Liberal senator calls on Senate Ethics Committee to expel, censure or punish Cruz and Hawley

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., called for the expulsion of Sens. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, from the Senate on Monday over their leadership in efforts to object to electoral votes as they were being counted during a joint session of Congress last week.

Hawley and Cruz have faced significant pushback for the objections after violent protesters stormed the Capitol building, interrupting the congressional proceedings on Wednesday. While some Republicans changed their stance on the objections once order was restored, Hawley and Cruz maintained their positions.

DEMOCRATIC SENATORS RAMP UP CALLS FOR CRUZ, HAWLEY TO RESIGN AFTER CAPITOL RIOTS

“The Senate Ethics Committee also must consider the expulsion, or censure and punishment, of Senators Cruz, Hawley, and perhaps others,” Whitehouse said in a statement, after calling for the Senate investigation “to conduct security review of what happened and what went wrong[.]”

Whitehouse also called for both Republicans to be kept out of participating in any investigation.

“Because Congress has protections from the Department of Justice under separation of powers, specifically the Speech and Debate Clause, significant investigation will need to be done in the Senate,” he said. “Because of massive potential conflict of interest, Senators Cruz, Hawley, and Johnson (at least) need to be off all relevant committees reviewing this matter until the investigation of their role is complete.”

Whitehouse is just the latest Democrat to call for Hawley and Cruz to leave office. Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio; Patty Murray, D-Wash.; and Chris Coons, D-Del., all called on the two Republicans to resign.

While Hawley and Cruz were vocal supporters of the electoral vote objections, neither one endorsed force or violence. Both condemned the violence and said that those who broke the law should face consequences.

Cruz called what happened Wednesday a “terrorist attack” and “a horrific assault on our democracy.” He called for those involved to face prosecution.

CRUZ DEFENDS ROLE IN ELECTORAL VOTE OBJECTIONS: HAD ‘NOTHING TO DO’ WITH CAPITOL RIOTS

In an interview with KXAS-TV, Cruz claimed that by calling for debate in the Senate he was following proper procedure and in no way was involved in violent activity.

“What I was doing is debating on the floor of the Senate election integrity,” Cruz said. “That has nothing to do with this criminal terrorist assault, which was wrong and needs to be prosecuted. It’s exactly the opposite. What I was doing is how you’re supposed to resolve issues in this country.” 

Hawley also said that “those who attacked police and broke the law must be prosecuted.”

On the House side, newly elected Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., introduced a resolution calling for Republican representatives who objected to electoral votes to be expelled from Congress.

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“The actions of the Republican lawmakers who tried to overturn the valid results of the 2020 elections must not only be condemned in the strongest possible terms, but I believe the members who attempted to disenfranchise voters and incited this violence must be removed from Congress,” Bush said in a statement, in which she accused the objectors of playing a role in the violent storming of the Capitol and thereby being complicit in an “insurrection.”

The resolution cites the Fourteenth Amendment, which states that no one who has sworn an oath as a member of Congress can serve if they “have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”

Fox News’ Kelly Phares, Chad Pergram, and Megan Henney contributed to this report.

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