MILWAUKEE - Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson told FOX6 News on Wednesday, Dec. 15 that he accepts the 2020 presidential election results -- six weeks after votes were cast.
Accepting the outcome in favor of President-elect Joe Biden, though, did not stop the Republican lawmaker from leading a U.S. Senate hearing on what he calls election "irregularities" -- including in Wisconsin.
"When you have legal challenges, courts take time," Sen. Johnson said when asked why he waited until now to accept the election outcome.
The Trump campaign has had numerous election-related lawsuits thrown out across the country by courts. That includes in Wisconsin, where the state's Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit that sought to toss 220,000 votes in Milwaukee and Dane counties.
"If the courts don’t address these, who’s going to? Aren't they the ultimate arbiters?" testified Jim Troupis, the Trump campaign's Wisconsin attorney. "There’s no dispute that the election would have turned out differently in Wisconsin, if according to our allegations and according to our proofs, the court accepted those."
The majority of justices ruled the president waited too long to challenge the practices used for months or years -- like clerks correcting missing witness addresses on absentee ballot envelopes, something the Wisconsin Elections Commission has backed since 2016.
Sen. Johnson said that while the Electoral College awarded 306 electoral voters to Biden, he hosted the hearing because some Americans do not trust the election results. He said the discussion is needed -- not dangerous.
"The Electoral College met, they awarded 306 votes to Joe Biden and he will be the next president," Sen. Johnson told FOX6. "I accept that reality. I don't like that reality."
(Photos by SAUL LOEB/AFP & Alex Wong via Getty Images)
Congress meets to count the Electoral College votes on Jan. 6. Congressman Mo Brooks of Alabama said he is planning to raise challenges. He will need a senator to also object; that would lead to a debate and votes on contested states -- possibly Wisconsin.
"I don't like futile actions, and that would be futile action," said Sen. Johnson when FOX6 asked if he would be that senator.
The U.S. Capitol stands on December 11, 2020 in Washington, DC.
After the 2020 election, Sen. Johnson had planned to decide what to do for 2022, when he is up for re-election to a third term. He previously committed to serving just two terms.
"First of all, the election is not over. We have to see what happens in Georgia," Sen. Johnson said. "I would like to see what happens in the Senate."
Georgia is in the midst of two runoff elections -- and control of the Senate up for grabs.
While his Senate term is not yet over, Sen. Johnson's homeland security committee chairmanship is expiring. In Wednesday's hearing -- his last as chairman -- he tackled the 2020 election --taking testimony from Troupis, Ken Starr and Christopher Krebs, the former director of U.S. Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency.
President Donald Trump fired Krebs after the former director challenged claims of voter fraud.
Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat, on Tuesday, criticized the hearing, saying that Sen. Johnson: "would be far better holding a hearing tomorrow on the Russian hack into the Homeland Security Department and many other federal departments and our cybersecurity than bringing in witnesses to try to just add fuel to something that has been really put to rest."