The Party Attempts to Undermine a Republican Politician and Tells On Itself in the Process

This is a line from an attack ad on Facebook that appeared at the top of my newsfeed this morning: “Ron Johnson ignored warnings that he was a target of Putin’s disinformation and propaganda.” The truth is wildly different from The Party’s propaganda line and demonstrates how The Party has weaponized the administrative state apparatus against Republicans who have not sufficiently indicated their loyalty to the corporate state establishment.

Senator Ron Johnson, a Republican from Wisconsin, speaks during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee confirmation hearing, February 9, 2021.

The Party is not only aggressively pushing the Big Lie that Russia was behind the “stolen election” of 2016 (and not the fact that one of the most despicable persons in American political history was The Party’s candidate) but has expanded the Big Lie to claim that Russia was behind an attempt to steal the 2020 elections and to influence the 2022 elections by using Republican politicians and figures. 

This is a classic McCarthyist tactic, perhaps especially ironic in Senator Johnson’s case given that Johnson represents the same state McCarthy himself served—and of from the same party. Despite the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia continues to function as a Red Scare tactic. The Party uses the Russia to scare voters in 2022 much the same way it used COVID-19 to scare voters in 2020. You may have noticed that the Ukrainian flag emojis tend to adorn the same profiles that featured masked do-gooders and vaccinated virtue signaling during the pandemic. Of course, the administrative state has been using Russia to scare voters for years.

Johnson knew about the intelligence. He suspected that the FBI briefing was a ploy to undermine his political messaging and his investigatory work by aligning these with Russian propaganda and Russian goals. Just to make sure readers understand how this works: the tactic involved briefing Johnson on “Russia disinformation” and then leaking the briefing to the public in order to manufacture the perception that Johnson is unwitting tool of Russian leader Vladimir Putin. That Johnson could see this for what it was contradicts the portrayal of naïveté. The motive of making Republican messaging out to be Russian propaganda is on its face obvious—at least it should be to anyone who understands the political weaponization of the nation’s security services over the last several years.

Johnson told the media in confirming the briefing of August 2020, “I asked the briefers what specific evidence they had regarding this warning, and they could not provide me anything other than the generalized warning.” What were they not telling Johnson? Hunter Biden’s laptop was real and its contents were damning. The laptop exposed the reality that the son was the father’s bag man in a global-level corruption scheme. (See New York Post Drops a Bombshell on the Biden Campaign; The Conspiracy to Overthrow an American President.)

As the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, Johnson spent much of 2019 and 2020 investigating Hunter Biden’s activities. Among other things, Biden sat on the board of a Ukrainian energy company. The FBI, and US intelligence agencies generally, sought to obscure the Biden family’s relationship with Ukraine—a relationship to which Trump had become wise (his attempt to get to the bottom of matters moving The Party to impeach him)—by claiming to have “determined” that Russia had intervened in the 2016 election and spent subsequent years trying to create the perception that the election interference came from Ukraine, not Russia.

There is a direct link between The Party and the FBI in the effort to discredit Johnson. As it turns out, the Johnson briefing came weeks after Democratic leaders in Congress told the FBI they feared Johnson’s investigation was part of a Russian disinformation campaign. Johnson said in a 2021 statement, “Because there was no substance to the briefing, and because it followed the production and leaking of a false intelligence product by Democrat leaders, I suspected that the briefing was being given to be used at some future date for the purpose that it is now being used: to offer the biased media an opportunity to falsely accuse me of being a tool of Russia despite warnings.” Bingo.

During the 2020 campaign, the FBI planned to use the same tactic against  Trump attorney’s Rudy Giuliani (this was reported by the Washington Post). Instead, investigators searched Giuliani’s home in April 2021 and seized computers and cell phones as part of their probe into his interactions with Ukraine (this was reported in the New York Times). Curiously, investigators left behind the Hunter Biden’s hard-drives in Giuliani’s possession. Presumably this was because the FBI was already in possession of copies and they knew destroying them when other copies existed would only make it easier to expose the agency’s tactics.

The attempt to undermine Johnson’s credibility reveals the machinations of the administrative state: the burying of Hunter Biden’s laptop was the work of the establishment to deny Trump a second term in office. And it worked. As polls have shown, enough voters have acknowledged that, had they known about the laptop, or that the laptop they had heard about was real, they would not have voted for Joe Biden, and the election—even if you believe the results of the election were legitimate—would have swung to Trump. In fact, nearly four of five Americans surveyed who followed the Hunter Biden story reported that truthful coverage of the election would have changed the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.

Published by

Andrew Austin

Andrew Austin is on the faculty of Democracy and Justice Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in books, encyclopedia, journals, and newspapers.

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