Ron Johnson turned the Senate right into a platform for discredited electoral conspiracy theories

Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) and a group of other Senate Republicans finally confirmed Joe Biden’s victory that week – and then Johnson’s Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee held a hearing on Wednesday to undermine it.

Biden’s decisive victory on Monday’s electoral college forced Johnson and some of his Republican counterparts to belatedly acknowledge the reality of President Donald Trump’s defeat after weeks of suggesting that Trump could still somehow be declared the November winner. Now that Biden cannot deny that he will be the next president, the hearing basically served Republicans as a platform to lie about Biden’s victory.

“The election was stolen in many ways,” said Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) once. This was the most blunt example of Republicans trying to turn reality on its head.

But Paul didn’t even try to produce evidence to support his claim. And state officials from across the political spectrum have all reported no irregularities that affected the outcome – many swing states ran multiple recounts to make sure they did.

The witness list illustrated how Johnson tried to stack the deck. Among them were two Trump campaign attorneys, a Pennsylvania Republican lawmaker, and Ken Starr, former Bill Clinton investigator, who is perhaps best known these days as a Trump-friendly speaker on Fox News.

All of these witnesses had either blatant prejudice or little to no firsthand information about the security of the 2020 election, with the exception of Chris Krebs, the former head of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) who sent Trump last month Tweet fired after refuting Trump’s lies and conspiracy theories by calling the election “the safest story in America.”

Krebs, a Republican, repeatedly beat back suggestions from Johnson and others that the election results were somehow tampered with by suggesting that the censuses in all states that denied the Trump campaign are backed by paper votes.

Ron Johnson appears to be suffering from indigestion when Krebs denounces Republican election fraud lies that resulted in threats to him and other officials.

– Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) December 16, 2020

“It’s important to take a step back and see how the votes are cast in the country, especially paper votes, regardless of internet connections, regardless of hacking overseas, as long as you have the paper receipt … She can check your math. “

“Georgia did this three times and the results were consistent,” added Krebs, alluding to the repeated Georgia recounts, all of which showed Biden defeated Trump.

Krebs: “That’s why it’s so important to have a paper trail and paper voices. Even if there has been foreign interference from malicious algorithms, you can go back to the evidence. You can check your math, and Georgia did it three times.” & the results were consistent. “

– Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) December 16, 2020

Krebs patiently tried to explain the safeguards that have been put in place to prevent election fraud, but elsewhere made no attempt to hide the fact that he believes Republicans must move on.

“I think we have passed the point where we need to have talks about the outcome of these elections,” said Krebs, later adding: “We have to stop.” It undermines trust in democracy. “

Much of Johnson’s hearing could have been mistaken for a Fox News segment

Senior Homeland Security Committee member Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) began the hearing convicting Republicans of wasting time with a hearing aimed at promoting President-elect Biden in particular and the U.S. election in general delegitimize.

“Intentional or not, this hearing provides a platform for conspiracy theories and lies, and is a destructive exercise that has no place in the US Senate. Joe Biden won the election, “said Peters during his opening speech.

“There were no widespread electoral irregularities affecting the bottom line. These claims are wrong. And giving them more oxygen is a serious threat to the future of our democracy, ”he added.

Peters: “There weren’t any widespread electoral irregularities affecting the bottom line. These claims are false. And giving more oxygen is a serious threat to the future of our democracy … we’ve seen democracies around the world b / c collapsed similar words and actions. “

– Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) December 16, 2020

But those comments did not go well with Johnson, who labeled them “angry” and sparked a heated exchange with Peters by calling him a liar.

“This is not about venting your complaints,” replied Peters, telling Johnson to hit him repeatedly with the hammer to silence him.

In fact, Johnson’s hearing appeared to be primarily about making complaints. For example, Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) argued that Republicans who raise conspiratorial questions about election results are no different from the “Russia hoax” made by the Democrats. One important difference, however, is that while there is plenty of evidence that the Trump campaign collaborated with Russia, there is no evidence of any significant electoral irregularities.

Hawley also said that “I spoke to some of the voters at home yesterday – a group of about 30 people – every one of them, every one of them, told me that they felt disenfranchised, that their votes were wrong does not matter that the election was rigged. These are normal, reasonable people, these are not crazy people. “

But the fact that Trump voters believe the conspiracy theories that Republicans have put forward against election fraud doesn’t prove they are true. And when Republicans were asked in courtrooms and elsewhere to produce evidence beyond allegations and anecdotes, they found nothing.

If there was any doubt that Hawley’s comments on electoral fraud were from a place of malevolence, it was resolved by the fact that he directed each of the invited questions to Ken Starr, cable news director – and not a single one to cancer, the witness with by far the most firsthand information about the election.

By turning to Trump, the Republicans bind themselves

While more Republicans are succumbing to the reality of Biden’s victory, Wednesday’s hearing showed how many of them are still trying to win favor with Trump, whose lies about the election are becoming increasingly elusive.

For example, on Tuesday night, Trump tweeted an exposed conspiracy theory about voting machines switching votes from Trump to Biden – a claim that is not supported by any of the recounts that took place, including recounts of the aforementioned paper votes that Krebs mentioned.

“Study: Dominion Machines moved 2-3% of the Trump vote to Biden. Far more votes than necessary to influence the election. “Florida, Ohio, Texas and many other states won with even bigger profit margins than projected. Did just as well with Swing States, but bad things have happened. @OANN

– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 16, 2020

As if on cue, Trump wasted no time after the hearing ended, highlighting how effortlessly he lies about anything and everything. He tweeted that Cancer “was utterly upset and proven wrong at the Senate hearing,” though anyone who saw it knows nothing like that happened.

Chris Krebs was utterly upset at the Senate hearing on the 2020 fraudulent election and has been proven wrong. Massive FRAUD took place with machines, people voting from outside the state, illegals, dead, no signatures – and much more!

– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 16, 2020

The defeated president has obvious selfish reasons for falsely insisting that he lost to fraud only, but Republican senators are playing a dangerous game. Not only do they de-legitimize the US elections, but they run the risk of demoralizing the Republicans’ voices, who are told that the vote doesn’t matter as the election results are predetermined.

Just weeks before the Georgia runoff, which puts control of the U.S. Senate at stake, the conspiracy theories advancing Republicans like Johnson, Paul and Hawley could do serious harm to their cause. However, it’s unclear if they’re thinking beyond making the perfect 30-second sound bite for Sean Hannity’s Fox News show.

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