WASHINGTON — After initially claiming to be “essentially unaware” of an effort by his staff to obtain false presidential voter documents from Vice President Mike Pence, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson said Thursday he coordinated with a Wisconsin attorney to pass on this information and alleged a Pennsylvania congressman brought fake voter lists to his office — a claim that was immediately disputed.
Evidence presented this week by the U.S. House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol showed that Johnson’s chief of staff attempted to deliver fake presidential voter lists from both states to former President Donald Trump at Pence on the morning of the US Capitol. the insurrection but was repelled by Pence’s help.
Johnson initially told reporters this week that he did not know where the documents came from and that his staff were seeking to pass them to Pence.
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But he said in a Thursday interview on WIBA-AM that he had since discovered the documents were from U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania Mike Kelly, and acknowledged he had coordinated with Dane County attorney Jim Troupis. and his chief of staff texted that morning to get Pence a document that Troupis describes as relating to “Wisconsin voters.”
Kelly’s office immediately pushed back against Johnson’s claim, stating, “Senator Johnson’s statements about Rep. Kelly are patently false.”
“Mr. Kelly has not spoken to Senator Johnson for the better part of a decade, and he has no knowledge of Mr. Johnson’s claims regarding the 2020 election.”
On Thursday, Johnson said Troupis contacted him by text message the morning of Jan. 6, 2021, to get a document on “Wisconsin voters” from Pence.
Johnson said he then introduced the lawyer to his chief of staff via text message to process the request. He said he did not know what the document was or intended to accomplish.
In a story by conservative journalist John Solomon and shared by Johnson on Thursday, Solomon reported that Kelly also called Troupis to get voter paperwork to Pence that morning through Johnson.
Troupis, a Dane County attorney who represented Trump in the liberal Dane and Milwaukee county recounts and sought to cast tens of thousands of ballots to overturn Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory, doesn’t did not immediately respond to an email from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel seeking comment.
In Solomon’s account of events, a Trump campaign official asked Kelly to get an “alternative list” of voters for Pence. Kelly then called Troupis, who then texted Johnson, according to the story.
In response to Kelly’s rebuke over Johnson’s claims, Johnson’s spokeswoman Alexa Henning told the Journal Sentinel Johnson “never said he spoke with Rep. Kelly and John Solomon’s reporting do not say that he had spoken to her”.
“It’s an independent report by John Solomon that Judge Troupis spoke to Rep. Kelly,” Henning said.
Ten Republicans who gathered at the Wisconsin State Capitol on December 14, 2020, signed documents falsely claiming to be presidential voters for Trump and sent those documents to the US archives and Congress.
Republicans maintained they were submitting the documents in case Trump’s loss is overturned. Former Wisconsin Republican Party Chairman Andrew Hitt told the Jan. 6 committee that he would not have supported the use of red tape to illegitimately nullify the election.
Henning said earlier this week that Johnson had “no involvement in creating an alternate voters list and had no idea it would be delivered to our office.”
“It was a staff to staff exchange,” Henning wrote in a tweet. “His new chief of staff contacted the vice president’s office. The vice president’s office said not to give it to him and we didn’t. No further action was taken. End of l ‘story.”
Contact Molly Beck and Lawrence Andrea at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Johnson Now Says He Coordinated Effort to Turn Over Fake Voter Lists