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Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) said he "will not be participating" in an effort in Congress to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory on Jan. 6, writing on Facebook that he has been urging "colleagues also to reject this dangerous ploy."

Driving the news: Sasse's post comes a day after Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) became the first senator to say he will object to the Electoral College certification, joining a group of House Republicans.

  • Sasse appeared to take a veiled jab at Hawley, who is widely considered a potential 2024 Republican presidential candidate, writing: "Let’s be clear what is happening here: We have a bunch of ambitious politicians who think there’s a quick way to tap into the president’s populist base without doing any real, long-term damage."
  • "But they’re wrong – and this issue is bigger than anyone’s personal ambitions. Adults don’t point a loaded gun at the heart of legitimate self-government," he added.

The big picture: Sasse wrote that there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud that could have changed the result of the election, and the "president and his allies are playing with fire" by contesting the election in "courts, then state legislatures, now the Congress."

  • “All the clever arguments and rhetorical gymnastics in the world won’t change the fact that this January 6th effort is designed to disenfranchise millions of Americans simply because they voted for someone in a different party," Sasse wrote.
"[Trump and his allies] have unsuccessfully called on judges and are now calling on federal officeholders to invalidate millions and millions of votes. If you make big claims, you had better have the evidence. But the president doesn’t and neither do the institutional arsonist members of Congress who will object to the Electoral College vote."
Sen. Ben Sasse on Facebook

Between the lines: Biden will undoubtedly still be certified the winner of the election, since the Trump-backed effort would have to win support from skeptical Republicans and the Democratic-led House of Representatives.

  • But the move will force Senate Republicans to go on the record on whether they agree with Trump's baseless allegations — many of which have been thrown out in court — that there was widespread election fraud.
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and other members of GOP leadership in the Senate have urged fellow Republicans not to participate in the effort.

Go deeper

Jan 29, 2021 - Axios Twin Cities

Scoop: Karin Housley weighing run for Minnesota governor

Karin Housley conceding her Senate race in 2018. Photo: Jerry Holt/Star Tribune via Getty Images

Former U.S. Senate candidate Karin Housley is the latest Republican to acknowledge she's considering a run against Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz next year.

What she's saying: "We're talking about it," Housley, a state senator from St. Mary's Point, confirmed to Axios. "We haven't completely ruled it out."

Conservatives warn culture, political wars will worsen

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The verdict is clear: The vast majority of Republicans will stand firm with former President Trump. The next phase is clear, too: Republicans are rallying around a common grievance that big government, big media and big business are trying to shut them up, shut them out and shut them down. 

Why it matters: The post-Trump GOP, especially its most powerful media platforms, paint the new reality as an existential threat. This means political attacks are seen — or characterized — as assaults on their very being. 

Senate Democrats demand answers on FBI's Kavanaugh probe

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senate Democrats are demanding that the FBI hand over "all records and communications" related to the FBI tip line set up to investigate Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh when he was a nominee in 2018.

Why it matters: The ask comes after the FBI revealed it received more than 4,500 tips about Kavanaugh when he was awaiting Senate confirmation amid sexual assault allegations. Only the most "relevant" of these tips were forwarded to the Trump White House.