Senator Ron Johnson is usually a cheerleader for Donald Trump’s most dangerous causes. He has promoted the former president’s favorite COVID conspiracies, aided his effort to undermine U.S. intelligence, and more. During January 6 committee hearings on Tuesday, lawmakers showed that the Wisconsin Republican’s office also played an active role in the plot to stop the election certification on January 6, 2021.
The committee revealed that before Vice-President Mike Pence had counted the electoral vote, formally handing the win to Joe Biden, Johnson’s chief of staff tried to skew the count by submitting fake electors from Michigan and Wisconsin, two states that went for Biden by a slim margin. In a text exchange between Riley and Pence’s legislative director, Chris Hodgson, Riley said his boss needed to hand-deliver the slate of fake electors, while Hodgson was having none of it.
After the texts were made public on Tuesday, Johnson’s office tried to distance him from the scheme in a carefully worded denial. His spokesperson, Alexa Henning, tweeted that the senator was not involved in “the creation” of the bogus slate of electors, that Johnson had “no foreknowledge” about its arrival at his office, and that the texts in question were a “staff to staff exchange,” not so subtly throwing Riley under the bus. But she said nothing about whether Johnson was onboard with his own chief of staff’s effort to get Pence to join the election conspiracy.