In an extremely contentious and heated interview with Meet the Press anchor Chuck Todd on Sunday, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) declared that he does not trust the CIA or FBI while launching into a series of conspiratorial attacks on Democrats and intelligence officials regarding the Ukraine scandal.
Johnson—who last week said he was told about a quid pro quo involving Ukrainian investigation into the 2016 election and that President Trump blocked him from telling Ukraine military aid was coming—immediately began his interview on the defensive, complaining that Todd was biased and the president was being sabotaged.
The Republican senator then proceeded to accuse former members of the FBI and CIA of conspiring to set up the president after his election, claiming this has “everything to do with Ukraine.”
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“Why a Fox News conspiracy propaganda stuff is popping up on here, I have no idea,” an exasperated Todd noted at one point.
“It is not, that is exactly, because this is going over the line, exactly why President Trump is upset and why his supporters are upset with the news media,” Johnson shouted, to which Todd replied: “Can we please answer the question that I asked you instead of trying to make Donald Trump feel better here that you are not criticizing him?”
Eventually, Johnson would tell Todd that the reason he “winced” when he heard about military aid being attached to Ukrainian investigations into the 2016 election is he didn’t want to see those two things connected, adding that Trump “adamantly denied” to him that was occurring. He would then go on to support a probe by Ukraine into the Democrats surrounding the last presidential election.
“Ukrainian officials reportedly helped Clinton allies research Trump’s advisers,” he huffed. “There is potential interference in the 2016 campaign. That’s what Trump wants to get to the bottom of. But the press doesn’t want to.”
Johnson added: “I’m being called a conspiracy theorist, John Solomon is, because the press is horribly biased and Trump and his supporters completely understand that.”
Todd confronted Johnson on whether or not he believes former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort was framed and if the Russians interfered in the 2016 election to benefit Trump. After saying he doesn’t think Manafort was framed and the Russian “absolutely” meddled in the election, Johnson pivoted back to supposed Ukrainian involvement during the 2016 campaign.
“There are a lot of unanswered questions,” the senator exclaimed. “Chuck, I just want the truth. The American people want the truth.”
“So do you not trust the FBI? Do you not trust the CIA?” Todd wondered, causing Johnson to yell back: “No, no, I don’t. Absolutely not. After Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, after James Comey?!”
After Johnson said he didn’t trust anyone from the Obama administration, Todd asked him if he trusted the organizations now.
“No I didn’t trust them back then,” Johnson replied before listing off a series of former officials who have become favorite targets of the president's supporters.
Todd, clearly out of patience with Johnson at the end, suggested Johnson was only interested in the truth that was “politically comfortable” for him before getting in one final parting shot.
“I’m sorry that you chose to come on this way, senator.”
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