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Top Senate Democrat defends Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley from demands for their resignations

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'I think the Senate is a place of freedom'

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) (Stefani Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images)

After the deadly violence at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, numerous Democrats have called for the resignations of Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), claiming the Republican lawmakers are partly responsible for the violence because of their efforts to oppose the certification of President Joe Biden's Electoral College victory.

For example, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said last Friday that she has "demanded" their resignations because, in her view, Cruz, Hawley (and other Republicans), abandoned their oath of office.

"What we saw last week was not just a violent coup attempt, but we also saw a dereliction of duty and a betrayal of our country and a betrayal of the oath that we swear," Ocasio-Cortez said.

But one of the most senior Senate Democrats, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), has rebuffed Ocasio-Cortez's demand in a new interview.

What did Feinstein say?

Speaking with reporters at the Capitol on Tuesday, Feinstein defended those who objected to Biden's win, citing Senate debate being the "highest-level dialogue."

"I think the Senate is a place of freedom," Feinstein said, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

"And people come here to speak their piece, and they do, and they provide a kind of leadership. In some cases, it's positive, in some cases, maybe not. A lot of that depends on who's looking and what party they are," she continued. "But it's an important place to have this kind of dialogue. It's probably the highest-level dialogue that you get in an electoral body."

What do other Senate Democrats think?

As the Chronicle reported, some of Feinstein's Democratic colleagues do not believe Cruz and Hawley should be let off easy.

For example, Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) said, at the very least, Cruz and Hawley should be stripped of their spots on the coveted Senate Judiciary Committee.

"The fact that both of them, both of them, wanted to subvert the will of the people, wanted to tell the whole world and the United States that we did not have an honest election — I can't imagine any senator doing that, and then serving on Judiciary," Leahy said Tuesday.

What say Cruz and Hawley?

Both Republican senators have said they will not resign.

"Leading a debate in the Senate on ensuring election integrity is doing our jobs, and it's in no way responsible for the despicable terrorists who attacked the Capitol yesterday. And sorry, I ain't going anywhere," Cruz said on Twitter in response to Ocasio-Cortez's demand for his resignation.

Meanwhile, Hawley told KMBC-TV on Jan. 7, "I will never apologize for giving voice to the millions of Missourians and Americans who have concerns about the integrity of our elections. That's my job, and I will keep doing it."

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