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Senate Democrats file ethics complaint against Hawley, Cruz over Capitol attack

Seven Senate Democrats are asking the Ethics Committee to open an investigation into GOP Sens. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyCrenshaw pours cold water on 2024 White House bid: 'Something will emerge' Garland's AG nomination delayed by GOP roadblocks The Memo: Is Trump mounting a comeback — or finally fading? MORE (Mo.) and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzCrenshaw pours cold water on 2024 White House bid: 'Something will emerge' Garland's AG nomination delayed by GOP roadblocks The Hill's 12:30 Report: Washington on high alert as QAnon theory marks March 4 MORE (Texas) over the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

The senators filed a complaint on Thursday with the committee asking that it probe whether Hawley and Cruz’s objections to the Electoral College results violated the chamber’s ethics rules.

“The Senate Ethics Committee should investigate their conduct to fully understand their role. The actions of which we know demand an investigation and a determination whether disciplinary action is warranted.  Until then, a cloud of uncertainty will hang over them and over this body,” the senators wrote.

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Democratic Sens. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseIntelligence community investigating links between lawmakers, Capitol rioters FBI director commits to providing Senate information after grilling from Democrat Biden nominee previews post-Trump trade agenda MORE (R.I.), Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenProgressives won't oppose bill over limits on stimulus checks GOP pulling out all the stops to delay COVID-19 package Overnight Health Care: Biden slams Texas, Mississippi for lifting coronavirus restrictions: 'Neanderthal thinking' | Senate panel splits along party lines on Becerra |Over 200K sign up for ACA plans during Biden special enrollment period MORE (Ore.), Tina SmithTina Flint SmithSenator notices mismatching shoes at trial: 'I had a lot on my mind' Overnight Energy: Biden administration delays Trump rollback of migratory bird protections | Democrats seek to block further Arctic drilling | Democratic senator pushes for clean electricity standard Democratic senator pushes for clean electricity standard MORE (Minn.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoOvernight Defense: Capitol Police may ask National Guard to stay | Biden's Pentagon policy nominee faces criticism | Naval Academy midshipmen moved to hotels Republicans blast Pentagon policy nominee over tweets, Iran nuclear deal OVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Democrats reintroduce road map to carbon neutrality by 2050 | Kerry presses oil companies to tackle climate change | Biden delays transfer of sacred lands for copper mine MORE (Hawaii), Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineRon Johnson grinds Senate to halt, irritating many Overnight Defense: Capitol Police may ask National Guard to stay | Biden's Pentagon policy nominee faces criticism | Naval Academy midshipmen moved to hotels Biden called off second military target in Syria minutes before strike: report MORE (Va.) and Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownMandel gets Club for Growth nod in Ohio Senate primary Bipartisan bill would ban lawmakers from buying, selling stocks Mellman: How the Senate decided impeachment MORE (Ohio) teamed up on the ethics complaint.

The group specifically wants the Ethics Committee to probe if the two senators' actions failed to “[p]ut loyalty to the highest moral principles and to country above loyalty to persons, party, or Government department” or if they engaged in “improper conduct reflecting on the Senate” in connection with the attack.

The Democratic senators also outlined several questions they believed should be probed as part of an Ethics Committee investigation including if they were in touch with coordinators for the rally, if they encouraged any “insurrectionist” acts or if they “engaged in criminal conduct, or unethical or improper behavior.”

“While it was within Senators’ rights to object to the electors, the conduct of Senators Cruz and Hawley, and potentially others, went beyond that,” they wrote in the letter to Ethics Committee leadership. 

Cruz and Hawley, two potential 2024 presidential contenders, have denounced the mob that breached the Capitol but they’ve also stood by their decisions to object to the Electoral College results from Arizona and Pennsylvania, respectively.

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Hawley, in a statement after the Ethics Committee probe was requested, accused Democrats of trying to "silence dissent."

"This latest effort is a flagrant abuse of the Senate ethics process and a flagrant attempt to exact partisan revenge," he said.

Hawley and Cruz have faced fierce backlash for objecting to Arizona and Pennsylvania’s Electoral College results.

The Senate’s debate on Arizona’s results, to which Cruz objected, was interrupted by the rioters breaching the building. Hawley moved forward with his Pennsylvania objection even after the attack.

The ethics complaint comes as several Democratic senators have called on Cruz and Hawley to resign from the Senate, and others have suggested they should be formally censured. The two Republicans were among eight GOP senators who opposed at least one of the efforts to throw out election results.

In addition to launching an investigation, Democratic senators are asking the Ethics Committee to “offer recommendations for strong disciplinary action, including up to expulsion or censure, if warranted by the facts uncovered.”

Updated at 6:28 p.m.