However, since the bulk of my story was about Sen. Ron Johnson -- and there is no denial over his being briefed -- the rest of it stands.
According to the Washington Post, in late 2019, the FBI told Rudy Giuliani and Sen. Ron Johnson, The Senate's Stupidest Man™ , that they were targets of a Russian influence operation meant to damage Joe Biden.
The warning was part of an extensive effort by the bureau to alert members of Congress and at least one conservative media outlet, One America News, that they faced a risk of being used to further Russia’s attempt to influence the election’s outcome, said several current and former U.S. officials. All spoke on the condition of anonymity because the matter remains highly sensitive.
Shortly after the warning, Rudy went ahead with his planned trip to Ukraine, where he met with a Ukrainian lawmaker feds had identified as “an active Russian agent.” The feds say those involved were acting as Russian proxies to smear Biden and derail his candidacy -- and to undermine U.S. support for Ukraine.
RonJohn says the warning was no big deal (it was) and told the Post, `“Because there was no substance to the briefing, and because it followed the production and leaking of a false intelligence product by Democrat leaders, I suspected that the briefing was being given to be used at some future date for the purpose that it is now being used: to offer the biased media an opportunity to falsely accuse me of being a tool of Russia despite warnings.”
You'll remember Ron was part of a group of Russian -- I'm sorry, Republican senators who celebrated the Fourth of July in 2018 with an odd trip to Russia. We have only their word that they warned the Russians not to interfere in our elections, because they met in secret.
Former FBI assistant director Andrew McCabe says the warnings don't happen "without a significant amount of information that basically proves to the FBI that this sort of nefarious contact is underway."
"So you go to the person and you explain to them -- oftentimes you can't share all the confidential or classified intelligence you have, but you explain to them, hey, this person or these people are actually acting on behalf of a hostile foreign service and they're targeting you. After that fact, the FBI steps back and waits to see how you handle that briefing. If you cut off your interactions with them, that's a good sign. If you continue to interact with them, which we know Rudy Giuliani did here, that's a very bad sign.
"You now are acting with these foreign agents and you are aware of the fact that the U.S. government thinks they are hostile intelligence agents. That is very serious," McCabe concluded.
We already know where Rudy's sympathies lie: with whoever pays him. So that's not a shock. And we do know that Sen. Ron Johnson (among other fellow travelers like Sen. John Kennedy) became even more of a crazed Trump defender after that Russian trip. Hmm.