Ron Johnson and Chuck Grassley drop their Biden bombshell — and it's an absolute dud
For months, Republican Senator Ron Johnson has promised to deliver a body blow to Joe Biden. Like the report being put together by William Barr and John Durham, this was one of multiple efforts to “prove” the conspiracy theories about Biden and Ukraine. That would be the same conspiracy theories that Trump tried to force Ukraine to back through an extortion scheme that ended up getting him impeached.
For his part, Johnson has repeatedly attacked Biden by referencing disproven claims released years ago, touting information passed along by someone who turns out to be a sanctioned Russian agent, and trying to claim connections between unrelated events using a thin paste of innuendo and hand waving. Meanwhile, both the FBI and CIA have concluded that the “theory” Johnson is backing is just part of a scheme to demean Joe Biden in the 2020 election. Of course, this isn’t news to Republicans. They knew who was running this hit job months ago.
However, Johnson isn’t letting proof that he’s putting out lies piped straight to him from the Kremlin get in the way of doing his partisan duty. He, along with “pidgin” lover Chuck Grassley, is rushing out an “interim report” that rehashes old media reports, glues on some insinuations, and packages it up for media consumption. The information in this “bombshell” isn’t enough to blow someone’s nose, but the level of petty vindictiveness that Johnson and Grassley demonstrates might blow some minds.
As The Washington Post reports, the biggest claim in the report is probably a discussion saying that that Hunter Biden’s position on the board of energy company Burisma was “awkward,” but that awkwardness didn’t affect U.S. policy. There’s also the little issue that this statement has been around for years.
The Biden campaign issued a response even before the non-bombshell came thudding to earth saying that Johnson’s report is an attempt to “subsidize a foreign attack against the sovereignty of our elections with taxpayer dollars—an attack founded on a long-disproven, hardcore right-wing conspiracy theory that hinges on Sen. Johnson himself being corrupt and that the senator has now explicitly stated he is attempting to exploit to bail out Donald Trump’s reelection campaign.”
The mention of Johnson in that statement comes back to the core point that what Johnson is claiming now is that Biden was in the wrong in demanding the removal of a Ukrainian prosecutor. However, not only had allied governments demanded the removal, there was a list of Senators who urged Biden to take the action. Among them was … Ron Johnson. That’s right. The “crime” Biden is accused of committing is the one Johnson urged him to take at the time.
But then … the fact that Johnson wanted Biden to do this, might actually be the best evidence that it was wrong.
Bolstering the nothing-to-see-here-ness of the Johnson / Pidgin Man report is that the pair have refused to release transcripts of the witness interviews they did for this document. Which makes it impossible to determine how the few statements that came from new interviews were edited or cherry-picked to fit the theme.
However, there is one source that has already made public statements about the documents he provided to Johnson and Grassley. That would be pro-Russian Ukrainian legislator Andrii Derkach. The same Derkach identified by multiple agencies as an “active Russian operative” with a direct connection to Vladimir Putin.
The report—87 pages of disproven claims, propaganda puff pieces, and unsupported theories—is sure to get a large amount of promotion from the Fox News side of the spectrum. It’s going to need it. If this is Johnson’s bombshell, calling it a “dud” is a compliment. If the media needs to cover a report from the Republican-led Senate, they might want to try the one the Intelligence Committee released last month showing that all the claims about connections between the Trump campaign and Russia were true.
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