One day after the Electoral College affirmed Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential victory, Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., said in an interview that he acknowledged Biden as the president-elect and believed the election was legitimate.
At the same time, Johnson plans to hold a Senate hearing Wednesday on election “irregularities,” saying there are “legitimate questions” about the way the election was administrated in Wisconsin and other states.
“All I’m trying to do is hold a very upfront, straightforward hearing talking about what controls there are in place, what fraud does occur, what can we do to prevent fraud in the future,” said Johnson in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Johnson contended there are unanswered questions about the election process.
But asked if he regarded the election as “legitimate,” he said, “Yes. I haven’t seen anything that would convince me that the results — the overall national result — would be overturned.”
In that vein, he said he had no plans currently to object next month when Congress meets to tabulate the Electoral College votes.
“Something would have to surface that would call into question the legitimacy of the election,” he said.
After weeks of expressing suspicion, raising questions or simply remaining silent, a growing number of congressional Republicans are acknowledging Biden’s victory now that the Electoral College has voted.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday for the first time fully acknowledged Biden’s victory and offered his congratulations.
“The Electoral College has spoken,” said McConnell. “So today I want to congratulate President-elect Biden… He’s devoted himself to public service for many years.”
McConnell also congratulated Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, the California senator.
Trump himself continues to deny he lost and repeats baseless claims about the election.
Committee hearing has been criticized
Johnson, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, has scheduled a Wednesday hearing on election “irregularities.”
His witnesses include Ken Starr, the former independent counsel, and three Republicans who have tried to overturn the 2020 election results: attorneys Jim Troupis and Jesse Binnall, and Pennsylvania state lawmaker Francis X. Ryan.
Troupis is a Wisconsin attorney who represented the Trump campaign in failed legal challenges to the election results in Wisconsin.
Committee Democrats plan to call as a witness Christopher Krebs, the former Homeland Security official who was fired by Trump after he defended the security of the election.
Johnson said he welcomed Krebs’ appearance.
While Johnson said he didn’t question Biden’s victory, he argued “there is tons of evidence of fraud in every election. It’s just ignored by the press mainly because generally it doesn’t rise to the level where it would actually impact the election outcomes.”
Johnson said he believed the Trump campaign had raised legitimate questions about aspects of the election process in Wisconsin, including the practice of allowing clerks to fill in witness addresses and the “Democracy in the Park” events in Madison, where poll workers stationed themselves in more than 200 locations to collect absentee ballots.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court rejected on a 4-3 vote Monday these and other challenges by the Trump campaign, finding one of the campaign’s arguments was without merit and its other objections were brought too late.
The top Democrat on Johnson’s committee released a statement Tuesday saying he expected Johnson’s hearing to promote “false narratives that seek to undermine public trust in the outcome of the 2020 election.”
Said Michigan Democrat Gary Peters:
“While some officials may frame this hearing as a matter of simply getting to the truth and ensuring every claim of an irregularity is heard and addressed, the real goal of this hearing is to help a defeated presidential candidate in his last-ditch effort to cling to power despite the undeniable fact that the American people have chosen Joe Biden to serve as the next President of the United States.”
This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Ron Johnson calls election legitimate and acknowledges Biden victory