Ted Cruz suffers Capitol riot backlash, with a top aide resigning and calls for him to be added to the FBI no-fly list

Ted Cruz suffers Capitol riot backlash, with a top aide resigning and calls for him to be added to the FBI no-fly list
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  • Republican Sen. Ted Cruz faces a growing backlash from congressional colleagues who say he was partly responsible for the riots at the US Capitol last Wednesday.
  • Democratic aides told The Hill that some Democratic senators are discussing the possibility of censuring Cruz for incitement.
  • Cruz's communications director Lauren Blair Bianchi on Wednesday resigned in response to Cruz's efforts to overturn the election.
  • The chair of the Committee on Homeland Security is calling for Cruz be put on the FBI no-fly list.

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz faces a growing backlash from congressional colleagues who say he was partly responsible for the riots at the US Capitol last Wednesday, with reports suggesting that the prominent Republican lawmaker could face a formal censure by fellow members of the Senate.

Cruz has faced multiple calls to resign since he spoke on the floor last week to argue for a commission and audit of November's presidential election. The speech was part of his wider effort to overturn Joe Biden's election victory in favor of President Donald Trump, and hundreds of pro-Trump supporters breached police lines and stormed the Capitol building minutes after Cruz concluded his speech.

On Wednesday, Cruz's communications director Lauren Blair Bianchi resigned in response to Cruz's efforts to overturn the election, according to a report by Punchbowl News. A source close to Bianchi said the senator was "moving in a direction that she was not comfortable with."
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Several Democratic lawmakers including Sens. Patty Murray, Chris Coons, Sherrod Brown, and Sheldon Whitehouse have also publicly called for Cruz - along with Missouri Senator Josh Hawley - to resign, citing the senators' vocal roles in opposing certification of the election before the violent scenes at the Capitol last week.

Democratic aides told The Hill that some Democratic senators are also discussing the possibility of censuring both Cruz as well as Hawley for their role in opposing the certification of the election.

"More and more Democratic caucus members are willing to vote yes on a censure resolution," one Democratic aide told The Hill.
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A Senate censure would require a two-thirds majority in favor in the Senate which appears unlikely because no GOP senators have come out in favor of such a move. While a censure would not result in the expulsion of a senator, it represents a formal statement of disapproval from congressional colleagues which could prove damaging to a recipient's political ambitions.

Both Sens. Hawley and Cruz have long been considered likely contenders for the GOP nomination in 2024. Democratic Sen. Whitehouse has also called for Cruz, Hawley, and Republican Sen. Ron Johnson - who also reportedly supported efforts to reject the certification of the election -- to be barred from sitting on any committee which might investigate the events surrounding the riot at the Capitol last Wednesday.
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"The Senate Ethics Committee also must consider the expulsion, or censure and punishment, of Senators Cruz, Hawley, and perhaps others," said Whitehouse in a statement cited by Fox News.

"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. Because of massive potential conflict of interest, Senators Cruz, Hawley, and Johnson (at least) need to be off all relevant committees," Whitehouse added.

Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, chair of the Committee on Homeland Security, went further and said that Cruz could potentially be put on the no-fly list if they are found guilty of inciting the Capitol riots. The list is maintained by the FBI and prevents potential terrorists and terrorism suspects from boarding flights across the United States.
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"There's no exemption for being put on the no-fly list," Thompson said on Monday in an interview with SiriusXM which was reported by the publication Law & Crime.

"Even a member of Congress that commits a crime, you know, they expel from the body. There are ethics charges that can be brought against those individuals. And people are looking at all this. What Hawley did and what Cruz did was horrible," he said.

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