Ron Johnson’s final hearing as chairman of the Senate homeland security committee was a divisive and bitter one, devolving at one point Wednesday into a near shouting match between the Wisconsin Republican and the panel’s top Democrat, Gary Peters of Michigan.
“This is terrible what you’re doing to this committee,” Peters exclaimed to Johnson.
“It is what you have done to this committee,” Johnson answered heatedly.
The subject of that angry exchange — the two accused each other of spreading falsehoods — was the role of Russian disinformation, a source of bitter partisan feuding ever since the 2016 election.
It was the 2020 election that was the official subject of Wednesday’s hearing. And that provided plenty of acrimony as senators on both sides took turns airing their grievances about the presidential contest and its aftermath. …
At one point, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, asserted the “election in many ways was stolen,” an unfounded claim that has been repeatedly rejected by conservative and liberal judges and election officials around the country.
Trump applauded Johnson on Twitter during the hearing, and claimed baselessly that “Massive FRAUD took place with machines, people voting from out of state, illegals, dead people, no signatures—and so much more!”
Johnson himself made a far less sweeping argument — that there was some unknown incidence of fraud, but it hadn’t been shown to have occurred on a scale that would have changed the outcome.