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Wisconsin Sen Ron Johnson wanted to hand-deliver a slate of fake “alternate” Electoral College votes to Vice President Mike Pence on the morning of January 6, according to a new set of text messages revealed by the select committee investigating the Capitol riot.
In a conversation obtained by the committee and shared publicly for the first time on Tuesday, an aide to Mr Johnson, Sean Riley, told Mr Pence’s legislative director, Chris Hodgson, that the senator had the information to hand-deliver to the vice president when the latter was on Capitol Hill for the certification of the election later in the day.
The aide to Mr Pence flatly rejected the request, according to the text messages. Mr Pence roundly dismissed the idea that he had constitutional authority to accept any fake sets of electors that were not the lawfully-submitted results from state legislatures in the weeks leading up to January 6.
“Do not give that to him,” Mr Hodgson wrote to Mr Johnson’s aide.
Mr Johnson was one of the handful of GOP senators who defied the orders of Mitch McConnell and remained active in embracing and spreading Donald Trump’s falsehoods about the 2020 election and involved in the effort to interfere in the certification of the results right up until January 6 itself.
The Wisconsin senator is currently up for reelection this year. His support for the alternate supports of electors, which had no legal recognition or backing, changed as the Capitol fell under siege on January 6 and he would later vote to certify all state Electoral College slates as submitted.
Wisconsin Lt Gov Mandela Barnes, who is running for the Democratic nomination for US Senate in the state, called on Mr Johnson to resign after the revelation.
Ron Johnson tried to overturn our election and destroy our democratic process. I'm calling on him to resign.
— Mandela Barnes (@TheOtherMandela) June 21, 2022
Other members of Congress were involved in the effort to overturn the election up until the attack on Capitol Hill as well, such as Reps Jim Jordan and Andy Biggs, who, according to Arizona’s House Speaker Rusty Bowers on Tuesday, was calling lawmakers in his home state and urging them to overturn the victory of Joe Biden in the state on the morning of January 6.
The falsehoods about the 2020 election led to the storming of Congress later that day by thousands of Trump supporters, many of whom were chanting and threatening violence against US lawmakers.