Republican senators Hawley and Cruz face calls to resign
Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley are “complicit in the big lie” and “have a lot of soul searching to do” over their attempts to overturn the presidential election in favour of Donald Trump, a Republican Senate colleague said on Sunday, amid growing calls for the two men to resign or be censured. Republican objections to electoral college results failed. But Cruz and Hawley were prominent among 147 representatives and senators who backed the late-night effort on Wednesday, even after a mob incited by the president attacked the US Capitol.
Five people including a police officer died amid the chaos, in which lawmakers were apparently the target of planned kidnappings.
The riot has fuelled calls for Trump to resign, as House Democrats prepare articles of impeachment. Speaking to NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania became the second Republican senator to say the president had committed impeachable offences and should “resign and go away as soon as possible”.
Toomey did not call for Cruz and Hawley to quit, though he said they were “going to have a lot of soul searching to do and the problem is they were complicit in the big lie, this lie that Donald Trump won the election in a landslide and it was all stolen.
“They compounded that with this notion that somehow this could all be reversed in the final moments of the congressional proceedings. So that’s, that’s going to be, that’s going to haunt them for a very long time.”
On CNN’s State of the Union, he added: “They’re going to pay a big price for this. I think their reputations have been affected. You’ve seen the kind of reaction in the media back in their home states, so their constituents will decide the final way to adjudicate this.”
Democrats piled in. On Saturday, Sherrod Brown, a Democratic senator from Ohio, called for Cruz and Hawley’s “immediate resignations and said they had “betrayed their oaths of office and abetted a violent insurrection on our democracy”.
“If they do not resign,” he added, “the Senate must expel them.”
Patty Murray of Washington, Chris Coons of Delaware and Tina Smith of Minnesota were among other Democrats to call for Cruz and Hawley to go.
On Sunday Joe Manchin of West Virginia told CNN: “Whether they should resign or not, I don’t know [but] how they can live with themselves knowing that people have died because of their words and actions?”
Hawley, from Missouri, was the first senator to say he would object to election results. He has condemned the Capitol violence but was also pictured raising a clenched fist towards Trump supporters. He has defended his actions and decried the decision by his publisher, Simon and Schuster, to cancel a forthcoming book.
Hawley also objected to criticism from Joe Biden which Toomey echoed on Sunday. The President-elect invoked Hitler’s propaganda minister, saying the senators were “part of the big lie … Goebbels and the great lie. You keep repeating the lie, repeating the lie.”
Cruz, from Texas, also condemned the violence and objected to Biden’s comparison. He has pushed back on calls for his resignation, including from the Houston Chronicle, saying he has no regrets.
“What I was working to do is find a way to re-establish widespread trust in the system,” he claimed to his hometown paper.
Other Republicans backed off their planned objections after the Capitol violence. Manchin told CNN he admired those who put the “constitution above their own political preferences and their own political ambitions”.
On Sunday, Guardian columnist and former US labor secretary Robert Reich wrote that Cruz and Hawley “should be forced to resign”.
“Knowing Trump’s allegations of voting fraud were false,” he wrote, the two Republicans “led the move to exclude Biden electors – even after the storming of the Capitol – thereby lending Trump’s claims credibility.
“The United States constitution says ‘no Person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress’ who ‘shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against’ the constitution, ‘or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof’.
“Both Cruz and Hawley are eyeing runs for the presidency in 2024. They should be barred from running.”
At 2:25 p.m. on Jan. 5, almost exactly 24 hours before the Capitol riots began, Steve Bannon posted a Facebook update: “TAKE ACTION. THEY ARE TRYING TO STEAL THE ELECTION,” the former senior White House adviser urged his followers in a Facebook group he ran called “Own Your Vote.”
The lawyer for the “QAnon shaman” who was part of the deadly siege of the Capitol last week publicly petitioned President Donald Trump on Thursday to pardon his client.
Federal prosecutors have offered an ominous new assessment of last week’s siege of the US Capitol by Donald Trump’s supporters, saying in a court filing that rioters intended “to capture and assassinate elected officials”. Prosecutors offered that view in a filing asking a judge to detain Jacob Chansley, the Arizona man and QAnon conspiracy theorist who was photographed wearing horns as he stood at the desk of the vice-president, Mike Pence, in the chamber of the US Senate.
An anti-tax group funded primarily by billionaires has emerged as one of the biggest backers of the Republican lawmakers who sought to overturn the US election results, according to an analysis by the Guardian. The Club for Growth has supported the campaigns of 42 of the rightwing Republicans senators and members of Congress who voted last week to challenge US election results, doling out an estimated $20m to directly and indirectly support their campaigns in 2018 and 2020, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.