Corporate media outlets are scoffing at Sen. Ron Johnson, who stated during the Wisconsin senate race debate last night that he had been “set up” by the FBI — after his opponent, Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, accused Johnson of being a Russian asset. Johnson, however, was indeed set up by the FBI, and in the greatest twist of irony, it appears Barnes was the one used as a pawn for Russian disinformation.
Johnson and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, led an investigation into Hunter Biden’s financial entanglements with overseas oligarchs and the correlated effort by the FBI to cover it up before the 2020 election. In August 2020, the FBI proceeded to then brief the two senators that their investigation “advanced Russian disinformation.” After the briefing, parts of the senators’ supposedly “secure” conversation with the FBI were leaked to the public in what Johnson says was an effort to “smear” him and his Hunter Biden investigation.
Barnes brought up the leaked briefing during Thursday’s debate, using it to smear Johnson as a potential “Russian asset,” and warning Wisconsin voters that they couldn’t “trust Sen. Johnson to protect democracy abroad because we can’t even trust Sen. Johnson to protect democracy here at home.” Of course, this appears to be exactly why the FBI briefed Johnson and partisans leaked the “secure” interview in the first place: to discredit Johnson’s work on the Hunter Biden investigation and to villainize Johnson so he doesn’t return to Congress after November.
While Barnes was accusing Johnson of being a Russian stooge, meanwhile the Milwaukee Sentinel reported that Barnes gave interviews criticizing U.S. law enforcement to Russia Today, a state-run propaganda channel for the Russian government and an outlet that the U.S. State Department says is a “critical [element] in Russia’s disinformation and propaganda ecosystem.”
“Russia Today, also known as RT, is the foreign propaganda channel of Vladimir Putin’s regime, that uses the channel to weaken his adversaries by sowing discord and division throughout the world,” the Johnson campaign wrote in a press release. “RT relentlessly spreads disinformation and accuses America of being a corrupt capitalist police state that is systematically racist and terrorizes other countries. Barnes’ interviews almost exclusively focused on denigrating American policing, aiding Russia’s propaganda efforts against America.”
“Lt. Governor Barnes knew he was being used as a puppet for a foreign dictator in a Russian disinformation scheme,” said Alec Zimmerman, communications director for the Johnson campaign. “Trashing American law enforcement on Russian state TV and allowing himself to be used by Vladamir Putin’s propagandists is as bad as it gets.”
The Federalist reached out to Barnes’s campaign communication office to see if the lieutenant governor was at all concerned that he may have been used as a Russian asset. The Federalist also asked whether Barnes was troubled by FBI corruption and planned to do anything to curb the agency’s currently unchecked power if elected in November. The office did not respond.
Unsurprisingly, the corporate media failed to report on the possibility that Barnes is susceptible to Russian manipulation. They have also ignored or downplayed FBI misconduct. Instead of reporting on the overwhelming evidence corroborating Johnson’s claim that he was set up by the FBI, the corrupt corporate media chose to sneer at him and report on the “raucous” debate audience who laughed when Johnson called the FBI’s briefing and leak a “setup.”
Alexa Henning, a spokeswoman for Johnson, told The Federalist that the “audience was completely stacked with Barnes supporters.” Outside of last night’s one-sided debate audience, however, many Americans understand setups are not outside the wheelhouse of the deep state.
Indeed, the FBI’s laundry list of malfeasance grows every day. Agents brazenly lied to the FISA court about the credibility of Christopher Steele, author of the debunked Steele dossier, which they used to launch the Russia collusion hoax against President Donald Trump.
Recently, the FBI raided the homes of two pro-life activists for their roles in peaceful pro-life demonstrations. The two men who were raided and 6 other pro-lifers now face hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and up to 11 years in prison if they are convicted of alleged “FACE Act” violations.
The FBI launched investigations into “terrorist” parents who express concerns at local school board meetings; it interfered in the 2020 election; and for years the agency has been secretly pressuring Americans into signing forms that relinquish their constitutional right to own, purchase, or even use firearms.
The emboldened FBI has placed a target on Johnson’s back. Johnson continues to call out the corruption entrenched in our increasingly politicized DOJ and FBI, and it rightly scares his opponents.