Domestic Terrorism U.S. Senate

Former FBI Terrorism Expert Calls Josh Hawley An ‘Inspirer’ Of Domestic Terror Attacks

With one gesture — an upraised fist — Missouri Republican Senator Josh Hawley made it clear that he stood with the thousands of Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 and caused the deaths of 5 people, including a police officer.

And with that gesture, according to former FBI Special Agent Clint Watts, Hawley let it be known that he has no problem being an “inspirer” of domestic terrorist attacks.

Appearing on MSNBC Sunday, Watts was asked by host Jonathan Capehart:

“What can we do? We know that domestic terrorism is a grave threat –what can we do to stop it?”

Watts replied:

“So there are several things that we don’t have for domestic terrorism that we did have for the international terrorism over the last 20 years. One is we developed an entire architecture that was focused on a group or relatively defined group, I should say, al Qaeda and then it spawned the Islamic State, so we had a terrorist designation. That we just do not have in the domestic space and it perplexes our ability because that brings up laws and procedures.”

Watts also noted that the larger question is what we do with those who incite crowds to commit violent acts:

“It’s been the crux of the debate since January 6th; what are Americans, you know, willing to let American law enforcement do to protect them? It’s just not very clear. Separately, this is empowered by political leaders, just like during the Al Qaeda-ISIS era, we looked at people like [Osama] bin Laden — he wasn’t a fighter, he was an inspirer.”

The fact that Hawley is an elected official, Watts concluded, means the threat is even more acute than the one we faced from foes such as Al Qaeda or ISIS:

“We have that today except it’s our elected officials. It’s our political leaders that are doing this more than domestic extremists. What you see right there President Trump told them they were going to the Capitol that day. They didn’t pick the Capitol, he said it, his organizers they promoted it, his fellow congressmen in the GOP, they promoted it.

“It was Josh Hawley out there fist-bumping the crowd, right? Before it went in. That’s the thing we look for to see, hey, where are they tipping to. For the most part, the groups aren’t picking the targets. It’s the elected leaders.”

To borrow a phrase from a well-known horror movie, the call is coming from within the house. Even worse, it’s coming from the very people who are supposed be guarding the house.

Here’s Clint Watts on MSNBC:


Congress U.S. Senate

Cruz And Hawley Are Now At The Mercy Of A Senate Process That Could Destroy Their Careers

Next Monday, February 8, the second impeachment trial of former president Donald Trump will begin in the U.S. Senate, and the American public will get to watch every second of the proceedings on live television.

Another process will also be taking place very soon in the Senate, but as Politico notes, it will take place behind closed doors and could result in two Republican senators — Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri — being hit with severe judgements that might end their political careers.

The Senate Ethics Committee is on the verge of taking a long look at Cruz and Hawley’s connections to the January 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol which left several dead and terrorized both Congress and the nation:

“The committee says nothing about its business until actions are taken. And it has a lot of business before it: Seven Democratic senators filed a complaint against the two GOP senators who led the effort to object to the election results, arguing that they ‘lent legitimacy’ to the cause of those who invaded the Capitol. Hawley fired back with a counter complaint alleging ‘improper conduct’ for partisan gain.”

The committee is headed by Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), who has called for Cruz and Hawley to resign. The ranking Republican on the committee is James Lankford of Oklahoma, who had planned to challenge the results of the 2020 presidential election before the Capitol was attacked.

But what can we expect from such a secretive process? That remains unclear, but the final report from committee members could well determine if indeed Cruz and Hawley will remain senators. After all, a recommendation of censure or expulsion could be the kiss of death.

Looking at both recent and more distant history from the Senate Ethics Committee may give us a better picture of what we can expect in the matter of Sens. Cruz and Hawley:

“In 2018 the panel ‘severely admonished’ Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) for accepting gifts and advancing the interests of a Florida man; in 2012 the committee found that former Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) had made improper contact with a former Senate aide in 2009.

“(The late Senator Joe) McCarthy was censured by the Senate for abusing his position to make accusations about communists infiltrating the federal government. The resolution stated that McCarthy ‘acted contrary to senatorial ethics.'”

