Republicans have convinced their supporters that massive voter fraud is real by lying about it for weeks.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) said Wednesday at a sham hearing about non-existent "irregularities" in the 2020 election that allegations of voter fraud must be investigated because Republicans believe they exist.
Sen. Ron Johnson, the Wisconsin Republican who as chair of the Homeland Security Committee has held multiple sham investigations over Donald Trump's many debunked conspiracy theories, held the hearing to investigate what he called "legitimate questions" about election fraud, even though there has been no evidence of any fraud.
Of course, Republicans believe voter fraud exists because Trump and many other Republicans, including members of the House and Senate, have lied and told them so.
Trump and his allies' have made numerous claims of fraud based on conspiracy theories. Those allegations of fraud have been presented in court in lawsuits seeking to invalidate ballots in numerous states across the country. And those lawsuits have been dismissed by dozens of judges because they lacked even a modicum of evidence.
That hasn't stopped Republican lawmakers from continuing to insist to their supporters that there are valid questions about whether a massive scheme somehow changed the results of tens of millions of votes to steal the election from Trump and to even suggest that lawmakers should take extraordinary steps to overturn the election.
In fact, earlier on Wednesday, Hawley did not rule out challenging the Electoral College outcome on Jan. 6 when Congress meets to formally accept Joe Biden as the next president. And at the Senate hearing, he said Republicans believing the lies peddled to them by Trump and Republican lawmakers is reason enough to keep investigating the outcome of the election.
Hawley, at Wednesday's hearing:
I'm from the state of Missouri. Yesterday, I was talking with some of the constituents back home, a group of about 30 people. Every single one of them, every one of them, told me that they felt they had been disenfranchised, that their votes didn't matter, that the election had been rigged. These are normal, regular people. These are normal folks living normal lives who firmly believe that they have been disenfranchised. And to listen to mainstream press and quite a few voices in this building tell them after four years of nonstop Russia hoax, it was a hoax ... after four years of that, being told that the last election was fake and that Donald Trump wasn't really elected and that Russia intervened, after four years of that now these same people are told, "You need to sit down and shut up. If you have any concerns about election integrity you're a nutcase, you should shut up." Well, I tell ya what, 74 million Americans are not going to shut up, and telling them that their views don't matter, and that their concerns do not matter, and they should just be quiet, is not a recipe for success in this country. It's not a recipe for the unity I hear the other side is so interested in.
Hawley himself has been propping up these conspiracy theories. On Nov. 7, the day Biden was declared the winner, Hawley tweeted, "The media do not get to determine who the president is. The people do. When all lawful votes have been counted, recounts finished, and allegations of fraud addressed, we will know who the winner is."
The Missouri senator has still refused to say that Biden is president-elect, even though the Electoral College already voted to make Biden the winner.
Of course, even Attorney General William Barr, who has backed up Trump's past conspiracy theories, said there was not widespread voter fraud in the election that would alter the results.
Yet Republicans kept bringing up those same false claims at the Senate hearing Wednesday.
"The election was in many ways stolen," Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul said, without providing any evidence.
Three of the witnesses invited to speak to the committee also made baseless allegations of fraud, including a lawyer who argued a case that the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down, declaring it "un-American."
Ken Starr, another witness at the hearing, falsely claimed dead people voted — a lie Trump and his supporters keep repeating even though that's been proven to be false.
The only witness who said the election was fair and secure was Christopher Krebs, the former director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency who was fired by Trump after issuing a statement with many other elections officials from around the country, stating that the 2020 election "was the most secure in American history," and that there was "no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised."
At Wednesday's hearing, Krebs again confirmed that the election was indeed free from interference.
"There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised," he said.
He also called on Republicans to stop perpetuating these baseless lies.
"This is not the America I recognize. It's got to stop. We need everyone across the leadership ranks to stand up," Krebs said. "I would appreciate more support from my own party, the Republican Party, to call this stuff out and move on … We have to move on."
Democrats on the committee chastised their GOP colleagues for calling the hearing.
"Amplifying these obviously false narratives about fraud or irregularities corrodes public trust; it threatens national security; and it weakens our democracy and our standing around the world," Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) said in his opening remarks.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.