Monday, February 6, 2023
HomeWorldNew paperwork element Sen. Ron Johnson asking about electors

New paperwork element Sen. Ron Johnson asking about electors

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The previous chairman of the Wisconsin Republican Get together mentioned Republican Sen. Ron Johnson spoke to him weeks earlier than Joe Biden assumed the presidency about having the state’s GOP-controlled Legislature, somewhat than voters, select Wisconsin’s presidential electors, in keeping with newly launched paperwork from closed-door testimony to the Home Jan. 6 committee.

Johnson, in an announcement Tuesday, mentioned he had no recollection of the dialog with Andrew Hitt and accused the committee investigating the 2021 Capitol riot of trying to “smear” him by selectively releasing textual content messages.

“I’ve no recollection of the cellphone name referenced within the texts, and due to this fact have no idea the context of any remark I may need made,” Johnson mentioned in an announcement. “My purpose because the November 2020 elections has constantly been to revive confidence in our election system.”

Hitt, who resigned as state celebration chairman in July 2021, testified earlier than the Jan. 6 committee on Feb. 22. The transcript of his interview was launched on Monday. Hitt didn’t reply to messages from The Related Press left Tuesday looking for remark.

Hitt supplied the committee with a textual content message he despatched to Mark Jefferson, the Wisconsin Republican Get together govt director, on Dec. 7, 2020. That was only a week earlier than Wisconsin’s electors met to forged their ballots for Biden, who defeated then-President Donald Trump by practically 21,000 votes within the state. On the identical time, Republicans had been discussing methods round having the state’s electors awarded to Biden.

Assault on the U.S. Capitol

“Ron referred to as me proper after and now’s arguing for us to have the legislature select the electors. OMG,” Hitt’s textual content message to Jefferson mentioned.

“What’s he doing?” Jefferson replied.

“There’s a big quantity of stress constructing on them to discover a approach across the electoral faculty,” Hitt advised Jefferson.

“How can he be ok with selling that although?” Jefferson mentioned. “Does he consider we received right here?”

Jefferson declined to remark Tuesday.

Hitt advised the Jan. 6 committee that he opposed having the Legislature award electoral votes, that he didn’t suppose Republican legislators would do it, and that he advised Johnson that attorneys for the Legislature had weighed in and mentioned lawmakers didn’t have the ability to do this.

Hitt testified that he didn’t recall Johnson giving any causes for why he wished the Legislature to award the electors or that Johnson wished him to do something about it. Hitt described Johnson’s feedback as a “common grievance.”

“He didn’t ask me to name anyone,” Hitt testified.

Hitt was amongst 10 Republicans who met secretly within the Wisconsin Capitol on Dec. 14, 2020, the identical day as Democrats met to forged the state’s electoral votes for Biden. Trump supporters wished the pretend electors in battleground states to be accepted with a view to hand the election to Trump.

The texts between Hitt and Jefferson confirmed their issues concerning the plan.

“Now how are we gonna get this foolish electors assembly canceled? I worry that we received’t,” Jefferson texted Hitt, in reference to the Republicans.

Hitt additionally testified that Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani wished to maintain the Republicans’ assembly secret. Giuliani mentioned in a single convention name that there needs to be “no press, no heads up” concerning the assembly.

On Jan. 4, 2021, in keeping with a query requested by a Jan. 6 committee member, Jefferson texted Hitt that “freaking Trump idiots need somebody to fly unique elector papers to the Senate President.”

Johnson’s workers tried to get the slate of pretend electors delivered to then-Vice President Mike Pence, however Pence’s workers rejected them.

Johnson did meet privately with Republican Wisconsin legislative leaders on Nov. 10, 2021, and advised the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel then that state lawmakers ought to take over the operating of federal elections, somewhat than Wisconsin’s bipartisan elections fee. Republican Meeting Speaker Robin Vos, who was in that assembly, mentioned Tuesday that Johnson didn’t convey up the potential of having the Legislature forged electoral votes.

Johnson, in his assertion Tuesday, mentioned it was “indeniable that there have been numerous irregularities with that election.” He mentioned the elections fee issued steerage that was in opposition to the regulation, in reference to profitable lawsuits introduced by Republicans. Johnson additionally referenced six election payments handed by Republicans that Democratic Gov. Tony Evers vetoed.

“I need to repair the issues, Democrats solely appear concerned about enjoying politics and making it simpler to cheat,” Johnson mentioned.

The Jan. 6 committee final month launched an 814-page report after the panel interviewed greater than 1,000 witnesses, held 10 hearings and obtained greater than one million pages of paperwork. It has been releasing transcripts of its interviews since then. The committee urged the Justice Division to convey prison expenses in opposition to Trump.

Johnson has repeatedly downplayed the violence on the Capitol on Jan. 6, whereas additionally elevating issues about widespread voter fraud regardless of there being no proof to again it up.

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