EXCLUSIVE: Republican Sen. Ron Johnson said Tuesday that the likelihood of his efforts with GOP Senate colleagues to have an electoral commission to review the results of the presidential election approved is “a long shot, at best,” but said that was “not a reason not to try.”
Johnson, R-Wis., joined a group of Republican senators led by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, over the weekend in announcing that they would object to the certification of the Electoral College results during a joint session of Congress on Jan. 6 unless there was an emergency 10-day audit of the results by an electoral commission.
“There is an issue here that needs to be investigated,” Johnson said during an interview with Fox News. “The likelihood of this is a long shot, at best.”
Johnson told Fox News that an electoral commission would only be approved if it was passed by a majority in the House of Representatives and with 60 votes in the Senate.
“It has to be a bipartisan agreement,” Johnson said. “I understand the long-shot nature, but there are a lot of pieces of legislation that are long shots.”
He added: “Not taking action, not proposing something just because you don’t think you’ll succeed, is not a reason not to try.”
Johnson said he joined Cruz and his Republican colleagues “because I think the last thing we can do is ignore the problem.”
“I am generally a problem solver, and the first step in solving any problem is acknowledging you have one,” Johnson said. “We went through four years of liberal progressives and Democrats who refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of President Trump – that was damaging to our country.”
Johnson went on to list some of his concerns surrounding the election, pointing to the “dramatic increase in absentee votes” that were “subject to fraud.”
“Democrats, leading up to the election, used COVID to exploit vulnerabilities. They pushed every type of reform to relax controls and standards,” Johnson said. “They disallowed and denied Republican observers and watchers access.”
Johnson said the courts “have not fully vetted” irregularities surrounding the 2020 presidential election, and said that “somebody has to.”
“This isn’t going away. This is, as I’ve said, an unsustainable state of affairs for our democratic republic,” Johnson said.
“We can’t sweep this under the rug,” he continued. “I know a lot of people who want to do that – the left, the media – ‘just shut up, and go away.’ But tens of millions of Americans are not going to shut up, they deserve answers.”
Johnson added: “And somebody’s gotta try to get those answers for them and I am happy to do that for them because I have a lot of questions that I, myself, want answered.”
On Saturday, the group of Republican senators released a statement, which Fox News has learned was written personally by Cruz, calling on Congress to appoint a commission to conduct a 10-day emergency audit of the election returns in states where the results are disputed. They cite as precedent the 1877 race between Samuel Tilden and Rutherford Hayes in which there were allegations of fraud in multiple states.
“In 1877, Congress did not ignore those allegations, nor did the media simply dismiss those raising them as radicals trying to undermine democracy,” the lawmakers said in the statement. “Instead, Congress appointed an Electoral Commission – consisting of five senators, five House members, and five Supreme Court justices – to consider and resolve the disputed returns.
“We should follow that precedent. To wit, Congress should immediately appoint an Electoral Commission, with full investigatory and fact-finding authority, to conduct an emergency 10-day audit of the election returns in the disputed states. Once completed, individual states would evaluate the Commission’s findings and could convene a special legislative session to certify a change in their vote, if needed.”
If that doesn’t happen, the senators intend to vote against certification.
“Accordingly, we intend to vote on Jan. 6 to reject the electors from disputed states as not ‘regularly given’ and ‘lawfully certified’ (the statutory requisite), unless and until that emergency 10-day audit is completed,” they said in the statement.
Meanwhile, last month, Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., became the first Republican senator to commit to objecting to the election results, and specifically said he would do so in at least one state – Pennsylvania.
And Fox News first reported Monday that Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., who is engaged in a heated Senate runoff battle against Democrat Raphael Warnock on Tuesday, committed to objecting to certification of election results in at least one state. A source familiar told Fox News Loeffler would likely object to the certification of Georgia’s presidential election results.
Meanwhile, two sources told Fox News on Sunday that Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., separately may object to at least one state during the joint session, but it is unclear, at this point, which state, if any, that may be.
The issue of Electoral College certification, though, is not being whipped by Senate Republican leadership, meaning they are not driving the Republican conference in a certain direction. As previously reported, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has referred to this as a “vote of conscience.”
Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of senators on Sunday said efforts to object to the Electoral College results this week by Republicans only will “undermine” confidence in the 2020 election.
President Trump’s campaign has launched a number of legal challenges, while Trump himself has urged states with Republican governors and legislatures to overturn Joe Biden’s victories.
While the Trump campaign has challenged the results in dozens of lawsuits, judges in multiple states have shot them down. Attorney General William Barr told the Associated Press last month before stepping down that “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”