GOP senator won’t rule out challenging Electoral College results in Congress
Sen. Ron Johnson (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.’ “
Johnson’s remarks come as Rep. Mo Brooks (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 Trump, who gave Brooks a shoutout on Twitter last week.
Sen. Mitt Romney (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.
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 Thune (R-S.D.) responded: “Oh, yeah.”
Sen. Mike Braun (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 Biden won.
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