Fox News’ Bret Baier confronted Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) on Monday over his plan to object to the certification of President Donald Trump’s Electoral College loss to President-elect Joe Biden at a joint congressional session Wednesday.
The Missouri lawmaker was joined by at least a dozen other Republican senators after he announced last week that he would challenge the Electoral College certification process ― a largely symbolic move that is unlikely to stop Biden from taking office on Jan. 20.
“Are you trying to overturn the election as it stands now and to keep President Trump in the White House as of Jan. 20?” Baier asked Hawley on Fox News.
Hawley said he just wanted to raise the “major, major concerns” about the “integrity, the fairness of this election” from his constituents in Missouri.
“This is the only forum that I have to do it,” he said. He also insisted that voters “want action, they want an investigation into these irregularities.”
The Justice Department and election officials around the country did investigate allegations of electoral fraud. Attorney General William Barr, a staunch Trump ally, said they did not find fraud on a scale that could have affected the outcome of the election. Dozens of court cases also yielded no evidence of widespread fraud.
Later in the interview, Baier pushed Hawley again to clarify if he expects to keep Trump in office.
“Well, Bret, that depends on what happens on Wednesday,” Hawley said.
“No, it doesn’t,” Baier interrupted. “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.”
Hawley cited a “statute that dates back to the 1800s, 19th century, that says that there is a right to object, a right to be heard, and there’s also a certification process.”
Baier interrupted again to clarify: “That’s from 1876, Senator, and it’s the Tildon-Hayes race, in which there were three states that did not certify their electors, so Congress was left to come up with this system, this commission, that eventually got to a negotiated grand bargain.
“But now, all of the states have certified their elections, as of Dec. 14. So it doesn’t by constitutional ways open a door to Congress to overturn that, does it?”
Hawley insisted that the move is an effort to demonstrate that he has an objection. Interjecting again, Baier asked if the senator had a responsibility to tell his constituents that Trump will not retain the presidency.
Trump has been urging Republicans to block Biden from taking office, saying the ones who don’t will go down in history as “weak and ineffective.”
A number of Republican senators, including Mitt Romney of Utah and Tom Cotton of Arkansas, a top Trump cheerleader, have said they do not support the effort to reject the Electoral College vote certification.