While Congress was confirming Biden’s victory, a crowd of pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol, broke through the walls of the building and temporarily suspended the case. Legislators had to seek refuge on site when both chambers were locked and at least five people died as a result of the violence, including a Capitol police officer.
Immediately prior to the attack, former President Donald Trump rallied his supporters on the White House ellipse and encouraged them to march on the Capitol with hot-blooded rhetoric. Trump was charged by the House of Representatives two weeks ago with “inciting insurrection” – he was the only president in American history to have faced the historic reprimand twice – and is due to stand trial in the Senate early next month.
But Democratic lawmakers and some Republicans have also turned their anger on colleagues who tried to reverse the election results in Congress, arguing that their actions and their refusal to acknowledge the reality of Biden’s victory played a role in sparking the deadly siege of the Capitol played. Hawley and Cruz in particular have received calls to resign or be expelled from the Senate – potential penalties that Hawley alluded to in his letter Monday.
“Given the shameful abuse of the ethical process that you have deliberately pursued, I have considered asking you to resign or expel from the Senate,” wrote Hawley to the Seven Democrats. “But I still believe in the first amendment that the US Supreme Court has repeatedly said to protect even” offensive “and malicious speech like yours.”