Sen. Ron Johnson (R., Wis.) took aim this week at Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and Rep. Adam Schiff (D., Calif.), the chief forces behind former president Donald Trump’s 2019 impeachment trial, accusing them of weakening Ukraine in the course of their investigation of Trump.
Trump was accused in the 2019 trial of leveraging U.S. military aid to Ukraine to push the country into investigating then-candidate Joe Biden’s political dealings in the country. While charges that Trump colluded with Russia on the matter were widely discredited, the Democrat-controlled House voted to impeach him. The Senate acquitted the former president.
Johnson, in an appearance Sunday on Fox News, blamed Schiff and Pelosi for weakening Ukraine’s standing in the world by pursuing false charges against Trump, setting the stage for Russia's invasion of the country. The comments sparked a fierce pushback by Schiff on social media, with several high-profile journalists, including those from CNN, taking Schiff’s side on the matter. The public spat exposed how Democrats and their media allies continue to defend the impeachment trial and push the false Russia narrative against Trump, Johnson told the Washington Free Beacon, vowing to expose those lies.
"Democrats, like Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, and their allies in the liberal media, used Ukraine as a pawn in their impeachment plan as they pushed lies for years that weakened Ukraine and put America through political turmoil," Johnson said. "They are well aware that our adversaries are taking advantage of President Biden as his policies—opening the border, massive deficit spending sparking inflation, and killing the Keystone XL pipeline, yet allowing Putin to complete [the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline]—weaken our country. No false attack will deter me from calling out their lies and destructive policies."
Schiff attacked Johnson on Sunday after his appearance on Fox News.
Johnson "is clearly confused," Schiff tweeted. "It was Trump who withheld military aid from Ukraine. It was Trump who demanded a ‘favor’ from Zelenskyy in exchange for the aid. It was Trump who weakened Ukraine. And it was Senator Johnson who voted to acquit. Sit this one out, Senator."
Johnson shot back: "Ukraine wishes you would have sat 2017-2020 out when you appeared over 467 times for over 57 total hours lying bold faced to America and the world about Russian collusion evidence you never had. You helped weaken and make Ukraine vulnerable."
CNN White House correspondent John Harwood also attacked Johnson on Twitter, saying his comments made "no sense."
Dan Rather, the former CBS News anchor who falsely reported in 2004 on former president George W. Bush’s service in the Texas National Guard, also lashed out at Johnson. "Shall we Google Ron Johnson and Russia?" Rather tweeted.
Alexa Henning, Johnson’s chief spokeswoman, responded: "Shall we Google Dan Rather and credibility?"
CNN analyst Asha Rangappa blocked Henning on Twitter over the matter.