Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonLiberal group launches campaign urging Republicans to support Biden's agenda Domestic extremists return to the Capitol GOP senator: Buying Treasury bonds 'foolish' amid standoff over debt ceiling, taxes MORE (R-Wis.) reportedly suggested over the weekend that the FBI knew more about planning for the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol than it has revealed, giving credence a conspiracy theory that has rippled through far-right corners of the internet and been floated by conservative pundits in the wake of the rioting.
“I don’t say this publicly, but are you watching what’s happening in Michigan? ... So you think the FBI had fully infiltrated the militias in Michigan, but they don’t know squat about what was happening on January 6th or what was happening with these groups? I’d say there is way more to the story,” Johnson said in a private conversation outside an event at a hotel in his home state of Wisconsin on Saturday, according to The Washington Post.
The Republican senator was referring to a plot by a militia group to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen WhitmerGretchen WhitmerMichigan GOP governor hopeful says he would support state abortion ban: recording Democratic senator requests tech company policies on extremist content Governors brace for 2022 after year in pandemic spotlight MORE (D). The militia group had planned to take Whitmer to a remote location to make her "stand trial" for crimes they believed she has committed against people in the state. The plan was intercepted by member of federal law enforcement who had been monitoring the group's activities.
Johnson, one of former President TrumpDonald TrumpUN meeting with US, France canceled over scheduling issue Trump sues NYT, Mary Trump over story on tax history McConnell, Shelby offer government funding bill without debt ceiling MORE's most vocal supporters on Capitol Hill, has repeatedly downplayed the Jan. 6 insurrection, drawing backlash earlier this year for saying he did not feel threatened during the attack but might have if it had been carried out by Black Lives Matter activists.
On Saturday, Johnson reportedly told the group that Democrats and the media are “painting 75 million Americans who voted for Trump as attached with domestic terrorists.”
“I’m just pushing back on that narrative,” he continued, according to the Post, saying he was “not happy with those guys that stood on the Capitol and created the acts of violence. ... I’ve said that repeatedly and strongly.”
In a statement to the newspaper, a spokesperson for Johnson doubled down on the senator's reported comments.
“The revelation of the depth of the FBI’s involvement in the Governor Whitmer plot raises questions as to whether it had infiltrated Jan. 6 agitator groups as well,” spokesperson Alexa Henning said. “The senator continues to call on the FBI and [Department of Justice] to be transparent. To date, they have not been.”
"Huh? So it turns out that this 'white supremacist' insurrection was, again by the government’s own admission in these documents, organized at least in part by government agents," Carlson said.
Some members of the House GOP have also questioned the FBI's role in the Jan. 6 attack.
Johnson was rebuked by the largest newspaper in his state earlier this year, with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel blasting him as "the most irresponsible representative of Wisconsin citizens since the infamous Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy in the 1950s."