Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writers Molly Beck and Lawrence Andrea reported that Ron Johnson has altered his story again about the role he played in the attempted coup. His initial instinct— blame it on a nameless intern— didn’t fly, and Johnson has been tap-dancing around the question. “After initially claiming to be ‘basically unaware’ of an effort by his staff to get fake presidential elector documents to Vice President Mike Pence, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson said Thursday he coordinated with a Wisconsin attorney to pass along such information and alleged a Pennsylvania congressman brought slates of fake electors to his office— a claim that was immediately disputed.”
Johnson’s chief of staff tried delivering the lists of fake electors from Wisconsin and Pennsylvania— a serious crime— to a Pence staffer, who told him to take a hike. At first Johnson lied to the media that he didn’t know where the lists came from but that his staff was sending them to Pence anyway, obviously absurd. “But,” reported Beck and Andrea, “he said in a Thursday interview on WIBA-AM that he had since discovered the documents came from Pennsylvania U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, and acknowledged he coordinated with Dane County attorney Jim Troupis and his chief of staff by text message that morning to get to Pence a document Troupis described as regarding ‘Wisconsin electors.’ Kelly's office immediately pushed back on Johnson's claim, saying: ‘Senator Johnson's statements about Representative Kelly are patently false. Mr. Kelly has not spoken to Sen. Johnson for the better part of a decade, and he has no knowledge of the claims Mr. Johnson is making related to the 2020 election.’ On Thursday, Johnson said Troupis contacted him by text message on the morning of Jan. 6, 2021, to get a document on ‘Wisconsin electors’ to Pence.”
The wrote that “In the recounting of events by [right-wing reporter John] Solomon, a Trump campaign official asked Kelly to get an ‘alternate slate’ of electors to Pence. Kelly then called Troupis [a crackpot attorney who represented Trump in his failed Wisconsin recounts], who then texted Johnson, according to the story… Ten Republicans who convened at the Wisconsin State Capitol on Dec. 14, 2020, signed paperwork falsely claiming to be presidential electors for Trump and mailed those documents to the U.S. Archive and Congress.”
The story is getting some national pickup as well. This morning, for example, Chris Cillizza noted that Johnson can't seem to get his story straight. But it’s back home where this is really chafing. The most recent polling of the Senate race by Marquette Law shows that, other than hereditary billionaire Alex Larry, any of the Democratic contenders for the Senate seat would beat Johnson. Yesterday CBS News reported on the Wisconsin Democratic Party convention, noting that the “Senate candidates blasted Johnson for his attempt to deliver fake Republican Electoral College ballots to to then-Vice President Mike Pence after the 2020 election, his skepticism over COVID-19 vaccines, his voting for a tax law that benefited him, and his support for overturning Roe v. Wade.” The primary is August 9. Blue America has endorsed Tom Nelson and you can contribute to his campaign here.