MADISON, Wis. — U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson kicked off his week appearing on Fox News to declare that there was a “secret society” within the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) with a bias against Donald Trump. Johnson ends the week still clinging to the veracity of his outlandish accusation, not admitting he is flat out wrong, as the evidence shows, instead only conceding in a subsequent national media interview the possibility that “it could be a joke”.
“After making his ridiculous secret society accusation on national television, Sen. Johnson is offering the equivalent of the classic non-apology ‘to anyone who may have been offended’ by only admitting it’s possible he was off base,” commented One Wisconsin Now Deputy Director Mike Browne. “His actions were reckless and harmful. He ought to do the right thing and issue a real apology admitting he’s flat out wrong.”
On Tuesday, in an appearance on Fox News, Sen. Johnson channelled his inner Joe McCarthy and declared that there was “corruption at the highest levels” of the FBI and that he was privy to information that there was a “secret society” operating within the FBI.
Subsequently the “evidence” upon which Johnson’s yarn was spun was revealed. It was a text message that, in context, was sarcastic, joking banter between FBI agents, not a smoking gun as Johnson alleged on national television. But in an interview on Thursday, Johnson refused to admit he was wrong, only conceding that it could have been a joke.
To date, none of Johnson’s fellow Wisconsin Republicans have entered the fray, to either support his claim or call on him to do the responsible thing and admit he was wrong and apologize.
Browne noted that Johnson’s allegations came as part of an all out offensive by Republicans to undermine the credibility of ongoing investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and foreign agents.
He concluded, “This is no joke. Ron Johnson is participating in a partisan attack on the integrity of law enforcement conducting an incredibly serious investigation into foreign interference in the 2016 election. If he won’t do the right thing and admit what he said and what he did is wrong, then his fellow Wisconsin Republicans in Congress, Gov. Walker and Attorney General Schimel ought to do it for him.”