As Donald Trump's impeachment trial ramps up in just over a week, Senators Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and Ted Cruz, R-Tx., will be facing their own tribunal as the extremely "secretive" Senate Ethics panel investigates their roles in the Capitol riot on Jan. 6 that led to lawmakers fleeing for their lives and five deaths.
The ex-president's impeachment trial on the floor of the Senate will be carried live on TV, and is expected to last a few weeks, whereas the investigation of the two Republican senators will be held behind closed doors and could go on for months for what is being a termed a "deep dive" into their words and actions prior to — and on the day of — the storming of the nation's Capitol.
According to a report from Politico, "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."
It is notable that the committee is being helmed by Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., who has called for both senators to resign over allegations they helped whip up the mob with their attempt to block the certification of the 2020 election.
Politico reports that Hawley admits that he has "no idea how things would unfold on the committee regarding a timetable or process," that could take months as it casts a cloud over his political future.
"While Trump will learn his fate in a much-anticipated public vote at the conclusion of his trial, the debate over what punishment — if any — the panel recommends for Hawley, Cruz or the Democrats will grind away behind closed doors. The committee's rules keep all actions of the panel secret without approval by a majority of the committee," the report states. "The seven Democrats who launched the investigation said they considered various options of how to address Hawley and Cruz's role after several Democrats called for their GOP colleagues' resignation. As it became clear that Hawley and Cruz were defending themselves and Republicans had little appetite to punish them, the group of Democrats chose the Ethics Committee as their venue."
According to committee member Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn., "Accountability for the role they played is really important. The Ethics Committee is the place where the Senate enforces its code of conduct and rules. What they did is unconscionable."
Asked about Hawley's counter-complaint, she responded, "You see my eye rolling? Hawley's defiant. He refuses to accept accountability or responsibility."
You can read more here.