In fact, Johnson’s hearing did appear to be mostly about airing grievances. For instance, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) made a case that Republicans raising conspiratorial questions about the election results is no different from Democrats’ “Russia hoax.” An important difference, however, is that while there’s lots of evidence the Trump campaign colluded with Russia, there’s no evidence of significant election irregularities.
The witness list illustrated how Johnson tried to stack the deck. Among them were two attorneys for the Trump campaign, a Republican state legislator from Pennsylvania, and Ken Starr, the former Bill Clinton investigator who is perhaps best known these days as a Trump-friendly talking head on Fox News. All of those witnesses either had obvious bias or little to no firsthand information about the security of the 2020 election. But the exception to that was Chris Krebs, the former head of the Homeland Security Department’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) who Trump fired by tweet last month after he refuted Trump’s lies and conspiracy theories by calling the election “the most secure in American history.”
The ranking member of the Homeland Security Committee, Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI), began the hearing by castigating Republicans for wasting time with a hearing aimed at delegitimizing President-elect Biden in particular and US elections in general. “Whether intended or not, this hearing gives a platform to conspiracy theories and lies and is a destructive exercise that has no place in the US Senate. Joe Biden won the election,” Peters said during his opening statement.