Businessman Ron Johnson (R) made his first trip to DC this week to meet with Rep. Paul Ryan (R-01) and members of the Senate GOP Conference. Johnson “brushed up” on nat’l policy during his visit, making a stop at the Heritage Foundation. Johnson: “That’s where I mainly got my policy briefing. I really appreciated that — that was very informative.”
Johnson “has already faced some controversy” in the campaign. Dems have “seized” on his statement that it was “very troubling” that BP had to pay $20B into an escrow fund to resolve claims relating to its oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Sen. Russ Feingold‘s (D) camp called his statements “political double-talk.” Feingold strategist John Kraus: “Ron Johnson wants people to believe that he supports holding BP accountable while at the same time he opposes the BP fund for victims of this disaster.”
Johnson said he isn’t opposed to BP paying compensation. Johnson: “The only thing I found troubling is the fact that we weren’t using the rule of law to impose penalties on BP and do it that way as opposed to kind of strong-arming them into this. I do appreciate the rule of law. … I make no apologies for BP.”
Johnson “also faces questions” about his appearance before a state Senate cmte in Jan. where he opposed passing legislation that was aimed at making it easier for victims of childhood sexual abuse to sue their abusers.
Johnson: “It was a well-intended bill that just didn’t accomplish the intention. There were very severe unintended consequences, and that was the only point I made in my testimony.” Meanwhile, Johnson said Feingold spent some $10M on his race in ‘04, noting he’ll have to spend something similar this year (Miller, “Ballot Box,” The Hill, 6/25).
Also, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s Kane writes of reports over Johnson and “controversial author” Charles Murray, politicians “are not supposed to hang out with extreme types” (6/23).
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"American spies collected information last summer revealing that senior Russian intelligence and political officials were discussing how to exert influence over Donald J. Trump through his advisers." The conversations centered around Paul Manafort, who was campaign chairman at the time, and Michael Flynn, former national security adviser and then a close campaign surrogate. Both men have been tied heavily with Russia and Flynn is currently at the center of the FBI investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
"Former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been cleared by U.S. Department of Justice ethics experts to oversee an investigation into possible collusion between then-candidate Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign and Russia." Some had speculated that the White House would use "an ethics rule limiting government attorneys from investigating people their former law firm represented" to trip up Mueller's appointment. Jared Kushner is a client of Mueller's firm, WilmerHale. "Although Mueller has now been cleared by the Justice Department, the White House may still use his former law firm's connection to Manafort and Kushner to undermine the findings of his investigation, according to two sources close to the White House."
Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and ranking member Mark Warner (D-VA) will subpoena two businesses owned by former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Burr said, "We would like to hear from General Flynn. We'd like to see his documents. We'd like him to tell his story because he publicly said he had a story to tell."