Hawley: Election Process Not Over Until Jan. 6

Hawley: Election Process Not Over Until Jan. 6
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) speaks to reporters in Washington on Oct. 22, 2020. (Samuel Corum/Getty Images)
Zachary Stieber

The election process is not over yet Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) said Wednesday morning after being asked whether he would offer congratulations to Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

“I’m not there yet. I think this process will end on January the sixth, which is when Congress has to certify the results of the Electoral College,” Hawley said on “CBS This Morning.”

“Obviously, the Electoral College is very significant. Their vote very significant earlier, but the certification happens on January the sixth, and until then, I think President [Donald] Trump certainly has every right to pursue the legal remedies he wants to pursue and to be heard, but to January 6, I think is the key date,” he added.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for the first time on Tuesday congratulated Biden, saying that because electors in 50 states cast their votes, Biden had won the election.

The congratulations sparked pushback from conservative activists, who vowed to primary any Republican senators who don’t back Trump in contesting election results.

Hawley was referring to a joint session of Congress that is scheduled to meet on Jan. 6, 2021, and count the votes cast by the electors.

Members of Congress are able to file objections to votes from any state and the process could lead to some votes being nullified, triggering a secondary voting system that could see Trump win office.

Hawley was asked if he was considering objecting to the vote. No senators have committed to doing so, but at least four members or members-elect of the lower chamber have.

“I’m studying what’s been done in the past. After the 2004 election and 2016, Democrats raised concerns both in the House and the Senate. This is really the only forum that the Constitution and the laws give to senators and congresspeople the opportunity to raise concerns about the election. So I’m reading what’s been done in the past. We’ve got a hearing today in the United States Senate on the election. So we'll see,” Hawley said.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, left, and President Donald Trump in file photographs. (Getty Images/AP Photo)
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, left, and President Donald Trump in file photographs. (Getty Images/AP Photo)

Hawley joins Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) in expressing openness to filing an objection during the joint session.

Rules mandate an objection has the support of one representative and one senator. Since there are fewer senators and none have committed to objecting, the thoughts of senators on the issue has drawn heightened attention in recent weeks.

Johnson, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, is holding the first federal hearing on the election on Wednesday.

“I am mindful that many of the issues that have been raised have been, and will continue to be, appropriately resolved in the courts. But the fact remains that a large percentage of the American public does not view the 2020 election result as legitimate because of apparent irregularities that have not been fully examined. That is not a sustainable state of affairs for our country,” he said in a statement.

“The only way to resolve suspicions is with full transparency and public awareness. That will be the goal of the hearing.”