WASHINGTON — Minutes before Congress was scheduled to begin certifying Joe Biden’s victory on Jan. 6, 2021, an aide to U.S. Senator Ron Johnson told former Vice President Mike Pence’s staff that Johnson personally endorses Republican votes in Wisconsin. Pence wanted to hand over and Michigan posing as fake presidential voters for Donald Trump.
“Johnson needs to hand something over to VPOTUS, please advise,” Sean Riley, Johnson’s chief of staff, said in a text message to Pence staffer Chris Hodgson at 12:37 p.m. that day, according to evidence presented Tuesday by the selected committee. of the House investigating the attack on the United States Capitol.
“What is it?” Hodgson, Pence’s former director of legislative affairs, replied.
“Alternative list of voters for MI and WI because the archivist did not receive them,” Riley wrote back.
Hodgson then said to Riley, “Don’t give him that.”
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The exchange offers a new look at the Oshkosh Republican’s involvement in Trump’s bid to halt the certification of the 2020 election, a campaign to nullify the election results fueled by Trump’s false claims of voter fraud that sparked a rebellion. in the United States Capitol.
The proof presented on Tuesday showed again that Wisconsin — one of the seven states Biden won and where groups of Republicans gathered as false presidential voters — was at the center of efforts to undo the election.
Johnson said in a statement via a spokesperson that he has not attempted to contact Pence. “This is a complete NOT story,” he said.
Johnson says he was ‘essentially unaware’
In a separate interview with CNNJohnson said he was “essentially unaware” of his office’s contact with Pence’s team. “This was a staff-to-staff exchange… Someone delivered this to our office and asked for it to be delivered to the vice president,” Johnson said. “I was not involved in any alternative voter list. I had no idea this would even be delivered to us.”
“My chief of staff did the right thing – contacted the vice president’s staff,” he added. “They said (they) didn’t want it, so we didn’t deliver it.”
When asked why his office offered the envelope to Pence’s team without checking it first, Johnson said again that his team had offered it to the vice president and the vice president refused to take it.
“Somebody from the House, a staff intern, you know, said, ‘The vice president needs this,’ or whatever,” Johnson said. told reporters outside the Capitol. “Again, I wasn’t involved. I don’t know what they said.’
Alexa Henning, a spokeswoman for Johnson, claimed that Johnson “was not involved in the creation of an alternate list of voters and did not know in advance that it would be delivered to our office”.
“This was a staff-to-staff exchange,” Henning wrote in a tweet† “His new chief of staff contacted the vice president’s office. The vice president’s office told him not to give it to him and we didn’t. No further action was taken. End of story.”
Still, Johnson planned to make an effort to turn down Wisconsin voters on Jan. 6, but changed course after a violent mob pursuing the same goal attacked the U.S. Capitol.
Riley, who first started working for Johnson in 2015, started his new job as Johnson’s chief of staff in January 2021 after working for Trump for a year. He did not respond to an interview request from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., said her Republican counterpart’s actions amounted to “direct support for Trump’s conspiracy to overthrow the will of the people of Wisconsin.”
Ron Johnson on January 6th
Two days before the January 6, 2021 attack, Johnson was reportedly… among a group of GOP senators attending a meeting with MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell with allegations of voter fraud.
Prior to the certification vote, Johnson planned to file a floor appeal against Wisconsin voters. Instead, he signed Arizona’s formal objection, a vote that took place before the attack, and then voted in favor of accepting the Arizona slate after the uprising.
Later in 2021, Johnson then met with Wisconsin state legislators in the Capitol to… discuss the legislature taking over the presidential and federal elections and dismantling the state election commission.
Johnson met for an hour privately with GOP legislative leaders in the Capitol in early November, weeks before launching a reelection campaign and as the state’s Republican base called for greater scrutiny of the 2020 election.
Testimonials and evidence presented Tuesday also suggested that state GOP officials were left in the dark about the motivations or details of the plan to get Congress to accept a false slate from presidential voters.
Former Wisconsin Republican Party chairman Andrew Hitt, who filed election paperwork and claimed to be a Trump voter, told the Jan. 6 committee that he only agreed to do so if it was used in the event that Trump’s legal challenges would undo the election result.
“I was told these would only count if a court ruled in our favor. So that would have used our voters. Well, would have used our voters in ways we weren’t told and we wouldn’t have supported,” he said. Hitt in a testimony presented in a committee hearing on Tuesday.
A text from GOP executive director Mark Jefferson, also presented on Tuesday, indicated that Trump’s campaign team wanted voter paperwork to be flown to Washington, D.C.
“Freaking Trump idiots want someone to send original voter papers to the Senate president. They’re going to call one of us and tell us what the hell is going on,” Jefferson wrote.
Democrats Respond to Johnson’s Involvement
The revelations about Johnson’s alleged efforts to get Trump a new term immediately backfired from Democrats.
“Ron Johnson was actively trying to undermine this democracy. He was literally trying to give Mike Pence a list of fake voters,” Mandela Barnes, Wisconsin’s lieutenant governor and a leading Democratic candidate for Johnson’s senate seat, tweeted†
“I call on him to step down,” Barnes wrote in another tweet†
Alex Lasry, Tom Nelson and Sarah Godlewski, also Democratic candidates for the Senate, similarly criticized Johnson.
“Trump and his MAGA allies planned, promoted and paid for an incendiary conspiracy to reverse a lost election,” lasry wrote:† “And Ron Johnson tried to deliver it to DC on a silver platter.”
“Clearly Ron Johnson is a threat to our democracy and unfit to continue serving in the United States Senate,” Godlewski said in a statement.
Nelson suggested that the Justice Department further investigate Johnson’s role. “Not only should Johnson resign and be placed under oath, but all signs point to evidence of a crime for the US Department of Justice to investigate.” he said.
This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: January 6 Hearing: Ron Johnson Wanted to Deliver Fake Voters to Pence