Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) was caught faking a phone call while trying to dodge reporter questions about his alleged role in thwarting the certification of Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential victory.
A viral video of Johnson’s fake-out shows him leaving the Capitol building as a reporter asked him a question.
Johnson, holding his phone to his ear, waves the reporter away, stating, “I’m on the phone right now.”
The reporter says, “No, you’re not. I can see your phone. I can see your screen.”
Then, as the reporter continues to ask Johnson questions, he puts his phone away and responds.
Sen. Ron Johnson so much didn’t want to talk to reporters about his office trying to pass fake elector lists to the vice president’s office that he tried to pretend he was on the phone. pic.twitter.com/V1VwBDs42t
— Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) June 22, 2022
The U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack recently revealed that Johnson’s top aide, Sean Riley, wanted to hand off a list of false, pro-Trump electors from Michigan and Wisconsin to Pence’s legislative director Chris Hodgson. Riley hoped Pence would include the electors in his count of electoral votes for determining the next president. Hodgson, via text, told Riley not to attempt the hand-off.
Alexa Henning, Johnson’s spokesperson, said, “The senator had no involvement in the creation of an alternate slate of electors and had no foreknowledge that it was going to be delivered to our office. This was a staff-to-staff exchange. […] The Vice President’s office said not to give it to him and we did not. There was no further action taken. End of story.”
Johnson told CNN’s Manu Raju “I wasn’t involved,” adding, “There’s no conspiracy here. This is a complete non-story, guys. Complete non-story.”
But the reporter who caught Johnson on a fake phone call asked Johnson what he knew about Riley’s plan, whether Riley still works for him, and why Riley tried it.
When Johnson finally answered, he repeated his “non-story” line and said, “I don’t know what you’re concerned about here.” He then said he was “basically” unaware of it. Basically. He didn’t say whether Riley still works for him.
Johnson then said, “Somebody delivered this (list of fake electors) to our office as asked to deliver that to the president.” He didn’t say who that “somebody” was. He also said that Riley “did the right thing” by trying to hand off the list to Pence’s staff.
Why he considers handing off a list of fake electors delivered by a mystery person to the Vice President as “the right thing” remains unclear.