Johnson also defended two of America’s greatest adversaries at last Monday’s event.
Johnson minimized Russian and Chinese actions related to election interference, believing them not to have been a threat to the U.S. elections especially when compared to alleged actions carried out by the Biden administration.
Johnson alleged Biden lied during a pre-2020 election campaign debate, which allegedly interfered with the outcome of the 2020 U.S. Presidential election.
“(Biden’s alleged debate lie) interfered into our election to a far greater extent than anything Russia or China could ever hope to accomplish,” Johnson said.
Even in the event that the Biden campaign had not been truthful in that one instance, Russian interference in U.S. elections is nothing to minimize like Johnson did, officials said.
(Republicans) were disingenuous in downplaying Russia’s influence operations on behalf of the former president,” Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California, who leads the House Intelligence Committee, said in an interview with the New York Times.
“It was a disservice not to level with the public and to try to fudge the intelligence in the way they did,” Schiff added.
The Russian government directed extensive activity against U.S. election infrastructure, the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee said its 2019 election security findings contained in a bipartisan Russia Report.
The Committee found the activity directed at the state and local level began in at least 2014 and carried into at least 2017.
“In 2016, the U.S. was unprepared at all levels of government for a concerted attack from a determined foreign adversary on our election infrastructure. Since then, we have learned much more about the nature of Russia’s cyber activities and better understand the real and urgent threat they pose. The Department of Homeland Security and state and local elections officials have dramatically changed how they approach election security, working together to bridge gaps in information sharing and shore up vulnerabilities. The progress they’ve made over the last three years is a testament to what we can accomplish when we give people the opportunity to be part of a solution,” the committee said.
Federal law enforcement officials and the intelligence community remain committed to fighting Russian and other foreign disinformation campaigns and will hold those accountable foreign or domestic.
Johnson also deflected questions Monday at the Milwaukee Press Club event about his association with GOP megadonor Harlan Crow, who has ties to Clarence Thomas’s ethical questions and collects Nazi memorabilia.
When TM4’s Charles Benson asked Johnson about his association with Crow, who is now involved in the ethics questions surrounding Clarence Thomas, Johnson replied, “he may have contributed to my campaign. Thousands of people do. I don’t have a clue who they are.”
When asked if Johnson had concerns about the donations, he said he “didn’t know enough about it.”
“I don’t know the specifics,” Johnson said.
“I’m aware of it but it doesn’t hold my interest that much,” Johnson added.
The Washingtonian reported “when Republican megadonor Harlan Crow isn’t lavishing Justice Clarence Thomas with free trips on his private plane and yacht (in possible violation of Supreme Court ethics rules), he lives a quiet life in Dallas … (collecting) Nazi memorabilia.”
Crow has pictures of Adolf Hitler and a signed copy of Mein Kampf, Hitler’s book.
The Wisconsin Examiner reported that Crow has donated $53,000 to Wisconsin Republicans, including Johnson. According to the Examiner, Johnson has received $11,200 in donations from Crow since 2015.
ProPublica reported last week that Crow had flown Thomas on his private jet to expensive vacations sailing on Crow’s super-yacht across Indonesia and allowed Thomas to stay at his secluded luxury resort in upstate New York. Thomas had not reported the gifts on ethics filings.
Thomas, who has served on the U.S. Supreme Court since 1991, has been no stranger to headlines. His confirmation hearings were heavily focused on his sexual harassment allegations by Anita Hill.
ProPublica also reported that Crow has statues depicting 20th century dictators, including Joseph Stalin and Vladimir Lenin.
Chair of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Rep. Dick Durban said, “The ProPublica report is a call to action, and the Senate Judiciary Committee will act,” in a ProPublica article.