Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Ron Johnson participated in a Jan. 4, 2021, session at a Trump hotel on the potential delay of the election certification
Bill Glauber – February 3, 2022
Ron Johnson was one of three Republican U.S. senators to attend a Jan. 4, 2021, meeting convened by MyPillow chief executive Mike Lindell as loyalists to then-President Donald Trump sought to gather information and rally support to delay certification of President Joe Biden’s election victory.
The Washington Post reported that Johnson attended the meeting virtually, while Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-North Dakota, and Sen.Cynthia M. Lummis, R-Wyoming, were in a crowded conference room with others at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.
The Post reported: “What the senators heard from a handful of presenters were some of the most fantastical claims among those alleging that the election had been stolen — including, according to Cramer, that the 2020 vote had been influenced by foreign powers and that proper investigation required gaining access to voting machines around the country.”
The meeting came two days before the Jan. 6 insurrection, when pro-Trump rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol. Congress reconvened and certified the election results. Johnson was among those who voted in favor of certification, after first indicating that he planned to join with 10 other Republican senators in objecting to the certification.
On Dec. 16, 2020, Johnson, then head of the U.S. Senate’s homeland security committee, held a hearing on the election.
“The senator’s hearing was part of what should be ongoing congressional oversight meant to transparently address that problem,” a Johnson spokesperson said. “Following the hearing, he and his staff continued to gather information and consider allegations, that is why he joined the meeting.
In an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Lindell said: “I called the meeting, a few people came in and did a presentation on what they had for election fraud. And that was it.”
Lindell, who has pushed false conspiracies about the 2020 election, said he never spoke individually with Johnson but praised him.
“Ron Johnson cares about Wisconsin, cares about the United States and cares about our future,” Lindell said.
Asked whether he considered Johnson to be an ally, Lindell said:
“I believe he is an ally of the American people. Whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican, he is for the people and wants to have fair elections going forward.”
The Post also reported the existence of a Dec. 18, 2020, memo circulated by Trump allies that advocated using data from the National Security Agency and Defense Department in an effort to show foreign interference in the election.
Johnson’s office was among those to receive the memo, the Post reported.
“Staff received the memo on January 13 and took no further action,” a Johnson spokesperson said. “The request from the Washington Post was the senator’s first knowledge of this memo, he has not seen it.”
Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson, a Democratic candidate running for U.S. Senate, issued a renewed call for Johnson to be subpoenaed by the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
In a statement, Nelson said “reports about using NSA resources provide all the more reason to place him under oath and ask him what he knew and when he knew it.”