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GOP senator won't rule out challenging Electoral College results in Congress

Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold Johnson15 Senate Republicans pledge to oppose lifting earmark ban 'Real Housewives of the GOP' — Wannabe reality show narcissists commandeer the party Republicans fret over divisive candidates MORE (R-Wis.) on Wednesday did not rule out challenging the results of the Electoral College next month when Congress formally certifies the vote.

Johnson, who is chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, announced the same day that he would hold a hearing next week on the "irregularities" of the 2020 election.

When asked if he plans to challenge the election results, Johnson told reporters: "I would say it depends on what we found out. I need more information. The American people need more information. I'm not ready to just close and slam the book on this thing and go 'OK, let's walk away from it.' "

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Johnson's remarks come as Rep. Mo BrooksMorris (Mo) Jackson BrooksConservative House members call on Senate to oppose ATF nominee House rejects GOP resolution to censure Waters The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - All US adults can get vaccine; decision Friday on J&J vax MORE (R-Ala.) has said he will object when Congress convenes next month to certify the Electoral College vote.

In order to get a vote on his objection, Brooks would need a senator to object as well. Brooks disclosed on Wednesday that he has spoken with 10 senators about his effort and was "cautiously optimistic" that at least one would join him.

Johnson said he had not discussed the matter with President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump: LeBron James's 'racist rants' are divisive, nasty North Carolina man accused of fraudulently obtaining .5M in PPP loans Biden announces picks to lead oceans, lands agencies MORE, who gave Brooks a shoutout on Twitter last week.

Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyChipotle says raising minimum wage would mean 'manageable' menu price hike GOP senator introduces bill to make DC part of Maryland McDaniel told RNC officials she has considered bid for Michigan governor MORE (R-Utah) on Tuesday criticized the push by House Republicans to challenge the Electoral College vote in Congress.

"Madness," Romney told reporters. "This is madness. We have a process. Recounts are appropriate. Going to the court is appropriate. Pursuing every legal avenue is appropriate. But trying to get electors not to do what the people voted to do is madness."

Lawmakers have only been able to force a debate and a vote on an objection twice since 1887, according to the Congressional Research Service.

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The first time was in 1969, regarding an elector from North Carolina who switched their vote. The second time was in 2005 over Ohio's electoral votes. In both instances, the objections were rejected and Congress counted the electoral votes as cast.

Top GOP senators have dismissed talk that the long-shot effort might have an impact on the ultimate result of the election.

Asked this week if he expected any challenges to be rejected, Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneGOP sees immigration as path to regain power Senate GOP keeps symbolic earmark ban Senate GOP crafts outlines for infrastructure counter proposal MORE (R-S.D.) responded: "Oh, yeah."

Sen. Mike BraunMichael BraunNew signs of progress emerge on police reform Tim Scott: 'No question' Floyd jury reached 'the right verdict' Overnight Energy: Biden reportedly will pledge to halve US emissions by 2030 | Ocasio-Cortez, Markey reintroduce Green New Deal resolution MORE (R-Ind.) questioned if "any one senator would probably feel comfortable doing that."

Electoral College electors are scheduled to meet on Dec. 14 to cast their votes.

"Once it hits the 14th, if nothing has happened, I think at that point the process has played itself out," Braun said.

Johnson's comments about the election results came as he announced that he had scheduled a committee hearing for next week to "examine irregularities" of the Nov. 3 election.

Johnson, who has stuck closely to Trump, said the goal was "full transparency and awareness."

"The fact remains that a large percentage of the American public does not view the 2020 election result as legitimate because of apparent irregularities that have not been fully examined," Johnson said in a statement.

The hearing will come after the Electoral College convenes to formally vote on Monday.

Election experts have dismissed claims, made by Trump and some of his allies, of widespread fraud. Trump's legal team has been largely unsuccessful with dozens of legal challenges in key battleground states that President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden announces picks to lead oceans, lands agencies Overnight Defense: Top general concerned about Afghan forces after US troops leave | Pentagon chief: Climate crisis 'existential' threat to US national security | Army conducts review after 4 Black soldiers harassed at Virginia IHOP Feds expect to charge scores more in connection to Capitol riot MORE won.