Johnson, Tiffany Join Trump’s Effort to Overturn Election
Rep. Tom Tiffany signs onto Texas lawsuit and Sen. Ron Johnson calls hearing on election "irregularities."
Two Wisconsin Republicans in Congress are aligning themselves with President Donald Trump‘s efforts to overturn the results of the November presidential election in Wisconsin and nationwide.
U.S. Rep. Tom Tiffany, R-Minocqua, on Thursday signed onto a lawsuit filed by the Republican attorney general of Texas with the U.S. Supreme Court that would throw out Wisconsin’s presidential votes and instead have the election decided by the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature.
Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, is calling a Senate hearing to examine “irregularities in the 2020 election.” Speaking to reporters in Washington, Johnson said he would not rule out seeking to overturn the results of the Electoral College’s vote.
Of all the efforts by the Trump campaign and allies to challenge the election’s outcome, the Texas lawsuit may be the most brazen. In addition to Wisconsin, it would invalidate millions of votes in Georgia, Michigan and Pennsylvania — all of them presidential swing states won by Democratic President-elect Joe Biden. The effect would be to overturn the outcome of the presidential election. State leaders, including Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul, have blasted the lawsuit, and legal experts say it stands virtually no chance of succeeding.
The brief attacks the use of drop boxes for absentee ballots across the state and contends that “any count or certification of the presidential election in Wisconsin that includes absentee ballots cast in drop boxes is in direct violation” of the Constitution.
“It doesn’t cost (members of Congress) much to sign an amicus brief,” said Philip Chen, a political science professor at Beloit University. “I don’t know if they’re seeing the long-term harm this can do to the public’s faith in elections.”
Trump’s refusal to concede the election and his support for longshot legal challenges and multiple recounts in states he lost is unprecedented in modern elections. Beyond undermining people’s faith in elections, Chen said some of the cases, including the Texas lawsuit, would upend centuries of U.S. election laws and practices.
In a statement to WPR, Tiffany said the lawsuit “is about the integrity of our system. Every legal vote must be counted, credible complaints of fraud and irregularities must be investigated, and legitimate legal challenges must be heard and addressed by our independent judiciary.”
Johnson Won’t Rule Out Challenging Electoral College Outcome
Johnson, who chairs the Senate’s Homeland Security Committee, scheduled the committee’s hearing on the election for Wednesday — two days after the Electoral College votes on Monday. Biden won the electoral college vote 306 to 232.
Johnson reportedly said whether or not he’ll challenge election results “depends on what we find out.”
“I need more information,” Johnson said, according to The Hill. “The American people need more information. I’m not ready to slam the book on this thing and go, ‘OK, let’s walk away from it.'”
A spokesperson for Johnson did not immediately respond to a request for comment about what information Johnson is seeking, or what would lead him to make up his mind about the election results ahead of Jan. 6, when Congress will officially count electoral votes.
This week, Johnson held hearings that highlighted COVID-19 treatments touted by the president, featured the testimony of an anti-vaccination physician and questioned the science behind coronavirus mitigation strategies, including mask-wearing and social distancing.
Chen, the political science professor, said he’s not surprised Trump’s allies in Congress have supported the moves by the president to reject the election’s outcome. They may be thinking of a potential primary challenge in 2022 or of a Trump endorsement in their future races — or they may simply be engaged in what political scientists call “partisan cheerleading” to signal that they identify with the president.
“I don’t think anyone expects Donald Trump to fade from the spotlight or to loosen his grip on the Republican Party,” Chen said.
It’s the president’s actions first and foremost that run the risk of undermining democracy, Chen said.
“What Donald Trump has done and what Donald Trump’s legal surrogates have done is far beyond anything we’ve ever seen in recent memory in U.S. elections, and I think is profoundly dangerous,” he said.
Biden won Wisconsin by about 21,000 votes. A recount in Wisconsin’s two most populous counties yielded an increase of 166 votes for Biden, and the state’s Elections Commission certified the victory and Biden’s right to the state’s 10 electoral votes. On Friday, a Trump campaign lawsuit that would have thrown out thousands of ballots was rejected by a Racine County judge.
Listen to the WPR report here.
Tiffany, Johnson Align With President’s Efforts To Overturn Biden Victory was originally published by Wisconsin Public Radio.
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