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Sen. Bill Cassidy. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Republicans in Congress are facing backlash in their home states for questioning former President Donald Trump's involvement in the Jan 6. assault on the U.S. Capitol.

The big picture: State and county Republican apparatuses throughout the country are punishing those in their own party who want to hold the former president accountable, signaling that Trump's grasp on the GOP remains unfaded.

Sen. Bill Cassidy is the latest member to receive condemnation after the Louisiana senator sided with Democrats on a vote over the constitutionality to impeach a former president.

  • Cassidy voted in favor of the constitutionality of the impeachment trial and then told reporters Monday he thought House managers made a better argument and the former president's counsel was "disorganized."
  • The Baton Rouge Republican Party said his vote "was a betrayal of the people of Louisiana and a rebuke to those who supported President Trump.”

The Wyoming Republican Party censured Rep. Liz Cheney after she voted to impeach Trump last month. Cheney is the third-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives.

  • Rep. Tom Rice was censured by the South Carolina Republican Party for his vote to impeach Trump.
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger was censured by the LaSalle County, Illinois, Republican Central Committee.
  • Reps. Dan Newhouse and Jaime Herrera Beutler were both chastised by the Washington State Republican Party.
  • Rep. Fred Upton was censured by the Allegan County Republican Party and the Cass Country Republican Party in the state of Michigan.
  • Rep. Peter Meijer dodged a censure resolution after a Michigan GOP committee deadlocked on the issue.
  • Rep. David Valadao has managed to avoid censure in California thus far, but both he and Meijer immediately drew challengers for their votes to impeach the president.

Of note: The Arizona Republican Party censured three high-profile party figures who have clashed with Trump in the past.

  • Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey was censured for his decision to implement strict emergency rules during the pandemic, a practice Trump often discouraged, and he also endured tirades from Trump after he didn't overturn Biden's win in the state, per Axios' Jonathan Swan.
  • The state party also censured former Sen. Jeff Flake and Cindy McCain, who have both condemned the former president.

Go deeper

Impeachment trial recap, day 1: Senate votes trial is constitutional

The impeachment trial for former President Trump kicked off in the Senate on Tuesday, beginning with debate over the constitutionality of the House prosecuting a president who has already left office.

The bottom line: After four hours of arguments by each side, the Senate affirmed by a vote of 56-44 that it is constitutional to try a former president.

Michigan state senator caught doubling down on comments that Capitol riot was a "hoax"

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

After initially apologizing for saying that the Capitol attack was a "hoax," Michigan State Sen. Mike Shirkey was caught on a hot mic saying he stood by those comments, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Why it matters: Prominent Congressional Republicans such as Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), and other Trump allies have baselessly floated the idea that Capitol rioters were members of Antifa or others posing as Trump supporters.

  • Footage from Jan. 6 showed many rioters carried Trump flags, wore branded Trump clothing and chanted in support of Trump.

What they're saying: "I frankly don’t take back any of the points I was trying to make," Shirkey said, while talking to another Michigan lawmakers at a state legislative session.

  • “That wasn’t Trump people,” Shirkey said at the private meeting on Feb. 3 in a diner first by The Detroit Metro Times. “That’s been a hoax from day one. That was all pre-arranged."
  • "Why wasn't there more security? It was ridiculous, it was all staged,"

Background: A day earlier, Shirkey released an apology for calling the U.S. Capitol riots a hoax.

  • “I said some things in a videoed conversation that are not fitting for the role I am privileged to serve," Shirkey said in a press release.
  • "I own that.  I have many flaws. Being passionate coupled with an occasional lapse in restraint of tongue are at least two of them. I regret the words I chose, and I apologize for my insensitive comments.”

Of note: Separately, Shirkey was censured by the Hillsdale Republican Party, the Metro Times reported, for condemning armed "peaceful protesters" who stormed the Michigan state capitol and for "utter surrender" to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's pandemic measures.

Flashback: Trump summoned Shirkey and other Republican state lawmakers to Washington D.C. as part of the president's attempt to overturn the election results.

  • Shirley and the delegation of Michigan lawmakers released a joint statement after the visit stating they "had not yet been aware of any information that would change the outcome of the election in Michigan."

Lawmakers raise campaign cash off impeachment trial

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Members of Congress from both parties are using Donald Trump's second impeachment trial to solicit donations to their reelection committees.

Why it matters: Trump was a singular force in small-dollar fundraising throughout his four years in office, for both his supporters and critics. His impeachment trial may be lawmakers' last chance to use him as a grassroots money machine, and some in the House and Senate are taking full advantage.

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