(PresidentialInsider.com)- Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) attempted to evade the press by acting as though he was using his phone as he walked away from the United States Capitol. However, a reporter caught him, who noted that the screen on his phone was not in the call mode.
Johnson is not the first or the last person to employ this technique.
The committee that met on January 6 presented a text message conversation that occurred on that date in 2021 between one of Johnson’s staff members and an adviser to Mike Pence. On Tuesday, Johnson came under investigation as a result of this exchange. The email was sent around when the disturbance in the Capitol temporarily halted the process of certifying Joe Biden as the victor of the presidential election in 2020.
In it, Johnson chief-of-staff Sean Riley texted Pence aide Chris Hodgson to inform him that the senator had an “alternative slate of electors” pledged for Donald Trump for Pence to evaluate before the certification, over which he would be presiding.
RILEY: Johnson needs to hand something to VPOTUS please advise
HODGSON: What is it?
RILEY: Alternate slate of electors for MI and WI because archivist didn’t receive them
HODGSON: Do not give that to him
It would appear that Hodgson’s instruction was followed, but it should be no surprise that reporters questioned Johnson about it. On Tuesday, as Johnson was leaving the Capitol, he held his phone up to his ear and told reporters Frank Thorp of NBC News and Manu Raju of CNN that he was busy when they tried to ask him about the exchange. Johnson was walking away from the Capitol.
Thorp asked Johnson how much he knew about what his chief-of-staff was doing with the alternate slates of the electors?
Johnson acknowledged the reporters but said, “I’m on the phone right now.”
Thorp called out the senator, saying, “No, you’re not. I can see your phone. I can see your screen.”
Raju asked the Senator if he could explain what his chief-of-staff was doing?
Thorp asked if his chief-of-staff still worked with the senator.
After the queries, Johnson “got off the phone” and responded.
He said the entire matter was a non-story and said he had no idea what they were so worried about.
Johnson asserted that he was unaware of the correspondence and referred to it as an interaction between staff and staff.
The senator said he was pretty much in the dark about all of
Johnson said that the alternative list of electors had been delivered to his office, but he claimed he had no idea who had delivered it.
According to what he said, “I had no involvement with an alternate slate of electors.”