Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) said Monday that the matter of who becomes America’s next president is not a foregone conclusion but depends on the outcome of the Jan. 6 joint session of Congress, when a number of Republican lawmakers have vowed to raise objections to the certification of some electoral votes cast for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
Hawley made the remarks while responding to questions by Fox News’ Bret Baier, who asked the Missouri senator whether the aim of the GOP effort to raise objections is to overturn the results of the election and keep President Donald Trump in the White House.
In response, Hawley said his constituents have raised “major, major concerns about the integrity, the fairness of this election.”
“They expect me to stand up and to raise those concerns,” he added. “And this is the only forum I have to do it.”
Hawley is part of around a dozen Republican senators who have called on Congress to appoint an electoral commission to conduct an emergency 10-day audit of the election results.
In calling for the 10-day audit, the Republican senators, led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), said in a statement that the 2020 election “featured unprecedented allegations of voter fraud, violations, and lax enforcement of election law, and other voting irregularities.”
The allegations of fraud and irregularities in the 2020 election “exceed any in our lifetimes,” they said, adding that this “deep distrust” of U.S. democratic processes “will not magically disappear” and “should concern us all,” whether or not elected officials or journalists believe the allegations.
“It poses an ongoing threat to the legitimacy of any subsequent administrations,” the senators said in their statement, adding that they intend to object to the votes unless and until the emergency 10-day audit is completed.
Hawley told Fox News that his constituents want a probe into voting irregularities and have called for measures on election integrity.
“They want new election laws to make sure that our elections are secure going forward,” he said. “This is my chance to stand up and speak for them. And somebody has got to take their concerns seriously and speak up. And that’s what I’m going to do.”
Baier then asked Hawley if he believes that, “as of January 20th, that President Trump will be president.”
“That depends on what happens on Wednesday,” Hawley replied. “I mean, this is why we have the debate, this is why we have the votes.”
Baier countered by saying, “No, it doesn’t.”
“The states, by the Constitution, say they certify the election, they did certify it. By the Constitution, Congress doesn’t have the right to overturn the certification. At least as most experts read it,” he said.
Hawley responded by saying that the 12th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution directs Congress to count the electoral votes and that, under the process, lawmakers have the opportunity to raise objections and debate the votes.
“This is my only opportunity during this process to raise an objection and to be heard,” Hawley said, adding that, “I do have a responsibility, in this joint session of Congress to either say ‘I’ve got no problem with it’ or ‘I do have a problem with it.'”
During the joint session, certificates of Electoral College votes from states are read. After reading a certificate, the vice president calls for objections, if any. Each objection must be in writing, must state clearly the grounds for the objection, and must be signed by at least one senator and one representative.
If the requirements are met, the chambers withdraw from the joint session and hold a two-hour debate, followed by votes. A majority vote in each chamber would uphold an objection.
According to an Epoch Times tally, 25 Republican senators oppose the effort to object to votes, including most members of the Senate GOP leadership. No Democrats have signaled their intention to support objections. Unless most Senate Republicans who have voiced opposition to challenging the votes change their minds, the objections will not succeed.
Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.