“When is this nonsense detrimental to our democracy going to end?” Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on the Senate floor. “To use a Senate committee to spread misinformation about our own elections, it’s beyond the pale.”
Schumer said Johnson, a top Trump ally, should call off the “ridiculous” hearing and said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should intervene.
In a statement announcing the hearing, Johnson said that even though courts continue to review the various legal challenges, “a large percentage of the American public does not view the 2020 election result as legitimate.”
“That is not a sustainable state of affairs for our country,” Johnson said. “The only way to resolve suspicions is with full transparency and public awareness. That will be the goal of the hearing.”
McConnell has remained largely silent on Trump’s efforts to overturn the election results, even as Trump has sought to pressure Republican state legislators and members of Congress to defy the will of the voters based on unsubstantiated claims of widespread fraud. Trump’s campaign attorneys and his allies nationwide have lost dozens of court challenges, with judges across the spectrum deriding their claims as unfounded and harmful to democracy.
Earlier this week, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton appealed to the Supreme Court to invalidate the election results in four battleground states that Biden won. The long-shot lawsuit was joined by 16 other Republican attorneys general. Trump is meeting with the group at the White House later Thursday.
Johnson, for his part, has not ruled out the possibility of joining some House Republicans in challenging the Electoral College results when Congress meets next month to certify the tally. Utah Sen. Mitt Romney has condemned the effort, calling it ”madness.”
Johnson is term-limited as chair of the Homeland Security Committee — a perch he has used to investigate Biden’s son Hunter in addition to the 2016-era Russia investigation — so he will relinquish the post in January.
Johnson is up for reelection in 2022.