CBS News Host Confronts Ted Cruz Over 'Big Lie,' 2020 Election Challenge in Tense Interview

In a tense exchange Sunday on CBS News, Face the Nation host Margaret Brennan confronted GOP Texas Senator Ted Cruz over his attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results and continued claims of widespread voter fraud.

According to the new book Peril, by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, Cruz had conversations with former President Donald Trump on January 6 and knew there was no congressional authority to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Brennan pressed Cruz on these claims Sunday morning.

"Didn't indulging the doubters damage our democracy and our standing in the world?" she asked.

Cruz said he has not read the book but denied having conversations with Trump on January 6. Brennan continued pressing him on the issue, and he acknowledged he "had many conversations with him in days and weeks and months leading up to January 6."

He also defended his challenge of the election results, saying he needed to investigate the unproven allegations of widespread voter fraud.

"My point is simple. Under the Constitution, Congress has a role. It has a responsibility when it comes to certifying votes," he said, later adding that there is "historical precedence" to do so.

Brennan pointed that the "intellectualized argument" he used on the show was not what rioters "chanting things like '[hang] Mike Pence' were talking about."

Cruz argued that because there is a "substantial chunk of our country that has real doubts about the integrity of the election," a credible electoral commission for an audit would have "enhanced faith in democracy."

Ted Cruz Challenged CBS Election January 6
Face the Nation host Margaret Brennen pressed GOP Texas Senator Ted Cruz, above, on his challenging of the 2020 election results Sunday morning. Ken Cedeno-Pool/Getty Images

In the election's aftermath, audits in several swing states including Arizona and Michigan have upheld Biden's victory. The GOP-backed audit of Arizona's Maricopa County found that Biden won by a larger margin than the original count. However, even following these audits, Trump and his allies have continued falsely claiming he won in these states.

Meanwhile, Cruz has faced backlash for his involvement in challenging the election results. Billboards posted in Texas earlier this year urged him to resign. Other Republicans, including Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, have also criticized him. This month Cheney accused him of "posturing for the secessionist vote."

Cruz was one of the eight U.S. senators who voted to overturn Biden's win on January 6. That same day, a group of Trump supporters rioted at the U.S. Capitol during a protest against the electoral college certification.

Trump and his allies have continued making claims that the election was stolen through massive voter fraud, though no substantial evidence has been presented to prove these claims.

Newsweek reached out to Cruz's office for comment Sunday afternoon but had not heard back by publication. This story will be updated with any response.