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Hawley denies trying to overturn election results

Sen. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyTrump plugs Hawley's new book over tech industry Cheney drama exposes GOP's Trump rifts Pollster Frank Luntz: 'I would bet on' Trump being 2024 GOP nominee MORE (R-Mo.) denied on Wednesday that he was trying to overturn the presidential election with his votes to challenge the Electoral College results in Arizona and Pennsylvania on Jan. 6.

Hawley told St. Louis radio station KMOX that he did not aim to change President Biden’s election results with his votes and instead sought a congregational debate on “election integrity.”

“I never said that the goal was to overturn the election,” he said. “That was never the point and it was never possible.”

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“What we need to have are elections that are fair, free and open, and I think Congress needs to do its job and look into election irregularities,” the senator said. 

Hawley’s votes to contest the results came after former President TrumpDonald TrumpDemocrats, activists blast reported Trump DOJ effort to get journalists' phone records Arizona secretary of state gets security detail over death threats surrounding election audit Trump admin got phone records of WaPo reporters covering Russia probe: report MORE for weeks after the election promoted unfounded claims that widespread voter fraud led to his loss and called on his supporters to protest certification on Jan. 6. 

Rioters supporting Trump ended up storming the Capitol that day in an attack that resulted in five deaths and temporarily delayed Congress from affirming Biden’s election win. 

Congress reconvened later that evening after the building was secured. Eight Republican senators and 139 House GOP members still voted to challenge the Electoral College results in at least one of the two states despite the day’s violence.

Hawley and Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzCheney drama exposes GOP's Trump rifts Pollster Frank Luntz: 'I would bet on' Trump being 2024 GOP nominee Tim Scott sparks buzz in crowded field of White House hopefuls MORE (R-Texas) were among the most scrutinized, facing accusations they incited violence by committing to teaming up with House Republicans contesting the results, which forced both chambers to head into debate before eventually certifying the vote.

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The Missouri senator refuted that characterization of his actions, calling it “a lie” that he provoked the rioters by suggesting Biden’s election could be overturned. 

"That's just a lie," Hawley says. "That is a lie told by the left-wing mob that now wants to silence me and Ted Cruz and 140 House members and 13 senators and anybody who would dare stand up to them. Anyone who is a Trump supporter who refuses to bow the knee. And I'm just not gonna be silenced.”

"It is a lie that I was trying to overturn an election or that Ted Cruz was trying to overturn an election,” he added. “It is a lie that I incited violence."

When asked during the interview if he currently or before the Jan. 6 vote thought “the election was stolen” or that Biden “is an illegitimate president,” Hawley responded, “I’ve never used that rhetoric.”

Several Democrats, as well the largest newspapers in Missouri, called on Hawley to resign after his Electoral College challenge.