Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) weighed in, Tuesday, against punishing Sens. Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) for raising objections to select states’ Electoral College votes, effective ending Democrats hopes of expelling either Senator from Congress.
Speaking to CNN’s Manu Raju, Romney said that he considered Hawley’s and Cruz’s questions about the certification process “legitimate” even if he didn’t personally agree with their decision to raise objections to certifying Joe Biden as the winner of the November presidential election. More importantly, Romney said he will not vote to punish either Republican Senator.
“I think they raised, they raised questions which are legitimate within the Senate. Not something I supported, but I think they’re entitled to raise those points,” Romney told Raju in response to “whether Cruz/Hawley should get punished for objecting on Jan. 6 as Dems are demanding.”
Romney also said that he was not a guaranteed vote to convict President Donald Trump in his second Senate impeachment trial, despite voting to convict Trump on one count of two in Trump’s first Senate impeachment hearing.
“Asked if he’s leaning toward conviction, Romney told me: ‘I’m going to wait and see the  evidence as it’s presented,'” Raju tweeted.
Romney is, of course, no Trump supporter and has had his own conflicts with the Senate’s conservative caucus, which includes both Cruz and Hawley. Democrats are laying the blame for the Capitol Hill riots, which took place earlier in January, at the feet of both Cruz and Hawley, not simply for raising the issue of certifying votes from states like Arizona, Georgia, and Pennsylvania where President Trump alleged widespread vote fraud — fraud that he and his legal team were not able to produce convincing evidence of — but for encouraging Americans to continue to question the election results.
Democrats, led largely by the “Squad” — the House’s progressive caucus — have been calling for Hawley and Cruz to face expulsion from Congress under the 14th amendment, section 3, which allows the body to vote out any member who “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the” the United States, “or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof” by a two-thirds majority of each house.
Even moderate Democrats, like Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), seemed open to the idea. Machin said he supported “de-platforming” both Hawley and Cruz and, over the weekend, added that he was open to considering the 14th amendment as a way of punishing both Senators for objecting to certifying the Electoral College vote.
Without Republican support in both Houses — support that Romney clearly will not give — the effort is dead on arrival.
Romney’s statement on the impeachment trial is also telling. Democrats have been slowly backing away from a promise to convict Trump on “inciting an insurrection;” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has yet to send the article of impeachment, voted on last week in the House, to the Senate, and leaders like Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) say they aren’t whipping votes in support of the measure. Even President-elect Joe Biden has urged Democrats to focus on passing his Cabinet nominees and concentrate on helping him with his agenda, rather than on punishing Trump.
On Tuesday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), called the possibility of convicting Trump a “moot question” given that he leaves office on Wednesday.
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