GOP's Josh Hawley sparks outrage by asking Capitol cops if they were 'complicit' in riot he helped provoke
Josh Hawley, R- Mo., asks questions during a Senate Homeland Security& Governmental Affairs Committee hearing to discuss election security and the 2020 election process on Dec. 16. - Nash Greg/TNS

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) sparked angry backlash after questioning law enforcement officials about security failures in the Jan. 6 insurrection he helped provoke himself.

The Missouri Republican took part Tuesday in a joint investigative hearing by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and the Senate Rules Committee, where senators questioned former Capitol police chief Steven Sund, former Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger, former House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving and Robert Contee, the acting chief of police for the Metropolitan Police Department.

Hawley -- the first GOP senator to announce that he would challenge the election certification of President Joe Biden, in a move that was widely seen as motivation for the Donald Trump supporters who violently stormed into the building -- seized on remarks by retired Gen. Russell Honoré the day after the riot.

"In that [Sund] did not have sufficient police on hand to protect the Capitol, which has led me to believe that there was some complicity on behalf of the Capitol police and that will come out in the investigation," said Honoré, who has since been tapped by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to investigate the riot. "I hope I'm wrong."

Hawley asked each of the witnesses whether they felt complicit in the attack that left five dead -- and viewers were appalled and infuriated.