If Consultant Jim Jordan of Ohio was essentially the most distinguished public face of the congressional effort to struggle the outcomes of the 2020 election, his mentee, Consultant Mike Johnson of Louisiana, was a silent however pivotal associate.
Now, Mr. Johnson, 51, is on the cusp of changing into speaker, and new consideration is targeted on his behind-the-scenes function in making an attempt to overturn the election outcomes on behalf of former President Donald J. Trump.
A social conservative, Mr. Johnson performed a number one function in recruiting Home Republicans to signal a authorized transient supporting a lawsuit searching for to overturn the 2020 election outcomes.
In December 2020, Mr. Johnson collected signatures for a authorized transient in help of a Texas lawsuit making an attempt throw out the leads to 4 battleground states received by Mr. Biden.
The Supreme Courtroom finally rejected the go well with, however not earlier than Mr. Johnson satisfied greater than 60 p.c of Home Republicans to signal onto the hassle. He did so by telling them the initiative had been personally blessed by Mr. Trump, and the previous president was “anxiously awaiting” to see who in Congress would step as much as the plate to defend him.
A constitutional lawyer, Mr. Johnson additionally was a key architect of Republicans’ objections to certifying the victory of then President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Jan. 6, 2021. Many Republicans in Congress relied on his arguments.
On the eve of the Jan. 6 votes, he offered colleagues with arguments they might use to oppose the desire of the voters with out embracing conspiracy theories and the lies of widespread fraud pushed by Mr. Trump. Mr. Johnson as a substitute faulted the best way some states had modified voting procedures throughout the pandemic, saying it was unconstitutional.
After a mob of Mr. Trump’s supporters, believing the election was rigged, stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, injuring about 150 law enforcement officials, Mr. Johnson condemned the violence. However he defended the actions of congressional Republicans in objecting to Mr. Biden’s victory.
He wrote a two-page memo of speaking factors meant to buck up Republicans, and lamented that the violence had virtually eclipsed his cautious arguments. “Many of the nation has additionally by no means heard the principled purpose,” he wrote.
Over a yr later, on “Reality Be Instructed,” the Christian podcast he hosts along with his spouse, Kelly, Mr. Johnson continued to argue he and his colleagues had been proper to object to the election outcomes:
“The slates of electors have been produced by a clearly unconstitutional course of, interval,” he mentioned.
Mr. Johnson got here to Congress in 2017 with help from the ultraconservative Home Freedom Caucus, although he has by no means joined the group.
In an interview this yr, he referred to Mr. Jordan, a co-founder of the Freedom Caucus, as a “very shut good friend” who “has been a mentor to me since I received right here.”
Mr. Johnson mentioned Mr. Jordan referred to as him when he was operating for workplace, as a result of “he knew I used to be a conservative,” contributed cash to his marketing campaign and invited him to Washington for a gathering with him and different Freedom Caucus members.
“He began offering recommendation to me,” Mr. Johnson mentioned. “So now we’ve develop into very shut.”
In 2020, the 2 males and their wives traveled to Israel collectively and met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Mr. Johnson has additionally made an in depth ally of Mr. Trump, and he served on Mr. Trump’s impeachment defense team.
On Nov. 8, 2020, Mr. Johnson was onstage at a northwest Louisiana church talking about Christianity in America when Mr. Trump referred to as. Mr. Johnson had been in contact with the president’s group on his myriad authorized challenges searching for to overturn the outcomes, “to revive the integrity of our election course of,” in accordance with a Fb publish by Mr. Johnson recounting the alternate.
“We’ve to maintain preventing for that, Mike,” he mentioned Mr. Trump instructed him.
“Certainly we do, sir!” Mr. Johnson mentioned he replied.
Karoun Demirjian contributed reporting.