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What is Missouri Republican Senator Josh Hawley up to?

Last week he announced he will formally object tomorrow in Congress to the official certification of the Electoral College vote confirming Joe Biden’s victory over Donald Trump.

That amounts to a disruption, delay and signal-to-the-base move as much as anything. And it’s unclear what he’s actually trying to do.

Josh Hawley on Capitol Hill.

Josh Hawley on Capitol Hill. Photograph: Liz Lynch/Getty Images

My colleague Martin Pengelly reported moments ago on how Hawley dodged the question when asked if he was definitively involve in trying to overturn November’s election result.

Asked if he was trying to “overturn the election” and keep Donald Trump in power, Missouri senator Josh Hawley told Fox News: “That depends what happens on Wednesday.”

That is when Congress will meet to count Joe Biden’s 306-232 electoral college victory, which has been certified by all 50 states. Formal objections due to be raised by Hawley, around a dozen other senators and more than 100 Republicans in the House will not overturn the result – as Trump and his supporters hope they will.

Democrats hold the House, guaranteeing defeat there, and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and other senior Republicans in that chamber also oppose the objections.

Speaking on Monday night, Hawley at first avoided questions about whether he was trying to overturn an election and thereby disenfranchise millions of Americans, insisting he was objecting to the handling of the presidential election in states including Pennsylvania.

“I just want to pin you down,” anchor Bret Baier said, eventually, “on on what you’re trying to do. Are you trying to say that as of 20 January [inauguration day] that President Trump will be president?”

“Well,” said Hawley, “that depends on what happens on Wednesday. I mean, this is why we have to debate.”

Baier answered: “No it doesn’t. The states, by the constitution, 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.”

“Well,” Hawley said, “Congress is directed under the 12th amendment to count the electoral votes, there’s a statute that dates back to the 1800s, 19th century, that says there is a right to object, there’s a right to be heard, and there’s also [the] certification right.”

Read the full story here.