Ron Johnson embroiled in controversy over group of workers handing Pence fake electors listing - The Hill

Conservative Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), who faces a tricky re-election race this 12 months, finds himself embroiled in new controversy after the apartment Jan. 6 opt for Committee printed Tuesday that his workforce tried at hand a listing of fake electors to then-vp Mike Pence.  

Johnson is facing hard questions on how a whole lot he knew of his body of workers's effort to get Pence to admire another set of electors for Michigan and Wisconsin, two crucial states that helped Joe Biden win the 2020 election.  

Johnson on Wednesday declined to say even if he approved his aide Sean Riley handy the listing electors to Pence on Jan. 6, 2021, or whether he knew previously what his aide deliberate to do. He also declined to say even if he knew the contents of the envelope that become to accept to Pence's team of workers. 

"This came about so speedy, this is 18 months in the past. This simply happened, we took care of it. end of story. There's nothing else to claim about this," he referred to when requested what he knew of the transaction. 

"There's nothing else to assert about this," he said, accusing newshounds who requested him for greater details of "carrying water for the Democrat birthday celebration." 

Alexa Henning, a spokeswoman for Johnson, issued a statement Tuesday claiming that Johnson "had no foreknowledge" that the false slate of electors turned into going to be brought to his office and customarily minimized his involvement in the attempted transaction.  

"The senator had no involvement within the introduction of an alternate slate of electors and had no foreknowledge that it became going to be delivered to our office. This changed into a group of workers-to-team of workers alternate. His new Chief of workforce contacted the vice president's office," Henning tweeted.  

but Johnson told journalists Tuesday afternoon "i used to be really ignorant of it." 

"My chief of body of workers contacted the vice chairman's personnel and mentioned, 'Do you want this?' They stated 'no' and we didn't deliver it and that's the end of story," he spoke of.  

Johnson referred to "somebody delivered" the envelope to his workplace, and that asked that his personnel deliver it to the vice president. The senator declined to assert who reached out to his workplace.  

asked Tuesday afternoon whether he supported the trouble to get the slate of electors to Pence, Johnson observed "I had no skills of this." 

"I had no thought this became even going to be delivered to us. It acquired delivered staff to body of workers. My chief of group of workers did the correct thing, contacted the vice chairman's body of workers. They stated they didn't need it so we didn't carry it," he said.  

but even fellow Republicans find it hard to believe that Johnson's aide would be daring satisfactory to provide a faux slate of electors to Pence in try to cease the certification of Biden's victory without alerting his boss in enhance.  

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) on Wednesday talked about he desires to understand more about who became involved to the trouble to get Pence to throw out the duly elected electors for Michigan and Wisconsin.  

"My initial response changed into one of concern. Then Sen. Johnson observed he turned into unaware of it. I and others like myself would want to dig into that, find out just who knew what and when. without doubt an attempt a false slate of electors would strike at the coronary heart of our democracy," he stated.  

The house panel investigating last 12 months's attack on the Capitol on Tuesday made public a series of texts displaying Riley's makes an attempt to install a hand-off between the senator and vice chairman.  

"Johnson must hand whatever to VPOTUS please recommend," Johnson's aide texted Pence aide, Chris Hodgson, presently earlier than Congress convened in a joint session to certify the election outcomes.  

When Hodgson requested what it became, Riley texted: "Alternate slate of electors for MI and WI because archivist didn't get hold of them." 

"do not supply that to him," Hodgson spoke back tersely.  

The revelation outraged Johnson's Democratic colleagues, who say that his group of workers may also have damaged the legislation by means of attempting to publish a false set of electors to Pence.  

"completely appalling if that took place," pointed out Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.). "i hope the particulars are entirely explored with the aid of the clicking in a method that individuals get their hands round and consider how enormous this is when you start trying to substitute electors from what a state has licensed and submitted." 

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), whose state's duly elected electors could have been thrown out if Pence authorized and deployed the contents of the envelope, noted making an attempt to overturn the results of a sound election can be a violation of legislations. 

"firstly, it's horrifying that they definitely had a separate neighborhood of electors and notion that turned into ok. I don't be aware of what came about with Sen. Johnson however he certainly has promoted the 'huge Lie,'" Stabenow spoke of.  

asked no matter if an Ethics Committee investigation is warranted, Stabenow noted, "It is awfully critical. We'll leave it to the Ethics Committee." 

however she brought "it's severe if he in anyway became acknowledging any of this as official." 

"fake electors actually could be an effort to overturn the executive," she introduced.  

Johnson referred to Democrats are already attacking him over the attempted hand-off.  

Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, who is running within the Senate Democratic simple to problem Johnson in November, accused the Republican senator of making an attempt to undermine democracy.  

"He actually tried to hand Mike Pence false ballots. as soon as once again, Ron Johnson has confirmed he's a danger to our country and our basic rights. I'm calling for him to resign instantly," Barnes stated.  

Philip Schulman, a spokesperson for the Democratic party of Wisconsin, said in its place of specializing in what's most efficient for Wisconsinites, "Johnson's focus in Washington is working to undermine democracy."

A Marquette law college ballot of 803 registered Wisconsin voters released on Wednesday confirmed Barnes main Johnson 46 % to forty four % in a hypothetic matchup.  

The equal ballot confirmed Johnson trailing Democratic candidate Sarah Godlewski by using two features and narrowly beating Democratic candidate Alex Lasry via three elements.  

Brandon Scholz, a Wisconsin-primarily based Republican strategist, although, envisioned the have an impact on of the Jan. 6 committee's revelation may have little impact on the influence of the Senate race.  

"not many individuals care," he talked about of the news popping out of the Jan. 6 committee's hearings. "It basically is variety of a D.C. show. whether or not this has any traction amongst voters right here, nowadays i might tell you no." 

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Scholz observed there's "so a whole lot content material" in the Jan. 6 committee's investigation that "it bounces off people." 

He mentioned that Democratic voters are going to be fired up over the revelation "but they're no longer going to vote for Ron Johnson anyway."

And, he stated, "I don't believe Republicans are going to take this as something that's going to cause them to vote against Johnson." 

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