding tenants."

In a tweet, Meijer — a veteran — also said his vote was aimed at protecting the power of Congress.

  • "Holding individuals who refuse to comply with congressional subpoenas in contempt is the sole recourse available to Congress to protect its power of inquiry [McGrain v Daugherty]," he tweeted.
  • "I voted today to hold Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress to protect this power."

Go deeper

Media giants back Bannon's bid to release Jan. 6 documents

Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon at the FBI Washington Field Office in Washington, D.C., in November. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

A coalition of news outlets including the Washington Post is supporting Stephen Bannon's campaign for the release of documents related to his contempt of Congress charges, WashPost reported Wednesday.

Why it matters: WashPost, the New York Times, CNN, NBC, the Wall Street Journal's parent company and others filed a motion arguing that a proposed protective order seeking to prevent the documents from being released violates the First Amendment, per the Daily Mail, which first reported on the news.

Some Republicans fear Roe win could backfire

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Republicans are on the brink of achieving a decades-long conservative project — overturning abortion rights — but some strategists worry that the party isn’t ready for the political dangers of this monumental victory.

Why it matters: The GOP has the best political environment in a decade leading into the midterms — and the last thing top party operatives want is for the Democratic base to become energized if the Supreme Court narrows or overturns Roe v. Wade.

McConnell: No legislative agenda for 2022 midterms

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Mitch McConnell has told colleagues and donors Senate Republicans won't release a legislative agenda before next year's midterms, according to people who've attended private meetings with the minority leader.

Why it matters: Every midterm cycle, there are Republican donors and operatives who argue the party should release a positive, pro-active governing outline around which candidates can rally. McConnell adamantly rejects this idea, preferring to skewer Democrats for their perceived failures.

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