MILWAUKEE — Sen. Ron Johnson on Tuesday acknowledged he exchanged textual content messages with one among Donald Trump’s attorneys earlier than and after Johnson’s employees tried to ship a bundle to then-Vice President Mike Pence on Jan. 6.
He added that the Home committee investigating the Jan. 6 assault “smeared” him as a result of it did not publicize all of the textual content messages between his and Pence’s aides.
Johnson, in response to questions from NBC Information, stated “your entire episode lasted about an hour,” in reference to his ties to a faux electors scheme he stated he knew nothing about. He additionally stated he didn’t know the contents of the bundle he stated the lawyer needed to be delivered.
“You possibly can’t even name it participation, I wrote a pair texts,” Johnson stated.
Johnson has beforehand distanced himself from the scheme telling a local TV station in August: “My involvement in that try and ship spanned the course of a pair seconds.”
Johnson made the feedback following a chat earlier than the Rotary Membership of Milwaukee the place Johnson was requested a number of questions in regards to the 2020 election and the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol. Johnson is locked in a decent reelection combat with the state’s Democratic Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes.
Johnson defended earlier remarks he made about that assault being principally peaceable, saying that he stated the identical of Black Lives Issues protests in 2020. Johnson stated in every case, he condemned violence in the event that they grew out of these protests.
“To name what occurred on Jan. 6 an ‘armed rebel,’ I simply assume it’s inaccurate,” he stated. “I’m sorry, that’s not what an armed rebel would appear to be.”
Johnson argued few weapons had been confiscated however protesters “did educate us how you should utilize a flag pole”
On the electors scheme, Johnson stated he communicated with Jim Troupis, a Wisconsin-based lawyer who led authorized efforts for Donald Trump in a recount of the state’s 2020 outcomes.
“What would you do for those who acquired a textual content from the lawyer for the president of the US?” Johnson stated. “You reply to it.”
“I acquired a textual content from the president’s lawyer asking if we may ship one thing to the vice chairman and if I may have a employees member deal with it,” Johnson stated. When requested if the senator knew what it was he was requested to ship, he stated, “no, I had no concept.”
“I turned it over to him,” Johnson stated of his then-new chief of employees. “Subsequent factor I do know he’s letting me know the vice chairman’s not accepting something so I simply texted again ‘no, we’re not delivering it,’ finish of story. Nothing occurred. I had no concept there have been even an alternate slate of electors.”
Johnson stated the Jan. 6 committee did not publicize all the texts between Pence and his aides which he stated indicated that Pence was anticipating the bundle via the mail.
In response to texts Johnson has beforehand made public, the Pence aide additionally stated the vice chairman should not obtain any mail that hadn’t been screened. He additionally referenced feedback to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel by panel chair Bennie Thompson, who stated Johnson’s involvement wasn’t a “precedence.”
The Jan. 6 committee had no remark Tuesday on Johnson’s remarks.
The faux elector scheme was an try by Republicans in seven battleground states that Biden received in 2020 — Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — to supply phony slates of 84 Republicans with the concept of asking Pence to just accept these electors as reliable fairly than acknowledge that Biden had rightfully received these states.
NBC Information lately reported that the electors, a lot of whom are below investigation, are taking part in an integral function within the upcoming midterm elections, in lots of instances making up the GOP hierarchy in important battleground states.
Johnson additionally defended earlier remarks he made about that assault being principally peaceable, saying that he stated the identical of Black Lives Issues protests in 2020.
“I instantly and forcefully and repeatedly condemned the violence on January 6, however I additionally condemned violence via the summer season of 2020,” he stated.
Johnson stated in every case, he condemned violence in the event that they grew out of these protests.
“To name what occurred on Jan. 6 an ‘armed rebel,’ I simply assume it’s inaccurate,” he added. “I’m sorry, that’s not what an armed rebel would appear to be.”