Will Cruz and Hawley be the next senators excoriated by the ethics committee? Only time will tell.


Congress Elections U.S. Senate

Senate Democrats May Refuse To Assign Cruz And Hawley To Any Committees For Inciting The Capitol Riots

Most of the real work in the U.S. Senate takes place in committees. Committees are where legislation is hashed out, hearings are held, and oversight is performed. In many ways, a senator’s committee assignments determine whether or not he or she will make an impact while serving in the upper chamber of Congress.

But should a senator who helped incite the riots at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 be allowed to serve on a committee? That’s the question currently being debated inside Democratic Senate leadership, especially as it relates to Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Josh Hawley (R-MO).

In case you were wondering, Cruz and Hawley serve on some very influential and prestigious Senate committees. Cruz is on the Judiciary and Foreign Relations committees while Hawley serves on Judiciary and Armed Services.

But will Cruz and Hawley be serving on any committees once new Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) makes committee assignments? Not if progressive group MoveOn can help it.

In a statement, Rahna Epting, MoveOn’s executive director, announced on Thursday:

“Elected officials like Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, and other senators who sought to use their power to promote the big lie to overturn the results of the 2020 election—and who incited a deadly insurrection—have no place in the U.S. Senate and most certainly should not be rewarded for their deadly attacks on democracy with seats leading important committees in the next Congress.

“Senate Majority Leader Schumer must work to ensure that any power-sharing agreement with Mitch McConnell keeps these insurrectionist senators from committee positions where they can use their influence to further undermine our democracy. Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz, and their allies in the Senate must be held accountable for their attacks on our democracy.”

Since Schumer has yet to reach an agreement on an organizing resolution that would establish the rules and committee assignments for incoming Senate members, Schumer still has the time and the power to assure that Cruz and Hawley are denied the ability to serve on any committee, or to name them to committees that have little or no power or prestige.

Any member of Congress who took part in stirring up the crowd that stormed the Capitol shouldn’t be allowed to serve. But if they do remain, they should be stripped of all the benefits other members enjoy. That’s the price you pay for sedition.


Congress Donald Trump U.S. Senate

Historian: Ted Cruz And Josh Hawley May Wind Up Being Booted From The Senate

Ever since pro-Trump supporters rioted and stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, a larger debate has been raging: Should the political figures who supported and empowered them face federal criminal charges for their actions, which have so far cost five people their lives?

According to noted historian Michael Beschloss, Donald Trump may well face charges for his incendiary speech and tweets on the day of the rioting, but Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) could wind up being expelled from Congress under a section of the U.S. Constitution which calls for such.

Appearing on MSNBC recently, Beschloss noted that there remain many unanswered questions about what transpired on Jan. 6 in Washington, D.C.:

“The other questions linger. Was this an assassination attempt against the vice president, against the speaker of the House, others in the line of succession to Donald Trump? Were these people trying to steal those mahogany boxes? Was this a coup attempt? Why did law enforcement allow this terrorist mob to get into the capitol and were there ties between this effort and a foreign government? All those are big questions, we now have to refer them to the courts, to Congress and to the next president of the United States, maybe a commission.”

A blue ribbon commission might be a good idea, and it’s something Congress should consider, if only to help better plan for such an eventuality in the future and put more stringent security measures in place.

And then Beschloss moved on to another decision Congress may have to make: To expel members who were complicit in what happened:

“And one more thing, if I might add to this, 14th Amendment of the Constitution says if you’re a member of Congress — senator or representative — and you have aided an insurrection, you can’t sit in Congress. As far as I’m concerned that may well define Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz, others involved with this. Congress is going to look very hard at these people and say, ‘Are they allowed to continue in Congress under our Constitution?'”

Cruz and Hawley — along with others in Congress such as Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) — have dishonored themselves and their colleagues with their words and actions. They should have to pay for what they’ve done. If nothing else, they should forever be shunned by their colleagues and made to feel the full humiliation for what they’ve done.

Here’s Michael Beschloss on MSNBC: