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Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

More than 20 progressive groups are launching an $800,000 ad campaign against Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), highlighting his response to the January 6 Capitol riot, NBC News reports.

Why it matters: The 30-second spot attacks Johnson for voting against investigating the riot, and juxtaposes videos of the attack with a clip of Johnson saying “by and large it was a peaceful protest."

  • Johnson's Senate seat is up for reelection in 2022, but the Republican has not yet said whether he will run.

Flashback: The senator told Fox News in May the riot mostly "was a peaceful protest, except for there were a number of people, basically agitators that whipped the crowd and breached the Capitol. And you know, that's really the truth of what's happening here.”

The ad also criticizes Johnson for voting against the For the People Act, the Democrats' voting reform and anti-corruption bill.

  • “Access to the polls matters to all Americans, and yet you blocked voter protections that have the support of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents," the ad's narrator says.

Details: The NAACP, Sierra Club, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Working Families Party, and labor union National Education Association, are among those behind the campaign.

What to watch: The ad will air on local news and sports shows, cable news shows, and on Fox News Sunday and Face the Nation in Washington, D.C., on July 25.

Go deeper: GOP lawmakers downplay Capitol riot at House hearing

Go deeper

Oct 18, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Ex-Defense Secretary Gates: U.S. "seems to be coming unhinged"

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates being interviewed on CBS' "60 Minutes" for Sunday's show. Photo: CBS

"Extreme polarization" in the U.S. is the "greatest threat" to the country's democracy, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates told CBS' "60 Minutes" in an interview broadcast Sunday.

Why it matters: The Republican, who served eight presidents, including stints as CIA director, and later as defense secretary for Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, added that the "greatest threat is found within the two square miles that encompass the White House and the Capitol Building."

21 mins ago - World

Biden's ambassador nominee: "China is not an Olympian power"

Nick Burns testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden's nominee to serve as ambassador to China delivered a stark assessment of the challenges the U.S. faces in confronting Beijing, but stressed that the rising superpower is "not all-powerful" and the West retains "substantial" advantages.

The big picture: Nicholas Burns, a retired career diplomat and former U.S. ambassador to NATO, used his confirmation hearing Wednesday to echo the growing bipartisan consensus that China poses "the greatest threat to the security of our country and the democratic world" in the 21st century.

Scoop: U.S. and Israel to form team to solve consulate dispute

Secretary of State Antony Blinken (left) and Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (right) meet in Washington. Photo: Andrew Harnik/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. and Israel are planning to form a joint team to hold discreet negotiations on the reopening of the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem, Israeli officials say.

Why it matters: The consulate handled relations with the Palestinians for 25 years before being shut down by then President Donald Trump in 2019. Senior officials in Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's government see the consulate issue as a political hot potato that could destabilize their unwieldy coalition.

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