Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Republicans who are planning to object next week when Congress gathers to count electoral votes and certify President-elect Joe Biden's victory are "playing with fire," one of the party's vocal senators has warned.
Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, who has sometimes been critical of President Donald Trump, urged fellow Republicans to reject a plan to object by Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri. Hawley said Wednesday that he will file a formal objection when Congress counts the electoral votes next Wednesday.
In a Facebook post, Sasse criticized the idea as "a dangerous ploy" that could backfire on the Republican Party.
"The president and his allies are playing with fire," he wrote, recounting that all of Trump's court challenges to vote tallies in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and other battleground states were defeated.
Sasse emphasized that U.S. Attorney General William Barr, who he called one Trump's "strongest supporters," concluded this month that there's no evidence of voter fraud on a scale large enough to affect the outcome of the election.
"If you make big claims, you had better have the evidence," Sasse added. "But the president doesn't and neither do the institutional arsonist members of Congress who will object to the Electoral College vote."
Sasse, who was elected to the Senate five years ago, said Republicans' unfounded accusations are merely a "fundraising strategy" for the president's backers -- and that GOP leaders all privately have acknowledged Biden's win, but continue with the baseless claims because they're worried about possibly turning off Trump's "most ardent supporters."
"Let's be clear what is happening here: We have a bunch of ambitious politicians who think there's a quick way to tap into the president's populist base without doing any real, long-term damage," Sasse wrote.
"But they're wrong -- and this issue is bigger than anyone's personal ambitions. Adults don't point a loaded gun at the heart of legitimate self-government."
Although it will impact the process, Hawley's plan to object will not change the results of the election. For any state's electoral votes to be thrown out, the debate period would need to be followed by majorities in both the House and Senate agreeing to the move.
The House has a significant Democratic majority and several GOP senators have already acknowledged Biden's victory. Further, electoral votes in multiple states would need to be dismissed, as Biden crossed the 270-vote threshold by a margin of 36 electoral votes.