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Ken Starr to Senate: Pennsylvania 'flagrantly violated' laws ahead of presidential election

Sen. Ron Johnson said Tuesday that he has not seen 'anything that would convince me that the results -- the overall national result -- would be overturned'

Published: December 16, 2020 9:15am

Updated: December 16, 2020 11:57pm

At a Senate oversight committee hearing on Wednesday, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) said that experts must be given the opportunity to examine and investigate the Dominion Voting Systems machines used during the 2020 presidential election. 

"The most difficult allegations to assess involve vulnerabilities in voting machines and the software used," said Johnson during his opening statement. "In order to effectively determine the extent to which voting machines were subject to nefarious intrusion or other vulnerabilities, computer science experts must be given the opportunity to examine these allegations," he continued.

Johnson cited letters from his Democratic colleagues that questioned the safety and security of Dominion Voting System machines. 

Ranking committee member Senator Gary Peters (D-Mich.) told Johnson that he believes Wednesday's hearing provides a fundamentally dangerous opportunity provide "a platform to conspiracy theories and lies."

"I don’t see anything dangerous about evaluating information, about doing legitimate congressional oversight. Close-mindedness is a real problem for a lot of issues we face today," responded Johnson.

Jesse Binnall, a Trump backed attorney testifying during the oversight committee, told the panel of senators that his team was thwarted at every turn in Nevada when attempting to seek transparency during their legal fights post-election. 

"We were denied (transparency) in Nevada at every single turn," testified Binnall. "The legal system didn't allow for transparency." 

"They refused to accept subpoenas," said Binnall of the election officials in Nevada, who he says refused to accept the legal documents that would compel them to cooperate with the Trump legal team's investigation. 

To protect the integrity of the American election system, "we have to make sure that there's transparency," said Binnall, which he does not believe occurred in this case.

Starr Report

Former Clinton impeachment investigator Ken Starr was invited by Republicans to testify today at the hearing, specifically about the state of Pennsylvania's game time election law changes. 

Responding to a question from Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) about the legality of Pennsylvania secretaries of sate to change election laws without the approval of state legislatures, Starr said, "The principle here is … [the] Constitution is very clear that it is the prerogative of state legislatures to determine what these rules and laws are, and that was, I must say, flagrantly violated in Pennsylvania, and perhaps elsewhere as well."

Krebs asks to move on

Christopher Krebs, the former cybersecurity official who was fired for claiming that no widespread voter fraud occurred during the 2020 presidential election, began his testimony by thanking the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). He then described improvements made by the agency since the 2016 election, in which Russia interfered. "This was a secure election, of that I have no doubt," said Krebs under oath.

"Current wild and baseless domestic claims of hackers and malicious algorithms flipping the vote in states across the country due to ties to deceased foreign dictators serve only to confuse, scare, and ultimately undermine confidence in the election," he continued. "All authorities and elected officials in positions of power or influence have a duty to reinforce to the American people that these claims are false."

"I think we're past the point where we need to be having conversations about the outcome of this election," he concluded.

Developing ...

On Wednesday, Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) is holding a hearing to probe the 2020 presidential election. Johnson, who is the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, will hear from several Trump campaign attorneys, who have been running a series of lawsuits across the country. Ken Starr, who was part of the president's impeachment defense team, will also attend.

The Democratic members of the committee have invited Christopher Krebs, the former cybersecurity official who was fired in the wake of the election for asserting that no widespread voter fraud occurred, to testify. 

Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) is declining to participate in the hearing, siting his fear that such an event will undermine the results of a free and fair U.S. election. "We have a process in this country, under the Constitution and our judicial system, which should be followed. The idea of trying to change that process or interrupt it is, in my opinion, a grave mistake," Romney told CNN last week.

Despite continued litigations efforts from Trump's legal team, the Electoral College voted on Monday to affirm Joe Biden as the president-elect of the United States. On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell acknowledged on the chamber floor the win for the Biden/Harris ticket -- though some Republicans have objected to McConnell's actions. 

When asked Monday whether Biden is the president-elect, Johnson said it is "certainly walking walking down that path, isn't it?" Adding that he maintains his belief in the necessity of Wednesday's hearing because there is "a large percentage of the American population that just don't view this as a legitimate result for a host of reasons." 

Though, on Tuesday, Johnson said, "I haven't seen anything that would convince me that the results -- the overall national result -- would be overturned."

On January 6, Congress will meet fo formally count the Electoral College vote. Some Republican members of Congress have expressed interest in acting to challenge the results of the count. In order to move from a challenge to a debate, at least one Senator must join the objection. Last week, Senator Johnson said that today's hearing will help him decide if he should join the objection. Rand Paul, another member of Johnson's committee, has also hinted that he could join with the objecting congress members. 

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