Hawley, Cruz and other GOP senators stand by efforts to reverse 2020 election results

Although several Republican senators are openly speaking of their continued support for reversing the 2020 election, they have yet to be asked to testify before the January 6 committee.

WASHINGTON (AP) – A week before the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol, Josh Hawley of Missouri became the first Republican senator to announce that he would object to the certification of the 2020 election.

Ted Cruz of Texas came forward defying his plan on a flight from Houston to Washington just days before a joint session of Congress to certify the election results.

In all, a dozen GOP senators initially planned to challenge Joe Biden’s victory. But unlike their House GOP counterparts, who have been called to testify before the January 6 committee, Republican senators have largely escaped the reach of the investigation.

While the committee shared highlights about the senators, including Holly’s raised fist salute to rioters that day—an image traced to history, and now sells the senator on coffee mugs—it made it surprising, if Practical, the decision not to call the senator for testimony. A dramatic video showed Holly running through the Senate chamber later that day as rioters gathered.

Amid the widespread public scrutiny of January 6, senators have been left to explain their actions on their own terms, and have often done so defensively.

“I don’t regret it,” Hawley said as he applauded at Turning Point USA’s Student Action Summit in Tampa, Florida, as he took to the stage Friday for a standing ovation.

As the January 6 committee summer hearing ends, Chairman Benny Thompson has indicated that the panel is looking elsewhere. As work continues, the investigation is moving closer to the top ranks of the White House and the inner circle of the defeated president.

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“We continue to receive new information every day,” D-Miss Thompson said last week, announcing the next round of hearings in September. “We are pursuing several additional witnesses to testify.”

The House committee is investigating not only the gruesome attack on the Capitol, but Trump’s extraordinary attempt to overturn the presidential election by getting “fake” slates of battlefield voters to vote for him, not Biden, when Congress Called on 6th January. Match the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Norm Eisen, a senior fellow at Brookings and former top executive, said senators could provide information about the run-up until January 6, including any conversations they might have with Trump and his lawyers, who plan to fake voters. were making. Advisor to Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee.

In a dramatic screenshot of a text exchange, the committee told the story of how a top aide to Wisconsin’s GOP Sen. attempted to hand then-Vice President Mike Pence a slate of false, pro-Trump voters as he was trying to authenticate the election. Presiding over his ceremonial role. Johnson has said he was not involved in that effort.

But after interviewing more than 1,000 witnesses and issuing rare subpoenas to fellow House lawmakers, Eisen said the panel would avoid forcing senators to testify in what would be seen as an unusual House challenge to the upper house. Trying to preserve political capital.

The January 6 committee’s decision to issue summons to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Andy Biggs of Arizona and Mo Brooks of Alabama was a show of force by a nine-member panel. , And it came after much deliberation among lawmakers, who for weeks contemplated whether taking the unprecedented step of summoning members of his own chamber would be worth further fueling partisan tensions over the 2021 attack.

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“They only have so much committee time,” Eisen said.

Cruz on Tuesday declined to say whether he would appear if the Jan. 6 panel asked for his testimony. Hawley’s office has likewise said it would not like to address a hypothetical situation.

But in recent conversations, Republicans have stood by their efforts to challenge Biden’s victory.

Cruz recently told The Associated Press, “This country would have been much better” if Congress had carried out its plan.

Cruz proposed creating a commission to audit voter fraud in disputed states, even though Trump’s own Justice Department said there was no voter fraud on the scale that could have tipped the 2020 election. Dozens of court cases claiming fraud were dismissed or unreported.

Cruz said he does not remember a conversation with Trump aide John Eastman, the conservative lawyer who was the architect of the alternative voter plan. Last month, federal officials confiscated Eastman’s phone and issued subpoenas to voters in the states allegedly involved in the scheme.

“I wrestled for a long time on the best approach regarding certification on January 6th,” Cruz said. He said he single-handedly drafted the statement he put out with 11 senators, in which he said he was flying back to Washington.

Hawley has dismissed questions about the committee’s work, and declined last month to comment about Eastman’s plans for alternative voters.

A police officer testified to the committee that Hawley’s fist was raised on January 6 that day “incited the crowd,” said Representative Ellen Luria, D-Va. During last week’s hearing, he played video that showed Hawley “running after protesters who helped attack the Capitol.”

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Johnson has underestimated his aide’s attempt to pass Pence a mock slate of voters. The handoff never happened, but the moment showed how close the plan came. Had it been successful, the electoral votes of Michigan and Wisconsin could have gone to Trump, and not to Biden, the rightful winner in those states.

After police cleared the Capitol of rioters that night, seven Republican senators led by Cruz and Hawley stuck to a plan to challenge the election results. Many of the other GOP senators who initially signed back out.

Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, at least one Republican who voted to challenge the election results after the riots, said Tuesday that he would speak to the committee if they asked for his testimony,

“I’ll go,” said Tuberville, who took a phone call from Trump as senators were flailing for safety. The committee said Tuberville was also among senators who received a voicemail that night from Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

Tuberville said it was not looking into the hearing. “There is nothing that I have seen that will change my view on anything that I have voted on,” he said.

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Associated Press writer Jill Colvin in Tampa, Florida contributed to this report.

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