RoJo Is Now Trump’s Hit Man
Sen. Johnson assails FBI with no evidence, supporting Trump and Russia.
Ron Johnson first ran for office in 2010 as a businessman and patriot, with a kind of Mr.-Smith-Goes to Washington aura, and much of his first term was devoted to lectures about the federal deficit. But the anti-Washington outsider has changed to an almost shocking degree, increasingly turning into a partisan hack who puts party before principles — and patriotism. Never was this clearer than on Tuesday, when Johnson turned hit man against the FBI.
The Republican Senator did an interview with Fox News where he charged he had “evidence of…corruption of the highest levels of the FBI” with a “secret society” that was “holding secret meetings off-site.”
“There’s so much smoke here, there’s so much suspicion” of the FBI, he went on.
The choice of Fox was deliberate, because Johnson knew he wouldn’t be pushed for proof of his accusations.
So “somebody” allegedly talked to the senate committee on this, but Johnson won’t say who. Other than that he is referencing a cryptic comment made by FBI lawyer Lisa Page to senior FBI agent Peter Strzok. The two were having an affair and using their government phones to keep it a secret and made comments about Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, James Comey and other topics that may or may not mean anything. Just to be safe, Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller removed Strzok from his investigative team after discovering he made a mocking comment about Trump.
That’s it. The “secret society” might well be two lover’s private reference to a clandestine meeting, for all we know. Or there might have been some FBI employees meeting off site for valid reasons that have nothing to do with President Trump. These questions would be easily settled, if Johnson and Republicans released all the text messages.
Instead, as New York magazine notes, Republicans have for weeks been “selectively leaking snippets of conversation to feed a distorted story line to the media,” in order to undermine the ongoing investigation of alleged collusion between Russia and the Trump administration.
Johnson and the Republicans are trying to suggest an entire federal agency, the long non-partisan FBI, is biased against Trump and the GOP based on cryptic messages between two adulterous employees — out of 35,000 who work at the FBI.
Never mind that law enforcement and military personnel are far more likely to vote Republican. Never mind that the Republican Party has long took pride in being the law-and-order party that is pro-FBI and anti-Russia. Suddenly Johnson and a select number of Republicans (it is certainly not the entire party) are now standing on their head to reverse their positions, throwing mud at the FBI and reinforcing the criticism of Trump towards the FBI, CIA and the other 15 intelligence agencies who concluded that Russian cyber attacks targeted the American elections with a goal of getting him elected.
This is an attack on the entire national security infrastructure of this country, whose job is to protect this country from such attacks by hostile foreign powers and an implicit defense of the dictatorial, criminal, anti-American regime of Vladimir Putin.
“Johnson’s charge,” writes Robert Schlesinger of U.S. News, “is hysteria at best and Third World, kangaroo court-type stuff at worst: secret accusations, hidden proof and prejudgments.”
Wisconsin blogger Gregory Humphrey has compared Johnson to the most infamous senator from this state, Joe McCarthy. McCarthy, however, peddled his character assassinations and Communist conspiracy theories for years.
But it’s worth noting that McCarthy operated as a lone wolf, while Johnson is the Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, whose mission is to protect all Americans from threats to our security. And what is more vital to a democracy than the safety of its electoral process? Yet Johnson has shown little concern about this threat.
Recall, that as chairman of that committee, Johnson was one the so-called “Gang of 12,” the top 12 congressional leaders, who were invited to a September 2016 meeting where U.S. intelligence officials “laid out the evidence U.S. spy agencies had collected, showing Russia’s role in cyber-intrusions in at least two states and in hacking the emails of the Democratic organizations and individuals,” as the Washington Post reported.
As I wrote a year ago, Johnson had an opportunity to be a patriot and condemn the fact that Russia was engaged in such activities. But he issued no resolutions — not one word — on Russian’s cyber attacks on America.
Nor has Johnson addressed the evidence that Russian cyber attacks may have had an impact on the election results in his own state of Wisconsin.
Dan Bice and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel did a flaccid story detailing Johnson’s charges to Fox News and then suggesting it was disputed only by “liberals” and supported by conservatives. The net effect was to give his irresponsible claims credence.
As for the idea that only liberals chastised Johnson, that’s flatly untrue: conservative writer Erick Erickson said Johnson’s comments to CNN made the “made the whole thing sound like a clown show,” while Jonah Goldberg of The National Review offered an entire column noting that “when Senator Ron Johnson got over his skis last night asserting not just bias but “corruption” at the FBI and hyping claims from an “informant” of a “secret society” scheming to do . . . something, I got a bad feeling.” The charges being made by Johnson and other Republicans, he noted, included “an astonishing amount of manufactured outrage, absurd dot-connecting, and near-hysteria.”
This is supposed to be the province of Journal Sentinel Washington Bureau Chief Craig Gilbert, but he steadfastly avoids any such controversies and nearly anything that happens in Washington. Some 16 months after Johnson met with the U.S. intelligence experts to learn about the Russian hacking of U.S. elections, the newspaper has yet to let its readers know this happened.
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