Jun 21, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Sen. Johnson's office sought to hand-deliver fake electors to Pence

Photo showing text messages between legislative aides on Jan. 6.
Photo: C-SPAN

The Jan. 6 committee on Tuesday displayed texts showing a Republican senator's aide seeking to hand-deliver fake election certificates from Michigan and Wisconsin to then-Vice President Mike Pence on Jan. 6.

Why it matters: The text messages underscore the extent to which Republican lawmakers tried to assist former President Trump's efforts to infiltrate the counting of electoral votes.

Driving the news: Sean Riley, an aide to Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), wrote in a text on Jan. 6 to Pence legislative director Chris Hodgson that the Republican senator wanted to hand over an "alternate slate of electors for MI and WI because archivist didn't receive them."

  • "Do not give that to him," the Pence aide wrote back.
  • A spokesperson for Johnson tweeted that the senator "had no involvement" in the creation of the fake elector list.
  • "This was a staff-to-staff exchange. His new chief of staff contacted the vice president’s office," Johnson spokesperson Alexa Henning said.

Between the lines: Trump also urged Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel to support his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results.

  • "Essentially he turned the call over to [lawyer John Eastman], who then proceeded to talk about the importance of the RNC helping the campaign gather these contingent electors in case any of the legal challenges that were ongoing changed the result of any of the states," McDaniel testified Tuesday during a pre-taped video.
  • "I think more just helping them reach out and assemble them, but my understanding is the campaign did take the lead and we just were helping them in that role," McDaniel said.

The big picture: Robert Sinners, a former Trump campaign staffer, told Jan. 6 investigators that the fake elector scheme made him "angry."

  • "I’m angry, because I think, in a sense … no one really cared if people were putting themselves in jeopardy," Sinners said.
  • "We were just kind of useful idiots or rubes at that point," he said.

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