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Republican Cheney to be vice chair of U.S. House panel on Jan. 6 attack

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Pro-Trump protesters storm into the U.S. Capitol during clashes with police, during a rally to contest the certification of the 2020 U.S. presidential election results by the U.S. Congress, in Washington, U.S, January 6, 2021. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo

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WASHINGTON, Sept 2 (Reuters) - U.S. Representative Liz Cheney will serve as vice chair of the congressional select committee investigating the deadly Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol, an appointment likely to draw the ire of some of her fellow Republicans.

Bennie Thompson, the panel's Democratic chairman, announced the appointment in a statement on Thursday that said Cheney demonstrated "again and again" a commitment to getting answers.

"Her leadership and insights have shaped the early work of the Select Committee and this appointment underscores the bipartisan nature of this effort," he said.

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Lawmakers closely aligned with Republican former President Donald Trump have been critical of Cheney, a three-term House member and daughter of former Republican Vice President Dick Cheney.

One of two Republican select committee members, Cheney was stripped of her leadership role in the House Republican caucus after denouncing Trump's false assertions of voter fraud in his 2020 election loss to President Joe Biden.

Cheney said on Thursday the panel intended to conduct a non-partisan, professional and thorough investigation.

"We owe it to the American people to investigate everything that led up to, and transpired on, January 6th. We will not be deterred by threats or attempted obstruction and we will not rest until our task is complete," she said in a statement.

House Democrats formed the committee, despite objections from Trump's fellow Republicans, to investigate the assault on the Capitol by mobs of his supporters as Congress was meeting to certify the Democrat Biden's election victory.

Nearly 600 people have been arrested in connection with the attack.

It was the worst violence at the seat of the U.S. government since the British invasion during the War of 1812. Four people died on the day, one shot to death by police and the others of natural causes.

A Capitol Police officer attacked by protesters died the following day. Four police officers who took part in the defense of the Capitol later took their own lives. More than 100 police officers were injured.

The committee has already begun its work. It held a first hearing in July, with emotional testimony from police who fought off the rioters. And in August, it announced two massive requests for documents related to the events of Jan. 6 - one from Trump associates and government agencies and another from social media firms.

CNN reported on Wednesday that Republican Representative Andy Biggs, leader of the hard-line conservative House Freedom Caucus, planned to ask House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy to remove Cheney and Representative Adam Kinzinger, the other Republican select committee member, from the Republican Conference - the caucus of party members in the chamber - for their roles on the panel.

Cheney's spokesman said they were not issuing a formal response but pointed to the announcement that she would be the select committee's vice chair. Kinzinger commented on Twitter that he was "even more committed to getting truth now."

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Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; editing by Grant McCool, Howard Goller and Sonya Hepinstall

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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