In the aftermath of a deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol that is connected to at least five deaths, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) is now calling on the Senate Ethics Committee to “consider the expulsion, or censure and punishment” of Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), and “perhaps others” over their role in inciting the violence. Cruz and Hawley led an effort to object to the certification of some of President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral votes, giving oxygen to the false idea that the presidential election outcome — meaning Biden’s victory — was dubious. The Capitol riot proceeded under this exact pretense, with rioters apparently hoping to — at the very least — pressure Congress into invalidating Biden’s election victory.
Whitehouse, who currently serves on the Judiciary Committee, said, in part, as follows:
‘The Senate needs to oversee federal investigation of the attack and ransacking of our national Capitol, through the Judiciary and perhaps Homeland Security Committees. We may also be the client in federal civil suits for damages and for restraining orders, likely also under Judiciary purview. The Senate will need to conduct security review of what happened and what went wrong, likely through [the] Rules, Homeland, and Judiciary [Committees]. The Senate Ethics Committee also must consider the expulsion, or censure and punishment, of Senators Cruz, Hawley, and perhaps others.’
Although a number of Senators who’d previously announced their intention to object to the certification of some of Biden’s electoral votes backtracked after the violence, Cruz and Hawley continued their opposition. Cruz in particular pushed the idea that the presidential election outcome ought to be subjected to an audit — which is ridiculous, considering the fact that the presidential election results have already undergone rounds of comprehensive examination in every single state. As a flimsy excuse for his affront against democracy, Cruz is pretending that there’s a security gap where one simply does not, in any respect, exist.
Seats on the Senate Ethics Committee, unlike other Congressional committees, are evenly distributed between the two major parties, no matter which party controls the Senate chamber as a whole at the time. However, the committee’s chairperson comes from the majority party, so Democrats’ imminent takeover of Senate control could make action against Cruz and Hawley at least somewhat easier. Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff recently won their Georgia Senate races, handing Democrats control of the Senate, but the Senators-elect have not yet been sworn in.