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."

Go deeper

Biden campaign plans travel around competitive Senate races

Joe Biden elbow-bumping a worker during a campaign stop in Wisconsin. Photo: JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

Joe Biden's campaign is storming states with competitive Senate races this week to help boost Democratic candidates in the run-up to the election.

Why it matters: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death is galvanizing Democrats to fight harder for control of the Senate with less than two months before Election Day.

FBI: Foreign actors likely to sow disinformation about delays in election results

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The FBI and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency released a public service announcement on Tuesday warning that mail-in ballots "could leave officials with incomplete results on election night," and that foreign actors are likely to spread disinformation about the delays.

The bottom line: The agencies called on the public to "critically evaluate the sources of the information they consume and to seek out reliable and verified information from trusted sources," including state and local election officials.

Facebook takes down Chinese campaign aimed at U.S. election

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Facebook said Tuesday it took down the first-ever coordinated inauthentic campaign engaged in U.S. politics that originated from China.

Why it matters: China is upping its online disinformation game beyond its own borders. The effort was part of a larger campaign that targeted Southeast Asia.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!