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Ron Johnson Enmeshes Himself Firmly Into Ukrainegate

Ron Johnson is more involved in the Ukraine scandal than thought but still won't recuse himself from impeachment hearing.
Ron Johnson Enmeshes Himself Firmly Into Ukrainegate
Image from: Alex Kraus Bloomberg via Getty Images

Ron Johnson (R-Trump's Back Pocket) is fully embedded now into Trump's Ukraine scandal. As the gentle reader recalls, RoJo started out with saying that he saw no problem with Trump asking other countries to investigate the Bidens, whether it be Ukraine or China. Just days later, RoJo admitted that Trump was withholding money allotted to Ukraine to extort them into investigating the Bidens.

All this was enough for ethics experts to call out RoJo's mishandling of the situation and said that he should recuse himself from any future impeachment hearings.

I have little doubt what the experts would say about the fact that RoJo was further involved in the Ukraine scandal than previously known:

Sen. Ron Johnson met in July with a former Ukrainian diplomat who has circulated unproven claims that Ukrainian officials assisted Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, a previously unreported contact that underscores the GOP senator’s involvement in the unfolding narrative that triggered the impeachment inquiry of President Trump.

In an interview last week, Andrii Telizhenko said he met with Johnson (Wis.) for at least 30 minutes on Capitol Hill and with Senate staff for five additional hours. He said discussions focused in part on “the DNC issue” — a reference to his unsubstantiated claim that the Democratic National Committee worked with the Ukrainian government in 2016 to gather incriminating information about Paul Manafort, then the chairman of Trump’s presidential campaign. Telizhenko said he could not recall the date of the meeting, but a review of his Facebook page revealed a photo of him and Johnson posted on July 11.

“I was in Washington, and Senator Johnson found out I was in D.C., and staff called me and wanted to do a meeting with me. So I reached out back and said, ‘Sure, I’ll come down the Hill and talk to you,’ ” Telizhenko told The Washington Post on Wednesday.

But wait, there's more. There's always more.

RoJo, who had shown remarkable memory for when certain meetings happened, who was there and what was discussed, suddenly developed big gaps in his memory:


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The group returned from Ukraine and debriefed Trump and key aides at the White House on May 23. Sondland testified this month that Trump urged them to talk to Giuliani about his concerns about corruption in Ukraine, guidance that opened the informal diplomatic channel used to facilitate the alleged quid pro quo.

Johnson denied Sondland’s version of events last week, saying he had “no recollection of the president mentioning Rudy Giuliani” at the May 23 meeting.

“Ambassador Sondland said that was when that all began. I have no recollection of that at all,” Johnson told The Post in a brief interview on Capitol Hill.

But what comes next would surely make the heads of those ethics experts implode at the sheer audacity of it - RoJo said that he was not going to recuse himself from any impeachment hearings:

Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin said Tuesday that his close involvement in Ukraine issues would not cause him to recuse himself from a Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

“I represent the people that elected me. Those individuals deserve a voice and my vote in the process. I would never even consider it,” Johnson said of recusal, speaking in a brief interview at the U.S. Capitol with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Johnson also said he would be happy to provide his first-hand knowledge of events and conversations involving Ukraine to U.S. House members conducting the impeachment probe, which centers on the question of whether Trump improperly pushed Ukraine officials to investigate Trump’s Democratic political rival, Joe Biden, and Democratic activities in the 2016 election.

“That would be up to the House” if it wants to hear from him, Johnson said. “I wouldn’t resist. I’m always happy to tell the truth.”

In other words, RoJo sees no problems with being an accomplice, a witness and a juror all in the same case. If Mitch "The Turtle" McConnell had one shred of decency left in his corrupt soul, he would have already taken action against RoJo. But we all know how likely that's going to ever happen.

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