U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson doubled down on his calls to investigate allegations of voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election in a heated interview Sunday, Jan. 3, that, at times, devolved into shouting.
The interview, on NBC's "Meet the Press," came a day after Johnson announced he would join an effort with 10 Republican senators to object to the certification of the Electoral College count when Congress meets to do so Wednesday.
The statement, which U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., joined among others, called for the creation of a commission with "full investigatory and fact-finding authority" to conduct an emergency audit of the 2020 election returns, citing "unprecedented allegations of voter fraud."
On Sunday, Johnson argued that an investigation into the election would not be harmful to the democratic process, but instead would instill trust in the process for supporters of President Donald Trump, many of whom don't trust the results.
"The fact of the matter is that we have a(n) unsustainable state of affairs in this country where we have tens of millions of people that do not view this election result as legitimate," Johnson said.
Former U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr said in December that the U.S. Department of Justice found no evidence of widespread voter fraud that had the power to change the outcome of the 2020 election. And according to an NBC News analysis, as of mid-December, nearly all legal challenges filed by Trump's lawyers or his supporters have either been blocked by the courts, settled or withdrawn. Six lawsuits challenging the results in Wisconsin were either dismissed or denied by the courts, according to the analysis.
In a statement Sunday, former U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, a fellow Wisconsin Republican, issued a statement criticizing the move and calling President-elect Joe Biden's victory "entirely legitimate."
"Efforts to reject the votes of the Electoral College and sow doubt about Joe Biden's victory strike at the very foundation of our republic," Ryan said in a statement. "It is difficult to conceive of a more anti-democratic and anti-conservative act than a federal intervention to overturn the results of state-certified elections and disenfranchise millions of Americans. The fact that this effort will fail does not mean it will not do significant damage to American democracy."
Johnson's Sunday interview with "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd turned into a shouting match multiple times, with both at one point telling the other to "look in the mirror" and acknowledge their roles in perpetuating conspiracy theories about voter fraud in the 2020 election and the declining trust in the mainstream media, respectively.
Voting to certify the Electoral College results will happen Wednesday before a joint session of Congress.
In the statement Saturday, Johnson and others acknowledged that many members of Congress, including members of the Republican party, will likely still vote to certify Biden's Electoral College win Wednesday, saying the group is "not naïve."
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