Aug 30, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Ron Johnson denies that theory of Ukrainian election interference is "debunked"

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) denied on Sunday that the theory that the Ukrainian government interfered in the 2016 election on behalf of Democrats is Russian disinformation, telling CNN's Dana Bash: "That's your typification that it has been debunked."

Why it matters: The bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee found that "numerous Russian-government actors" promoted "false narratives" seeking to discredit investigations into 2016 Russian election interference by blaming Ukraine. The committee identified "no reliable evidence" that the Ukrainian government interfered in the election.

The big picture: Johnson — the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee — has continued to carry out a wide-ranging investigation into the Obama administration and Joe and Hunter Biden's dealings with Ukraine.

  • Democrats have called it a "fishing expedition" intended to damage Biden ahead of the election, while intelligence officials have warned that some of the sources Johnson is relying on may be laundering Russian disinformation.
  • Johnson has vehemently denied that he is complicit in a foreign influence campaign, and he's accused Democrats of being "Putin's puppet" by overhyping the narrative that Russia colluded with the Trump campaign in 2016.

What he's saying: "My investigation, the corruption of the Obama administration, goes back to March of 2015. Our investigation is quite wide-ranging. Our investigation is primarily using U.S. government documents and sources from the State Department, the Department of Justice, the National Archives and a Democrat lobbying firm," Johnson said.

  • "The only Russian disinformation that I'm aware of that has been involved in our politics is, first of all, in the Steele Dossier. ... It's the Democrats, again, they are being Putin's puppet — not me, not Chuck Grassley."
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