Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., Is being attacked against a fierce attack on the Washington Post by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn, arguing that he never received documents relating to Joe Biden’s family nor The CIA declined to comment.
In a lengthy Twitter post, Johnson denied Blumenthal’s claims that he obtained documents relating to Joe Biden and his son’s activities in Ukraine from the son of a former Soviet intelligence agent, and blasted the Connecticut Democrat for “twisting classified information and repetition of false “news reports. “
“[Blumenthal’s] twisting classified ads and repeating fake news reports is beyond fading, ”tweeted Johnson. “It is a strange lie that I received the documents from the Ukrainians that the Democrats continue to claim. And they know it. It is inconceivable that the Democrats and the press continue to report it.”;
Johnson tweeted: “It is a strange lie that I asked the CIA to inform our committee and that they refused. We have already been repeatedly informed about these issues, the Democrats just did not like what they heard. “
In his speech Friday, Blumenthal suggested that Johnson, chairman of the Committee on National Security and Government Affairs, may be using Russian disinformation to move forward with his investigation into the Biden family. Blumenthal cites a report from last week that says Johnson was provided with tapes by Andrii Derkach, a Ukrainian lawmaker whose father was a KGB agent.
Derkach has been active in settling unfounded corruption allegations against Biden and his son Hunter, who once served on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian natural gas company. This effort has included publishing outgoing phone calls.
“Johnson’s actions are so disturbing to the CIA, according to news reports, that the agency has refused to inform him,” Blumenthal wrote. “Think about it: Congress could become a forum for debut conspiracy theories, run by Kremlin proxies.”
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He added: “There is no excuse to perpetuate Russian disinformation in the US Senate, just as there is no excuse to stop the American public from learning more about real foreign threats to the November election. The Trump administration does not seem to he is managing to take the risk seriously, failing to prepare properly. “
The senatorial uproar comes just days after the U.S. counterintelligence chief said officials believe Russia is using a series of measures to denigrate Biden ahead of the November election and that Kremlin-linked individuals are stepping up Trump’s re-election bid.
Friday’s statement by William Evanina is believed to be the most outspoken statement by the American intelligence community linking the Kremlin to efforts to re-elect Trump – a sensitive subject for a president who has dismissed intelligence estimates that Russia tried to help that in 2016. He also links Moscow’s disapproval of Biden to his role as vice president in shaping the policies of the Obama administration that support Ukraine, a key U.S. ally and opponent of Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
Asked about the intelligence assessment Friday night in Bedminster, New Jersey, Trump appeared to oppose the idea that Russia was discouraging Biden. “I think the last person Russia wants to see in office is Donald Trump because no one has been tougher on Russia than I have ever been,” he said.
Concerns about election interference are particularly acute following a widespread attempt by Russia to meddle in the 2016 election on behalf of Trump through both democratic email hacking and a covert social media campaign aimed at sowing discord between American voters. Trump has routinely resisted the idea that the Kremlin favored him in 2016, but the intelligence assessment released Friday shows that unnamed Kremlin-linked actors are working again to boost his candidacy on Russian social media and television.
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The White House responded to Friday’s news with a statement saying “The United States will not tolerate foreign interference in our electoral process and will respond to malicious external threats aimed at our democratic institutions.”
Tony Blinken, a senior adviser to Biden’s campaign, responded that Trump “has publicly and repeatedly invited, encouraged and even tried to force foreign interference in the US election …. Joe Biden, on the other hand , has led the fight against foreign interference for years. “
Democrats in Congress who have taken part in the latest classified announcements about election interference have expressed alarm about what they have heard. They have urged the US intelligence community to make public some of their concerns in part to avoid a repeat of 2016, when Obama administration officials were seen as slow and overly deliberate in their public discussion of active Russian measures. in this year’s election.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.