Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) has some explaining to do after the Jan. 6 Select Committee’s public hearing on Tuesday, in which the panel revealed his staff’s apparent involvement in a fake electors scheme to help then-President Trump overturn the 2020 election results.
Tuesday’s hearing focused on Trump’s pressure campaign targeting state officials as part of his and his allies’ broader efforts to subvert the election. The committee revealed a text exchange between Johnson’s chief of staff, Sean Riley, and Chris Hodgson, former Vice President Mike Pence’s assistant. Shortly before the Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6, Riley messaged Hodgson that the GOP senator had an “alternate slate of electors” from Michigan and Wisconsin that he wanted to deliver to Pence. Hodgson, however, advised Riley against going through with the request, supposedly coming from the senator.
Pressed on the committee’s revelation as he left the Capitol on Tuesday, Johnson awkwardly squirmed to get out of answering reporters’ questions on the matter.
Johnson first claimed to be on the phone as he attempted to dodge journalists.
After a reporter pointed out that it looked like Johnson’s phone was off, the senator pinned the blame on an unnamed House intern, who he claimed somehow obtained a packet of information on the fake electors and dropped it off at the senator’s office. The senator then claimed that the unnamed intern’s actions prompted his chief of staff to reach out to Pence’s office.
A distressed Johnson continued to deny having any involvement in the fake electors scheme, claiming “there’s no conspiracy here” and dismissed the revelation as “such a non-story” about a “staff to staff deal.”
Johnson then snapped at reporters as he continued insisting that he was not involved in the fake electors scheme at all.
“I was not involved in this at all. I don’t know why you’re asking me questions, so why don’t you just leave me alone?” Johnson said as he attempted to flee from reporters.
Watch reporters’ exchange with Johnson via CNN’s Manu Raju below: