McConnell called Hawley out on conference call Hawley wasn’t on

Hawley did not respond to multiple questions from McConnell, including when asked to lay out his plan to object to the Electoral College vote, and was apparently not on the call. Politico was the first to report the news of the call that an official told CNN occurred earlier Thursday.

A second source familiar with the call told CNN that McConnell made it clear to his members on Thursday that he is giving them room to vote their conscience on such objections.

The conference call discussion comes after McConnell has discouraged members from objecting in the first place. But now that Hawley made clear he is going ahead, members will have to decide for themselves whether to agree to the certification of a state’s electors or not. There are 19 Republican senators who are facing reelection in 2022. Republicans have to defend 21 seats.

When Hawley did not speak on the call, Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey, a retiring Republican, explained to the conference why he believed that the state was not a good test case for election fraud allegations, according to the second source familiar with the call.

That source added that Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson also spoke on the call about the importance of investigating any election fraud, but as he has said publicly, he does not plan to object to the electoral college certification process.

This story is breaking and will be updated.

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