A group of lawyers has submitted a 15-page ethics complaint to the State Bar of Texas demanding an investigation of Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) for his “leading role” in the far-reaching Republican effort to keep former President Trump in power despite his reelection loss.
The complaint — filed by the 65 Project, an organization of lawyers seeking to hold attorneys accountable for lending a hand in pro-Trump efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 elections — called for an examination of Cruz’s conduct in the weeks before Election Day in 2020 and on January 6, 2021, the day of the Capitol insurrection.
The complaint honed in on Cruz’s many false assertions of widespread voter fraud after 2020’s Election Day; his participation in lawsuits falsely denying Pennsylvania’s results; and failed attempts to prevent four states from appointing electors based on the 2020 election results.
“Mr. Cruz played a leading role in the effort to overturn the 2020 elections. And while the same can be said about several other elected officials, Mr. Cruz’s involvement was manifestly different,” the complaint read, asserting that Cruz had moved “beyond simply working within the confines of Congress,” according to the New York Times.
“He chose to take on the role of lawyer and agreed to represent Mr. Trump and Pennsylvania Republicans in litigation before the U.S. Supreme Court,” the complaint continued, citing the ultimately unsuccessful roles Cruz took on. “In doing so, Mr. Cruz moved beyond his position as a United States senator and sought to use more than his Twitter account and media appearances to support Mr. Trump’s anti-democratic mission.”
The 65 Project, in its complaint, also slammed Cruz for his continued dissemination of the Big Lie, which he knew was false, and for the false allegations of bias he leveled at Pennsylvania’s state courts.
“Mr. Cruz knew that the allegations he was echoing had already been reviewed and rejected by courts,” the complaint says. “And he knew that claims of voter fraud or the election being stolen were false.”
The lawyer group wants Cruz disciplined for his failed bid to subvert the previous election, but their complaint didn’t say how, the Texas Tribune reported.
However, the filing also mentioned a New York appellate court’s suspension of Rudy Giuliani’s law license, arguing that "just as Mr. Giuliani has been disciplined for his conduct, so should Mr. Cruz,” according to the Guardian.
A spokesperson for Cruz labeled the 65 Project a “far-left dark money smear machine run by a who’s who of shameless Democrat hacks.” The spokesperson added, “They’re not a credible organization and their complaint won’t be worth the paper it’s printed on.”
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The House Select Committee, a bipartisan congressional panel looking into the Capitol insurrection, sent a letter on Thursday requesting an interview with a House Republican, Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA), who it said led a tour through parts of the Capitol complex on January 5, 2021 — the day before a pro-Trump mob stormed the halls of Congress.
In the letter to Loudermilk, the select committee’s chairman and vice-chairwoman, Reps. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and Liz Cheney (R-WY), said the panel had seen evidence that “directly contradicts” the claim made by Republicans on the Committee on House Administration — “of which you’re a member” — that they had reviewed security footage of the days before the Capitol attack and concluded that “[t]here were no tours, no large groups, [and] no one with MAGA hats on.”
“However, the Select Committee’s review of evidence directly contradicts that denial,” they added. “Based on our review of evidence in the Select Committee’s possession, we believe you have information regarding a tour you led through parts of the Capitol complex on January 5, 2021.”
“We propose meeting with you on the week of May 23, 2022,” the letter stated, asking that Loudermilk have a sit-down with the panel sometime next week.
In a joint statement with Rep. Rodney Davis, the top Republican on the Committee on House Administration, Loudermilk, one of 147 Republicans who voted to overturn the 2020 election results, accused the select committee, which he denounced as partisan, of “pushing a verifiably false narrative.”
"A constituent family with young children meeting with their Member of Congress in the House Office Buildings is not a suspicious group or 'reconnaissance tour,'” they said. “The family never entered the Capitol building.”
"The Select Committee is once again pushing a verifiably false narrative that Republicans conducted 'reconnaissance tours' on January 5th,” the statement read. “The facts speak for themselves; no place that the family went on the 5th was breached on the 6th, the family did not enter the Capitol grounds on the 6th, and no one in that family has been investigated or charged in connection to January 6th.”
The select committee’s invitation comes over a year after several House Democrats, particularly Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ), accused Republicans of heading tours in the days before January 6.
“[There were] members of Congress who had groups coming through the Capitol that I saw on January 5th for reconnaissance for the next day,” Sherrill said in a January 12, 2021, virtual town hall, according to CNN, stirring up a storm in Congress.
"If in fact it is found that members of Congress were accomplices to this insurrection, if they aided and abetted the crime, there may have to be actions taken beyond the Congress in terms of prosecution for that," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had said, reacting to Sherrill’s allegations.
Although Sherrill didn’t name any of these congressional representatives, House Republicans took issue with her statement and demanded she provide evidence to back up her claim.
CNN also pointed out that it was Loudermilk who filed an ethics complaint against Sherill and 33 other Democrats for “making allegations about Republican-led reconnaissance tours without any evidence.”
"A Member of Congress accusing another Member of committing a crime, without evidence, is morally reprehensible and a stain on this institution," Loudermilk fumed in his ethics complaint. "My Republican colleagues and I will not sit by while Democrats accuse their colleagues of treason for political gain. This type of conduct must not be tolerated."
Loudermilk is one of several Republican members of the House that the select committee is seeking to depose.
The committee has issued subpoenas to four other House Republicans — Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Mo Brooks (R-AL), and Scott Perry (R-PA) — neither of whom have confirmed their attendance.
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OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea (Reuters) - President Joe Biden arrived in South Korea on Friday, the first leg of his first trip to Asia as president.
Biden was greeted at the U.S. air base at Osan by South Korean foreign minister Park Jin, and the commanding general of U.S. forces in Korea, Paul LaCamera, among other American and South Korean officials.
Biden was due to meet with South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol later Friday at a Samsung Electronics plant, ahead of a full day of events on Saturday.
The visit will be the first meeting between the two leaders. Yoon took office on May 10, and has vowed to deepen ties with Washington.
The South Korean president hopes to gain assurances from Biden that the United States will strengthen its deterrence against North Korean threats, while expanding the decades-old alliance to tackle other issues.
Biden, meanwhile, is expected to bring a theme of countering China's presence in the region.
(Reporting by Josh Smith; editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)