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Lawmakers, experts weigh in on calls for Hawley resignation

Josh Hawley
Posted at 10:33 PM, Jan 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-11 00:21:54-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley's office reissued on Sunday a statement from last week saying he will "never apologize for giving voice to the millions of Missourians and Americans who have concerns about the integrity of our elections."

This, as calls are growing louder for his resignation in Missouri and nationwide, as critics argue he and others lawmakers helped fuel the riot Wednesday at the nation’s Capitol.

Following the riot, Hawley condemned the actions that interrupted the Electoral College vote debate, but still objected to certify votes for President-Elect Joe Biden, claiming election fraud.

"They're going to have a lot of soul-searching to do," Sen. Pat Toomey (R- Pennsylvania) said Sunday on Meet the Press. "The problem is they were complicit in the big lie."

If Hawley doesn't resign, there are two paths lawmakers can pursue to remove him.

One is under the 14th Amendment, Section 3, which states: "No person shall be a senator or representative in Congress... shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof."

Debra Leiter, a University of Missouri-Kansas City political science professor, said freedom of speech is central to the conversation.

"One of the major challenges is the tensions that exist between freedom of speech and freedom of protest, and whether or not Sen. Hawley's actions extended beyond the limitations of free speech," Leiter said.

Amendment 14 would require a two-thirds vote, as would expulsion under Article 1, Section 5 of the US Constitution.

Then there's censure -- another form of punishment -- but it would allow him to stay in office.

"It's a statement that legally, the Senate wants to recognize that they believe that that behavior was wrong," Leiter said.

If Hawley doesn't resign or get removed, it'll be up to Missouri voters in 2024 to decide his future.