“Present wild and baseless home claims of hackers and malicious algorithms flipping the vote in states throughout the nation attributable to ties to deceased international dictators serve solely to confuse, scare, and finally undermine confidence within the election,” Krebs instructed the Senate Homeland Safety and Governmental Affairs Committee Wednesday, in line with his ready remarks. “All authorities and elected officers in positions of energy or affect have an obligation to strengthen to the American those who these claims are false.”
Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican, mentioned Tuesday he wasn’t planning to dispute the outcomes in the course of the joint session of Congress, however he defended his choice to carry Wednesday’s listening to on election “irregularities.”
In his opening assertion, Johnson ticked off numerous allegations of fraud, criticizing Democrats for attacking him over the listening to after they’ve raised questions on vote counting in earlier elections.
Nonetheless, Johnson didn’t say he was attempting to dispute the result, saying that the query was “whether or not the extent of fraud would alter the election.”
“This 12 months, in dozens of court docket circumstances, via the certification course of in every state and by the Electoral Faculty vote, the conclusion has collectively been reached that it could not,” Johnson mentioned.
Michigan Sen. Gary Peters, the highest Democrat on the committee, mentioned that Wednesday’s listening to was harmful when many Republicans have did not acknowledge Biden’s win and selling baseless assaults on the election.
“Whether or not meant or not, this listening to provides a platform to conspiracy theories and lies, and it is a harmful train that has no place in america Senate,” Peters mentioned in his opening assertion.
Along with Krebs, the listening to’s witnesses embrace two Trump marketing campaign legal professionals who tried to overturn the election leads to Nevada and Wisconsin and a Republican Pennsylvania state consultant, in addition to former impartial counsel Kenneth Starr, who was a part of Trump’s impeachment protection.
“We’ve a course of on this nation, underneath the Structure and our judicial system, which needs to be adopted,” Sen. Mitt Romney, a Utah Republican who will not be collaborating within the listening to, instructed CNN final week. “The thought of attempting to alter that course of or interrupt it’s, in my view, a grave mistake.”
Requested Monday whether or not Biden was President-elect, Johnson mentioned it was “actually strolling down that path, is not it?” However Johnson defended his choice to carry his election fraud listening to, saying there’s “a big share of the American inhabitants that simply do not view this as a authentic end result for a bunch of causes.”
One of many witnesses in Wednesday’s listening to, James Troupis, represented the Trump marketing campaign in its unsuccessful court docket challenges in Wisconsin. One other witness, Jesse Binnall, who was Trump’s lawyer in Nevada, baselessly claimed on November 17 that Trump had received the state. The marketing campaign’s Nevada problem was additionally dismissed.
Johnson’s committee has been no stranger to controversy this 12 months. His committee launched the findings of its investigation into the enterprise dealings of Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, in the course of the fall marketing campaign, which Romney additionally criticized as a political transfer.
And final month, he invited a vaccine skeptic who has promoted the usage of hydroxychloroquine to deal with Covid-19 sufferers — regardless of the Meals and Drug Administration stating that it shouldn’t be used to deal with coronavirus sufferers — to testify at a committee listening to.
Congress will formally rely the Electoral Faculty vote on January 6, a course of the place a gaggle of Home Republicans are planning to object to the leads to states Biden received. It is a problem that may solely delay the inevitable, but when a Republican senator joins the objections, the 2 chambers are required to debate and vote on whether or not to uphold the problem.
Johnson mentioned final week that the listening to would assist him determine whether or not to object, and one other GOP senator who has not dominated out becoming a member of the Home Republicans, Rand Paul of Kentucky, can be a member of the Homeland Safety Committee.
On Tuesday, nevertheless, Johnson instructed the Journal-Sentinel he didn’t have any present plans to object to the election on the ground. “One thing must floor that will name into query the legitimacy of the election,” he mentioned.
This story has been up to date with extra developments Wednesday.
CNN’s Manu Raju and Ali Zaslav contributed to this report.