Joe Manchin Backs Congress Considering Removal of Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley Over Capitol Insurrection

West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, considered by many to be the most conservative Democrat in the Senate, said his colleagues should consider expelling Republican Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley for their alleged roles in inciting the January 6 "insurrection" at the Capitol.

In a Friday interview on PBS' Firing Line with Margaret Hoover, Manchin said that while he has a good personal relationship with Cruz and Hawley, their alleged violation of the 14th Amendment's rule against inciting an insurrection and holding public office should be investigated. Both Hawley and Cruz have been widely condemned for challenging the Electoral College results during certification, especially after Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in hopes of derailing President-elect Joe Biden's impending move into the White House. Manchin said he personally confronted Hawley to "change his mind" and think about the wider repercussions of his and Cruz's attempt to block the January 6 vote, but there was essentially zero meaningful response.

Manchin called the deadly January 6 riot at the Capitol "total insurrection, it's sedition," before noting that the 14th Amendment was adopted after the Civil War in order to ban seditionists from holding the exact public offices held today by Cruz, Hawley and other members of the failed "sedition caucus." Manchin challenged both Cruz and Hawley to admit whether they were sending out fundraising requests at the same time that they were helping to spark an insurrection.

Firing Line host Hoover used Manchin's reference to press him on whether he'd support any potential moves to oust Cruz and Hawley in the aftermath of the violent riot that left five people dead. She quoted the relevant section of the 14th Amendment before asking the Democratic senator directly if he'd get behind such a move to expel his fellow senators.

"Would you support, Senator, the removal of Senator Hawley and Senator Cruz through the 14th Amendment, Section 3?" Hoover asked.

"Well, they should look, absolutely, basically that should be a consideration," Manchin replied. "He understands that. Ted's a very bright individual and I get along fine with him. But what he did was totally outside the realm of our responsibilities or our privileges that we have."

When asked if he believes the January 6 events at the Capitol were in fact an insurrection, Manchin replied succinctly: "Absolutely, no doubt at all in my mind."

But Manchin said current impeachment efforts are destined to fail because there simply aren't enough Republican senators willing to convict President Donald Trump on his single charge of inciting an insurrection. This impeachment charge brought forth last week by House Democrats and 10 Republican members of Congress would require GOP lawmaker support, of which Manchin said is not possible.

"But we need 19 Republicans, we don't have them...if you gave me a count of 19, I'd say let's go tonight. You don't have nineteen. You're not going to have nineteen," the senator said.

Newsweek reached out to Manchin and Cruz's Senate offices for additional remarks Saturday.

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Senator Joe Manchin said Democrats wanted to include stimulus checks in a bipartisan relief package but at a low price tag, wouldn't give up unemployment benefits to send another round of direct payments. Manchin speaks alongside a bipartisan group of Democrat and Republican members of Congress as they announce a proposal for a Covid-19 relief bill on Capitol Hill on December 1 in Washington, D.C. Tasos Katopodis/Getty